Captain America: Civil War is a smorgasbord of superhero action, with over 12 superheroes (and a few villains) duking it out across several continents and a two-and-a-half hour runtime.
In fact, given everything that was going on, it’s surprising how many nods to the source material they managed to fit in, but fit them in they did. Here are just some of our favourites.
SPOILER WARNING: this article reveals details from the Civil War movie
1. Birds of a feather flock together
If you were confused as to why Anthony Mackie’s winged wonder had a robotic pal in this film, then the answer lies in the comics. You see, the original comic-book Falcon didn’t have wings at all (at least at first), with his superpowers instead based around a psychic link he was given with a hawk called Redwing who would fly about doing his bidding.
Presumably when adapting this film the Russo Brothers couldn’t quite bring themselves to CGI a fake bird into the action, so they gave him a robot redwing instead.
2. Cross your bones and hope to die
Frank Grillo’s skull-themed baddie Crossbones (also seen unscarred in Captain America: The Winter Soldier under his civilian name Brock Rumlow) met a nasty end at the hands of some explosives and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch in Civil War. However, in the original Civil War comic it was Captain America himself who came off worse from their rivalry, with the patriotic hero murdered by Crossbones and a squad of other nasty types at the conclusion of the comic-book event.
3. A Vision of wedded bliss
The flirtatious interactions between the Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) are based on their romantic relationship in the comics, which led to the pair eventually getting married and even having some magic-induced children.
4. Don’t hate the player, hate the game
Speaking of the Vision, a couple of moments in the new film – specifically his fetching jumper/shirt combo and love of chess – seem to have been lifted directly from this classic 1971 Avengers issue, which saw the team put under the government microscope after a series of alien attacks. Sound familiar?
The moment when Paul Rudd’s pint-sized shrinking hero Ant-Man massively increased his size was a brilliant moment in the climactic airport battle, bit it wasn’t without precedent. In the source comics, original Ant-Man Hank Pym (played as an older man by Michael Douglas in the Marvel movies) discovered the same trick decades ago, with both him and other heroes (including Hawkeye) taking on the aliases of Giant-Man and Goliath over the years and forgetting the whole “talking to ants” thing.
6. A Thunderbolt from the blue
William Hurt’s Secretary Ross was a stubborn antagonist for Captain America (Chris Evans) and his team in Civil War, but this wasn’t his first appearance – Hurt originally played the character as traditional Hulk foe Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross back in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk.
7. Stanly does it
It wouldn’t be a Marvel-based superhero movie without a cameo from legendary industry figure Stan lee, and this film was no exception. This time round the comics supremo played a FedEx employee who mispronounced the name of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark as Tony Stank, and much fun was had by all – especially those who believe the theory that Stan Lee’s cameos represent an omniscient Marvel character called The Watcher. And they need the fun.
8. Many strings to his bow
It’s a small moment, but one part of the airport fight scene sees Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) launch Ant-Man on one of his arrows, in a scene probably inspired by classic moments from the comics and TV animation Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
9. Spider-Mask, Spider-Mask, does whatever the fanboys ask
At the end of the battle, Tom Holland’s new version of the webslinger is left on the floor with his mask eschew, partially revealing his face and probably paying homage to this key moment from the original Civil War comic, which saw Spider-Man reveal his identity to the world as a favour to Iron Man.
On a side note, the detail of Iron Man giving Peter Parker an upgraded Spider-Man suit is also from the Civil War comic storyline, though in that case (as you’ll see below) he was more keen to stick with his own colour scheme.
10. What a tangled web we weave
Another comic-book Spider-Man moment (also from the Civil War series) appears to have been referenced in the scene where Spidey steals and webs up Captain America’s shield, aka the first time we all fell in love with Tom Holland’s new incarnation in the second trailer.
11. He’s ‘armless, really
It started off unintentionally, but for the last few years every film in Marvel’s “Phase 2” of movies (aka everything past 2012’s Avengers Assemble) has featured a character losing a hand or an arm in tribute to fellow Disney property Star Wars.
This time, the unfortunate amputee was Sebastian Stan’s Bucky, who lost his robotic arm in a final clash with Iron Man. We bet that wasn’t very handy.
Captain America: Civil War is in cinemas now