Captain America: Civil War Didn’t Need A Villain

Well, the reviews are in and it seems like Captain America: Civil War is a good movie. Okay, understatement of the year. Having seen it myself, I would have to say this is probably one of Marvel’s best films ever since they launched the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe way back in 2008. It had a great plot, the jokes and humor was spot on and the action, oh my God, the action is just fantastic! The airport battle was probably one of the most satisfying action sequences ever to be put on film, superhero film or not!

I remember leaving the cinema really pumped and how I thought Civil War was practically a perfect film… but there was something wrong. There was something at the back of my mind that was telling me there was still something wrong with this almost perfect film. I did eventually figure it out what it was while taking the bus home. It was the film’s villain. Oh, you didn’t know there was a bad guy in Captain America: Civil War? Well, Marvel didn’t really promote him in the trailer and for good reason: you really didn’t need him in the grand scheme of things if you really look at the overall plot of the film.

Anyway, before moving on, I have to warn readers that, in order to explain why I think the film didn’t actually need a big baddie pulling the strings from behind the scenes, I will need to talk about the plot of Captain America: Civil War. As such, I will have to warn you that this will be SPOILER heavy!

Heh! Spoiler alert!

A very heavy spoiler warning!

So, in Captain America: Civil War, the big baddie is Helmut Zemo, one of the few surviving soldiers of Sokovia, the tiny country that was razed to the ground during Avengers: Age of Ultron. He hatches a plot to break up the Avengers by driving a wedge between Avengers founders Captain America and Iron Man. To do this, Zemo uses his knowledge of Bucky/Winter Soldier, Captain America’s best friend. Zemo bombs the signing ceremony of the Sokovia Accords and frames Bucky for the attack. He then waits for the Avengers to capture Bucky and, disguised as the UN psychologist to analyze the prisoner, Zemo activates Winter Soldier’s programming.

He then questions Winter Soldier about an operation that was done during 1991 as well as the Hydra location where the Winter Solider program is done. Zemo unleashes Winter Soldier on a rampage to cover his escape. Zemo then goes to the aforementioned Hydra bunker and waits for Captain America/Steve Rogers, Bucky/Winter Soldier and Iron Man/Tony Stark. Once the trio arrives, Zemo plays a tape showing that it was the Winter Solider (ie. Bucky while under mind control) that killed Stark’s parents. This drives Stark to attempt to kill Bucky in a fit of rage. Of course, Cap and Bucky fight back and the damage has been done. Iron Man no longer trusts Captain America.

Thank God they didn't give him that ridiculous purple cloth mask!

Thank God they didn’t give him that ridiculous purple cloth mask!

Now, wasn’t that one of the most convoluted villain schemes ever? But I do have to give Marvel credit as this is the only superhero movie ever where the villain actually succeeded with his plan! Zemo actually outsmarted everyone!

But, if you really look at his plan, did he really need to go through all of the trouble of staging the bombing, framing Bucky, finding the Hydra base and then wait for Captain America, Bucky and Iron Man just to break up and punish the Avengers? In the long run, no. The Avengers would’ve broken up and have fought each other without any help. Why? Because of the Sokovia Accords treaty! Captain America and Iron Man were already on the verge of fighting each other because they disagreed if they should sign it or not!

Looks very important... and thick... and boring to read.

Looks very important… and thick… and boring to read.

Both Captain America and Iron Man have two different ideologies. Captain America believes they have to be the ones to monitor the countries of the world and put a stop to injustice wherever it may be, despite what outside parties may feel about it. Iron Man believes the world does see them as a threat and they will need the world’s help at one point. With these totally contrasting points of view, both Captain America and Iron Man were bound to come to blows eventually. And they actually did in the comics!

In the comic series version of Civil War, the New Warriors, a superhero squad consisting of teenagers, attempt to apprehend some super criminals but, possibly due to their inexperience, actually caused millions of dollars of property damageand deaths of hundreds of civilians that were caught in the crossfire. This led to the ratification of the Superhuman Registration Act, a law that would require all people with powers and abilities to register with the government and reveal their identities to the public. In return, they would be deputized as honorary law officers, receive proper training as well as get the proper benefits any normal government employee receives.

Hey! They did that scene in the movie!

Hey! They did that scene in the movie!

Iron Man was the spokesperson for the Superhuman Registration Act as he saw the benefits of actually not being a vigilante as well as he knew it would help the heroes who are down on their luck or are too young to know how to use their abilities. Captain America was against the Superhero Registration Act as it would put heroes in unnecessary danger as they would have to reveal their secret identities and they may be deployed into situations they didn’t agree with like government soldiers. Things got ugly and, by the end of the series, both groups were battered and bruised, to say the least.

Now, all of this would’ve actually happened eventually with or without Zemo’s involvement. There’s no way Captain America and his team would stop fighting the forces of evil even if they didn’t sign the Sokovia Accords. Iron Man’s team would eventually have to put a stop to them. Both sides were going to fight no matter what.

civil war - cap vs iron man


The only thing Zemo did was make the fight personal by throwing Bucky into the mix and showing Stark that it was the Winter Soldier that killed his parents. But things were going to become personal sooner or later. During the airport fight scene, War Machine gets hit hard and is paralyzed from the waist down. Isn’t Iron Man going to take that personally? A lot of Captain America’s group is thrown into the maximum security prison known as The Raft and are treated like common criminals instead of the heroes they really are. Isn’t Captain America gonna take it personally when he finds out about how they’re being treated?

Now, I’m not saying that Zemo was awful. I actually like the character and I’m shocked that Marvel had the balls to actually make him get the pyrrhic victory as he was sent to prison afterwards. But, ultimately, Zemo wasn’t needed. His convoluted plot to destroy the Avengers was moot as it was going to happen due to their different views on the Sokovia Accords. I’m just saying he wasn’t necessary in Captain America: Civil War’s overall plot.

Still, it’s a very good movie.

What’s your thoughts on Zemo’s participation in Captain America: Civil War? Let me know in the comments below!


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