Captain America: Civil War is finally here!
Avengers: Age of Ultron may not have been the ultimate sequel that fans were hoping for, but many believe that Civil War will get the Marvel Cinematic Universe back on track. Somehow, the film assembles a huge cast of characters and juggles a number of different storylines without anything feeling extraneous or unnecessary.
Of course, with so many different heroes on-screen at once, references and Easter eggs were all but inevitable. Marvel movies have always featured nods to the original works, and Civil War is no different — in fact, it may have more subtle references back to the comics than any other movie in the company's library.
Granted, going over each and every little reference would take forever — instead, we'll be focusing on the biggest and best of the lot. Marvel did a great job of adapting a huge story from the comic books and making it work on the big screen, and these sly nods and Easter eggs only add to the experience.
It's almost impossible to avoid spoilers when talking about some of these references, so if you haven't seen the movie yet, bookmark this page and come back when you have!
Bird vs. Machine
The most obvious reference comes near the beginning of the movie: in Nigeria, the Avengers track down a villain known as Crossbones during his attempt to steal a biological weapon. It's a great showcase of Cap's new Avengers team: everyone, from Scarlet Witch to Black Widow to the Falcon, gets some time in the spotlight.
Speaking of Falcon, the drone that sits inside of his wingsuit plays a pretty important role in the movie, even if it's just scoping out locations and tracking down targets. It makes for some great moments — the only thing that's really weird about it is the fact that Falcon gives it the name "Redwing."
Well, as it turns out, Redwing is actually the name of the pet falcon that Sam Wilson kept in the comics. Back then, Redwing was about as traditional an animal sidekick as you could get — though we don't know if a giant, red-tinted bird would have necessarily fit in with the relatively serious tone of the movie.
Straight Out of the Comics
Another easy-to-spot reference comes during the final fight between Captain America and Iron Man. Civil War did a fantastic job of not only showing the brutality of the fight, but the personal nature of the overall conflict: the story of the comics and the movie are vastly different from one another, but Marvel made sure that the emotional side of the duel made the transition from page to screen.
Thankfully, much of the fight choreography made the transition as well: there are several shots that are outright recreations of the comic book fight, including the iconic image of Cap blocking one of Tony's point-blank repulsor blasts, and Steve standing over a bruised and battered Iron Man.
What's ironic is that, despite their similarities, the two different versions of the finale have vastly different outcomes. In the comics, Cap beating Iron Man leads to the revelation that the Superhuman Registration Act is a necessity, while the film's finale solidifies Steve's refusal to accept the Sokovia Accords. It's a testament to how an adaptation can be different while still doing justice to the original work.
A Prison By Any Other Name
You'd be forgiven for wondering from where the giant, underwater prison that appears near the end of the film originated. There's no mention of the Raft facility anywhere else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the fact that it just sort of appears doesn't really clear anything up.
To make matters even more complicated, the Raft in Civil War is actually an amalgamation of two different facilities in the comics. The original version of the Raft was, much like in the film, a super-prison designed to hold any manner of super-powered individual. In the movie, the Raft is placed somewhere in the middle of the ocean, though the comic book version was located just off the coast of New York.
On top of all that, the Raft is also a reference to Prison 42, a comic book-exclusive facility located in an alternate dimension known as the Negative Zone. During the events of the Civil War comics, Iron Man has all of the anti-registration heroes locked away without trial — and while the Negative Zone doesn't make any sort of appearance in the film, the on-screen version of the Raft serves the same purpose.
That Speech Sounds Familiar ...
One of the moments that may stand out as odd to newcomers is the funeral that takes place near the end of the first act. If you haven't been keeping up with the Captain America films or Marvel's Agent Carter TV show, the weight of Peggy Carter's passing may be lost on newer fans of the franchise. That being said, she played a pretty significant role in the past two Captain America movies — it was her confidence in Steve that helped shape him into the hero we all know and love.
So, it makes sense that Peggy's own words, spoken by her niece as a eulogy, would inspire Steve to stand his ground and take a stance against the Sokovia Accords — but in the comics, that same speech is spoken by none other than Steve himself.
Originally, Cap gave that speech to Spider-Man, and convinced the wall-crawler to switch sides halfway through the comic book storyline. In fact, the speech in the film is lifted almost verbatim from the comics — though its impact and focal point differs between the two versions.
There's one other quote that deserves mention — and even if you haven't seen the movie yet, you've already seen this line. During the final bout with Iron Man, Cap smugly states, "I can do this all day," while struggling to keep his fists up.
It sounds like a simple retort, but the line is actually a callback to the very first Captain America movie. Before Steve undergoes the Super Soldier procedure, he's attacked in an alleyway and beaten into the ground. After getting punched out and standing back up multiple times (even grabbing for a makeshift shield in the process), Steve utters the same exact line and establishes how absolutely unshakable he really is.
Granted, the line in Civil War isn't exactly an Earth-shattering Easter egg, but it's a great way to show just how far Cap has come since his early days in Brooklyn — and that, despite everything he's gone through since his de-thawing, Cap is still the same person he was before the world went off the deep end.
A Rather Morbid Cameo
It's not all that uncommon for directors and producers to sneak their way into movies (just look at the dozens of different Stan Lee cameos), but co-director Joe Russo has a much darker cameo in Civil War than that of his peers.
In the second half of the movie, the audience learns that the Helmut Zemo killed and replaced Bucky's original doctor in order to gain access to the Winter Soldier's cell. The only time fans ever get a look at the real doctor is when he's found dead in a Berlin hotel room — and yes, that is Joe Russo doing an amazing job as a dead body dumped in a bathtub.
This isn't the first time Russo has had a cameo in a Captain America movie, either: in The Winter Soldier (pictured above), Russo played one of the doctors attending to Nick Fury after the latter faked his death. Let's just hope that Russo's inevitable Avengers: Infinity War appearance isn't quite so morbid as his latest cameo ...
Of course, these references and Easter eggs only scratch the surface of what Marvel was able to hide away in Civil War — let us know which nod to the comics was your favorite in the comments below!
Captain America: Civil War hits theaters on May 6.