Captain America: Civil War vs Marvel’s Civil War

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The MCU’s Civil War was always going to differ from the original comics, but how much? And do these changes improve it?

Captain America’s third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: Civil War, was based on the famous Civil war comic book series by Mark Millar, Steve McNiven, Dexter Vines, Morry Hollowell and Chris Eliopoulos.

With both the MCU and the comics having created their own universes with their own unique interpretations of these characters, the MCU was bound to take its Civil war in a different direction. But which version of the iconic storyline is best?

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What made Marvel’s Civil War important?

In 2005, the Marvel Universe was rocked by the last big comic book event. After the New Warriors stuck their heads and caused a major disaster with scores of civilian casualties, the government introduced the Superhero Registration Act to hold their heroes to account. It has divided the superhuman community, with longtime friends Captain America and Iron Man finding themselves at the forefront of the debate.


The MCU had a very similar premise but, rather than reckless young heroes being the source of the tragedy, it was the Avengers themselves. The Sokovia Accords were introduced and acted the same as the Comic Book Superhero Registration Act. This split the squad in much the same way, with Cap and Iron Man once again leading the opposing teams.

However, these stories are important to their respective universes for very different reasons. Captain America: Civil War focuses much more on Steve’s relationship with his oldest friend, Bucky Barnes. This results in much of the resulting conflict, especially the final fight between Cap and Iron Man. When it comes to the comics, the dispute is only over the Superhero Registration Act, with the two factions escalating the conflict based solely on their beliefs regarding this one issue alone. It’s also worth noting that the MCU’s version of the story really only affects the Avengers, whereas in the comics it affects all heroes, regardless of size.

How big was the MCU’s changes to the Civil War?

Captain America Civil War

Of course, the biggest change the MCU has made to this iconic story is in the title – Captain America: Civil War. The comic book event was all about the Marvel Universe, not just one character, but the movie is very much about Steve Rogers and his journey, even though it features the Avengers. While this has overall consequences that continue to be felt in the MCU to this day, this is Cap’s movie.

Another major change in the MCU concerns the consequences of the conflict for its characters. In the comics, heroes die. Goliath’s death was a major turning point in comics, and it wasn’t the only death. This ultimately led to Cap’s death. In the film, there are no deaths. Rhodey’s paralysis is the only tragedy during the conflict, and it doesn’t even come from the opposing side but from a misplaced shot from Vision. That leaves the MCU’s version of history a little less impactful than the comic book version, though where it leaves the Avengers ties directly into the devastating outcome of Infinity war.

Spider-Man vs. Black Panther: Marvel’s True Civil War

These two versions of Civil war cannot be discussed without mentioning the major roles Spider-Man and Black Panther play in each. Comic book fans will know what a big deal is Civil war was for Peter Parker. He revealed his identity to the world when he then sided with Iron Man. However, when he learned some of the things Tony was doing, he defected alongside Cap. Spider-Man acted like the regular character in the story, who could see both sides.

Unfortunately, with Spider-Man’s film rights being with Sony, he couldn’t play the same role in the MCU. Although he does appear in the movie, he was a late addition to the story and served more as an introduction to the MCU’s Spider-Man than anything. Black Panther takes his place instead. Even then, he doesn’t totally switch sides like Peter does in the comics. Still, he goes back and forth as to whether the Accords are good or bad, fulfilling that role from the original story.

RELATED: Hawkeye Was Almost Captain America After Steve Rogers Died In Civil War

Movies against. Comics: Which Marvel Civil War Is Best?

Split Image From Civil War Comics And Movie

The two versions of Civil war decided to do different things. While they introduce the same central conflict between their characters, the MCU is more focused on the story of Captain America than anything else. There’s also the fact that the movie has a villain for the Avengers to fight, while the comic doesn’t have a villain – the heroes just have themselves.

The original Civil war is much more daring than the MCU, taking risks that force its characters into often uncomfortable situations but with greater reward. The movie can do its best to replicate this, however, it doesn’t always go far enough to capture that same sentiment. Nonetheless, both are heartbreaking. The main difference is the extent of this grief.

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