As the headline probably told you, this article is nothing but Captain America: Civil War spoilers.
Captain America: Civil War delivered on all of the usual Marvel Cinematic Universe promises: big action, fun characters, and lots of teases and set-ups for the future. One thing Civil War did well, and certainly better than Age of Ultron, was tell a completely self-contained story. Well, mostly.
However, it wouldn’t be a Marvel movie if they weren’t setting things up for the future, and that’s exactly what that somewhat dark ending did, while the two post-credits scenes were nods to two future solo Marvel movie superstars in Spider-Man and Black Panther.
So, let’s get into ’em…
Captain America: Civil War Ending
That was a rather downbeat way to end that flick, wasn’t it? Then again, when you think about it, none of the Captain America movies have had anything you might traditionally describe as a “happy ending” and it seems like Steve Rogers is forever destined to be a man out of time and an outsider. Even though Steve and his friends won the battle (after all, Bucky is still alive, and everyone who sided with Steve has been broken out of the super security prison, The Raft), he lost the war. The Sokovia Accords passed, and now the heroes who opposed them are operating outside the law.
But there are a couple of things to consider, here. Yes, the Avengers are totally fractured at the end of Civil War, far more so than they were at the end of Age of Ultron. But Steve’s conciliatory gesture to Tony (and Tony’s haunted demeanor at the end) more than leave the door open for a reformation of sorts in time for Avengers: Infinity War. Dramatically, when we see Steve and Tony on the same side again in the face of a much larger, cosmic level threat, it’s going to make for the feel good ass-kicking of the year. It’s one thing to raise the stakes with someone of insane power levels (an Infinity Gauntlet wielding Thanos), but really, anyone can do that with special effects these days. It’s the emotional stakes that are going to give it all that much more weight.
From a comic book standpoint, Steve Rogers has a long history of going underground and giving up the Captain America mantle. I honestly thought that’s what things were leading during my first viewing of The Winter Soldier, for example, which had a callback or two to the Secret Empire story from the comics that ended with Cap adopting another costumed identity. Cap was also replaced in the ’80s, and he put on a different costume and started going by the name of “The Captain.”
While I doubt that when we next see Steve Rogers he’ll be called Nomad or The Captain or anything like that, there’s a proud comic book tradition of Steve turning his back on the “America” part of his identity when he feels that isn’t necessarily living up to his ideals of what America should be. There’s definitely a hint of that in how this movie wrapped up.
So yes, there will be consequences in future movies. In fact, the Russo Brothers told us that threads from Civil War will definitely have to get resolved in Infinity War. More on that here.
Captain America: Civil War Post-Credits Scenes
These are both fairly self-explanatory, but they’re worth pointing out. The first of these scenes, which sees Bucky being tended to by a group of extraordinarily hi-tech scientists, takes place in the African nation of Wakanda, the home of the Black Panther. To be clear, Wakanda is the most technically advanced civilization on Earth in the Marvel Universe, and it’s a nice touch that they made this element of it look like it could be the bridge of a Starfleet Command ship.
Part of the reason Wakanda is so technologically advanced is because they’re absurdly rich. You can only score yourself some vibranium in Wakanda, and they will only trade with who they damn well feel like trading with. In the comics, they’re also a nation that has never been conquered, so their progress has been completely unimpeded by outside forces for thousands of years. Panther co-creator Jack Kirby’s vision of Wakanda from some of the early comics (and his return to T’Challa in the ’70s) give an idea of just how far out Wakandan technology can be, and it looks like we’re getting a reasonably more movie appropriate version of it for his solo flick.
Oh, and in the unlikely event you aren’t already aware of this, the Black Panther movie starring Chadwick Boseman will arrive in theaters on February 16th, 2018. In a stroke of awesomeness, it’s directed by Ryan Coogler, director of one of my favorite movies of 2015, Creed. Seriously, the guy made Rocky 7 awesome, so I have a good feeling about Black Panther.
The other one is also reasonably self-explanatory, as it’s a nice set-up for Spidey’s future solo movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming. But in its own way, even this is kind of helping to set up the new Spider-Man status quo, and it does it in a cool/fun way, via Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May.
See, the old (and I don’t mean elderly, although that too) Aunt May would have basically had a stroke if she saw Peter come home with a black eye. But the way she’s treating him here, with appropriate motherly concern but not in an overbearing way, is kind of a sign of the “new” Aunt May. For one thing, you can tell that she’s used to seeing Peter come home a little beat up, so Peter’s history of getting bulled kinda helps him cover any scrapes he picks up while adventuring as Spider-Man.
But back to Aunt May, who I can’t believe that I want to talk about almost as much as Spider-Man, but here we are. The May Parker of the Ultimate Spider-Man comics was also made a little younger and tougher. For one thing, she figured out Peter was Spidey fairly early on, and she had no qualms about grounding the living shit out of him if he stepped out of line, superhero or no superhero, and I can totally see this version of the character doing that. Also, while the Parkers are traditionally of Irish extraction, with the Italian-American Ms. Tomei in the role, I just know Peter has felt the sting of a wooden spoon at least a few times in his life.
But, for real, can’t you just see this version of Aunt May pulling one of these?
Anyway, that’s that, right? Well, there’s also the matter of the cool special feature that Tony Stark installed in Spidey’s webshooters. I’m not quite sure exactly what the funciton of that thing is, but it’s at least a visual callback to a piece of established Spidey technology that we’ve never actually seen in the movies. Here’s a look, with some rockin’ Steve Ditko art…
See, Spidey used to have a Spider-signal that he would project to, I dunno, strike terror into the hearts of safecrackers or something. There’s obviously some technological bells and whistles to the movie version, and I didn’t get a good look at everything else going on with it (through the haze of tears of joy I had from seeing Spidey done so perfectly), but maybe it’s also a direct line to Tony Stark, a crime tracker, an MP3 player, and a Snapchat filter.
Anyway, that’s literally all it took to get me excited for Spider-Man: Homecoming, directed by Jon Watts, which is due in theaters on July 7th, 2017.
Mike Cecchini will gladly buy the “only Spider-Man and Black Panther scenes” special edition Blu-ray of Civil War if they release it. Follow him on Twitter.