Differences and Similarities between Civil War and Batman v Superman

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Differences and similarities between Batman v Superman and Civil War

For better or for worse, 2016 has already seen the release of its biggest superhero movies - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War. X-Men: Apocalypse could have made the list, as well, but early word of mouth and reviews seem to suggest that it won't be as big as the studio hopes - while not on par with The Last Stand, the X-Men franchise will surely lose some fans after Apocalypse arrives.

So returning to the two behemoths from Marvel/Disney and DC/Warner Bros., it can be said that there couldn't be two comic book movies that were more different, from the reception of the final product to the outcome. However, there are quite a few similarities, as well.

So what differences can be found between these two? And, more importantly, what do they have in common?

I guess everybody saw both Batman v Superman and Civil War. However, just in case, here is the necessary spoiler warning - here be major spoilers, for both of these movies.

Different kinds of beginnings

Avengers and Justice League prequels (Movie Pilot)

Avengers and Justice League prequels (Movie Pilot)

Here is a difference, as well as a similarity - what better way to start list like this?

Batman v Superman, while the second movie of the DCEU, is seen as the launching pad of the shared universe. It brings together the biggest DC superheroes (the Trinity of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman) and has an open ending, which wouldn't work at all without the hope of additional movies to come. Basically, the ending teases the need for a team, because in time big baddies will begin to arrive on Earth.

On the other hand, Captain America: Civil War is also a beginning - but of a different kind. The MCU has been active since 2008, after all. Civil War begins a third phase of the shared universe, one which will lead to the biggest showdown of them all, when all of the superheroes will have to unite against the biggest in the Universe.

So Batman v Superman launches the DCEU toward a confrontation with a major villain (Darkseid), while Civil War launches the third phase of the MCU, one that will end with a war against the biggest MCU villain (Thanos).

On the next page, the biggest difference - the outcome!

The Death of"¦

The death of Captain America (Movie Pilot)

The death of Captain America (Movie Pilot)

Batman v Superman adapted two major storylines from the comics, with the second one being the most important (or, at least, more important at this point) - after the arrival of Doomsday, and after a heroic fight, Superman meets his end (basically, he and Doomsday kill each other). In the movie, through sheer will, he spears the villain with the kryptonite spear designed by Batman, only to fall dead from his injuries.

On the other hand, the Civil War from the comics ends with a different kind of death. Defeated in his fight against registration, Steve Rogers is assassinated, with someone else picking up the shield and becoming Captain America. This doesn't happen, however, in the movie, with the directors saying that this adaptation would have been the easy way out. Furthermore, by keeping Steve Rogers alive, the status quo changes drastically for everybody involved in the war.

Death of Superman (Movie Pilot)

Death of Superman (Movie Pilot)

In a way, it can be said that both Zack Snyder and the Russos paid attention to what the fans said. Snyder was faithful to the comics, and presented the consequences of going against an unbeatable foe; the Russos didn't kill the character, only to resurrect him afterwards.

On the next page, the hidden villains!

Lex and Zemo

Lex Luthor (EW)

Lex Luthor (EW)

Well, they are not actually hidden, especially for those with a minimum of comic book knowledge. As far as Lex Luthor is concerned, everybody has heard about him, from the original Superman movies to the Bryan Singer reboot attempt. With Zemo, things get complicated from this point of view, since, well, he is just a Captain America villain.

Anyway, in the movies, these villains aren't physical threats to the heroes. Instead, it’ss their machinations that bring the good guys to the edge.

Lex Luthor manipulated Bruce Wayne into blaming just Superman for the destruction of Metropolis, feeding Wayne’s (already existing) paranoia. On the other hand, he literally forces the Man of Steel to go against the Bat (by kidnapping his mother), even if Clark, ultimately, tries to prevent a full-on brawl with the ordinary human known as Batman.

In Civil War, Zemo becomes obsessed with the Avengers and breaking them up, blaming them for the deaths of his loved ones (and no, I don't really believe he was speaking the truth when revealing his reasons). His end game? Bringing the leaders of the Avengers (Captain America and Iron Man) to the point where they cannot trust each other, thus dissolving the team.

Even if the villains pose a physical threat to the heroes in the comics, they don't in the movies. And that is because of the other big, superpowered baddies used in the movies.

The Winter Soldier and Doomsday

Doomsday (Screen Rant)

Doomsday (Screen Rant)

Just in case his plan fails (although this makes no sense, as I see it), Lex's contrived machinations also include creating the ultimate weapon, using his blood, Zod's corpse, and Kryptonian technology. Thus, if Batman fails to kill Superman, Doomsday is supposed to finish the job.

The similarity between the movies is that Civil War also has a superpowered villain. But, instead of being the ultimate baddie and the means of delivering the finishing blow, the Winter Soldier is used just the put the plan into motion. Whereas Doomsday was certain to defeat Superman (and not the Trinity), the Winter Soldier was supposed to bring Iron Man and Captain America into such a severe state of disagreement that the Avengers will find themselves on different sides of a barricade.

The Winter Soldier (Wired)

The Winter Soldier (Wired)

Did Zack Snyder make the best of Doomsday, or did the Russos use Bucky in a more compelling way? This isn't the point of this list, at this moment. What do you think?

On the next page, the underused villain!

Crossbones and KGBeast

Crossbones and KGBeast - comic versions (Comic Vine)

Crossbones and KGBeast – comic versions (Comic Vine)

One is better known than the other - but still.

Before the release, and keeping in mind the tease made by Frank Grillo, everybody believed that Crossbones would play an important part in the Civil War. Leaving aside the endless speculation that Crossbones would kill Steve Rogers, the character was also believed to play a central part in Zemo's schemes. But it wasn't so, since Crossbones was killed almost as soon as he was introduced.

On the other hand, KGBeast (which might be the best name ever for a villain) was featured in Batman v Superman, and it was rumored that he would become one of Superman's best known enemies, Metallo - which would have been quite a leap from the comics. And it would have been for the better, I believe, since the villain ended up being just an enforcer. For that matter, he could have been called in any other way.

The point is that, leaving the rumors and what we all thought before the release of the movies aside, both KGBeast and Crossbones (especially him) were underused. And, unfortunately, they weren't the only supporting characters who were overlooked - am I the only one who believes that Vision didn't get enough screen time? The same can be said about Wonder Woman - these 2 characters having essentially extended cameos in their respective movies.

And, speaking of Crossbones, here is another similarity: Crossbones dies in a foreign country, thus hastening the creation of the Accords, while Jimmy Olsen's death in a foreign country brings Superman closer to going to trial.

On the next page, introducing new characters.

Wonder Woman and Black Panther

Wonder Woman (Superhero Hype)

Wonder Woman (Superhero Hype)

Both Civil War and Batman v Superman introduce characters who have been long overdue for their turns on the big screen.

Batman v Superman has the first appearance of Wonder Woman, a 5,000-year-old princess of the Amazons. She doesn't want to get involved in the big fight at first, but somehow she is convinced that it will be for the better.

In the same way, T'Challa is basically forced to involve himself in the fight, after his father is killed and Bucky is framed for the murder.

Black Panther (Bustle)

Black Panther (Bustle)

Another similarity between these two characters is that we still don't know how their powers work. Of course, comics readers might know a bit more! T'Challa fights Bucky (who is, basically, superhuman) without his suit. And does Wonder Woman fly or does she leap?

There are actually quite a few unknowns about both of these characters. I didn't expect to find out a great deal about them, anyway, because both of these movies are just teases (from a specific point of view).

Justice League and Infinity War

As previously said, both movies are just beginnings. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has been criticized numerous times for being just a set-up for subsequent movies. However, I don't believe that it was that big a fault. Instead, I believe that Dawn of Justice does exactly what it’s supposed to, which is to show how the Justice League is formed.

It can be debated whether or not Zack Snyder chose the smartest way to do so. However, we already have two (or three, with the not-dead Superman) members of the League established, with the rest already cameoing in the movie.

Civil War brings the MCU one step closer to the big conflagration. Even if Thanos weren’t present during the Civil War, the events of the movie paved the way for an easy win for him. The Avengers exist no more, and the heroes hate each other (frankly, I can't see a way for them to become friends again, short of another big death, just like Coulson’s unsatisfying demise).

Of course, as far as both movies are concerned, there are movies to follow before the big events. And these movies will explain the powers of both Wonder Woman and Black Panther (which will be released before Justice League Part One and Infinity War Part One, respectively).

Which brings us to another point.

Making the best of the source material

Batman v Superman

Batman v Superman (CNBC)

Batman v Superman - The Dark Knight Returns. Captain America: Civil War - Civil War. Both comic books are larger than life, and this is why many believe that the movies failed to deliver. While Batman v Superman focused more on the Dark Knight's paranoia, it didn't really capture the plot of the book. And while Captain America and Iron Man did fight, the movie was in no way a Civil War (more like a brawl).

But I beg to differ. The ideology remains the same as in the comics. The movie version of the Civil War dropped the Registration Act and introduced the Sokovia Accords; Batman v Superman didn't see the Man of Steel as a presidential watchdog and saw Batman only as a figure of legend.

Civil War (Blastr)

Civil War (Blastr)

And both of the movies deal with the fact that the superheroes need to respond to a higher power. Just as it happens in the comics. For example, Marvel had no chance in a million to bring massive numbers of superheroes to the big screen as the comics writers did. All the studio could do is take the idea from the original source and bring it to the big screen.

In the same way, Warner Bros. is trying to build a universe - whereas the Dark Knight Returns takes place in a world where all superheroes are outlawed. So adapting this part of the story makes no sense - instead, Batman v Superman only touches on this subject (ended abruptly by Lex Luthor), and focuses on a Batman who sees himself as representing all humans (the higher power who must keep Superman in check).

On the next page, the lesson to be learned.

What happens to the puppeteers?

Justice has been served (123rf)

Justice has been served. (123rf)

Strangely, Marvel doesn't kill Zemo - and it is strange, since the vast majority of the MCU villains die during their first outing. And this is where the Russos have made the smartest of all moves. Even if Zemo doesn't appear in any more movies, the fact that Black Panther spared his life means that he understood that revenge is a dish best not served at all. And so he proves to be a genuine hero by saving Zemo from killing himself and letting justice decide the villain's fate.

In the same way, Batman doesn't kill Luthor - and this is such a weird a thing to say: in a twist of events, Batman doesn't kill. He doesn't even brand him, for that matter, after realizing that that is not the way. Thus, Lex is also spared.

And even if Lex doesn’t appear in future movies (Jesse Eisenberg said that the writers haven't decided just yet on what will happen next with the character), it is a fitting end. And that is because the human justice was the one to settle the score and not some mad and paranoid vigilante.

Next, going back in time"¦

The mommy issues

Weird (For Fun Fest)

Weird (For Funnest)

In both Batman v Superman and Civil War, a hero's parents’ deaths play very key roles. Thus, besides both featuring flashbacks, both movies play the parent/son card. Of course, the approaches are different.

In one of the most ridiculous scenes ever, Zack Snyder squashes the fight between Batman and Superman, because both of their mothers are called Martha. Bruce Wayne (as we are left to understand) has never recovered since his parents were killed. However, this detail is what saves Clark Kent from being speared.

But, if Batman v Superman uses this card to resolve the conflict, Civil War uses it to amplify it. Apparently, Tony wasn't too close to his father before the latter's untimely death. And this has left the hero traumatized, since he didn't get the chance to make amends and express his true feelings. And when he finds out that the Winter Soldier killed his father, he immediately finds where to place the blame. And thus, one of the best Marvel action scenes begins!

On the next page, throwbacks to the prequels.

Man of Steel vs. The rest of the MCU

Man of Steel (Forbes)

Man of Steel (Forbes)

It all boils down to this - the movies that preceded these major events. Warner Bros. has only Man of Steel, while Marvel and Disney have no less than 12 movies. Presenting the consequences of actions from previous installments is a necessity in the current movies.

For Batman v Superman it is pretty clear - the destruction of Metropolis is the important event. For Civil War, it’s the third acts in all of the solo movies, along with the third acts of both Avengers flicks.

All of these events prompt the world and the normal humans to call for the regulation of the enhanced individuals' actions. And, as far as I am concerned, this is uncalled for - at least in Batman v Superman.

Thus, the inexperienced hero has to do his best against trained individuals bent on destroying the world. Of course, it’s his fault that the Kryptonians arrived on Earth, since his lack of knowledge triggered the beacon. However, I can say that this is an honest mistake and that, eventually, Zod would arrive on Earth (as he says, he’s been on planets where the Kryptonians went before - he’s meant to arrive on Earth as well, since a scout ship crashed on the planet).

The MCU (Slash Film)

The MCU (Slash Film)

On the other hand, in the MCU, I can understand almost all of the reasons that prompt the Accords. However, why should all the Avengers go on trial (this is, basically, a trial), when only Tony Stark is to be blamed for the creation of Ultron (this was the biggest reason the Accords were created, since the document is called Sokovia Accords).

This isn't just an honest mistake a la Clark Kent. He’s basically created Ultronand then let the blame fall on the entire team.

On the next page, how do the directors fix the collateral damage issues?

The setting of the big fight

Fans can be so easily offended (9gag)

Fans can be so easily offended! (9gag)

I get it - heroes shouldn't kill and there should be no collateral damage. However, am I the only one who doesn't actually mind it when, say, Superman fights some uber-powerful villain and Metropolis or some other city is leveled in the process? After all, if the hero doesn’t intervene, the entire world would perished (here comes this reason yet again).

And this should count very much for the realism of the movies - especially when it comes to DC. That’s why I have no problem with the final battle of Man of Steel, just like I have had no problem with any of the MCU's third acts.

But the fans have spoken - and now both Zack Snyder and the Russos have played it safe. The big showdown is in an abandoned area in Gotham (Batman v Superman) and in a closed airport (Civil War). Which seems hilarious to me in both cases, since the directors pulled their punches. Just like Hawkeye did with Black Widow.

Yes, it can be explained if I consider Batman a great strategist, for example, or if I consider Cap's desire to minimize the casualties. However, I don't think I am the one who considers it weird to have a full war (both of the movies are about that, to some extent), without the consequences of an actual war.

On the last page, this segment was brought to you by"¦

Product placement

Turkish Airlines (China Aviation Daily)

Turkish Airlines (China Aviation Daily)

This isn't such a big thing and it might seem a bit odd. However, both of the movies feature some weird scenes.

Batman v Superman has Diana Prince boarding Turkish Airlines just to disembark moments later. It makes no sense at all - other than the fact that Turkish Airlines is a partner/sponsor of the movie. Which is great - but how about not shoving unnecessary scenes into a movie?

In Civil War, the car chase scene that ends with War Machine coming to the rescue is one helluva scene. However, leaving aside the awesomeness, the movie could have made it without this scene. In other words, if you didn't buy an Audi after Age of Ultron, you will certainly buy one after Civil War (or smth).

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10 Reasons I LOVED Captain America: Civil War
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10 of the Craziest DC Characters (A-B)

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