By now, we’ve all seen the Super Bowl TV spot for Captain America: Civil War, but let’s just watch it again.
OK! Friend versus friend. By this point, you’ve probably decided whether you’re #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan, and we’re not here to talk you out of it. Instead, we wanted to take a scientific look at this fight—given what we know about Team Cap and Team Iron Man, how would this fight really play out?
First thing’s first—we don’t know the final Captain America: Civil War rosters yet. The first two trailers and some early promotional art definitely give us a good idea at how the two sides are going to breakdown, but Spider-Man’s involvement remains a bit of a mystery (and if the movie echoes the source material, his allegiances could be slippery) so we’re going to have to work with what we know. And what we know is that both #TeamCap and #TeamIronMan are a pretty formidable bunch, but there can only be one victor, so here, we present an extremely detailed analysis of how this matchup would actually go down.
Please note: this is the opinion of just one writer (me) at The Marvel Report. I have distinguished colleagues who take issue with some of my thoughts here, so there’s going to be more than one Civil War going on this summer.
Captain America, Winter Soldier, Falcon, Ant Man, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye
There’s a heavy focus on speed and skill here. Four of these guys have covert military training (two of them took on Hitler, for crying out loud) and one of them is pretty much invisible when he wants to be. The one exception is Wanda, the Scarlet Witch. Even if we take the rumors that Ant Man becomes Giant Man in this movie (which would be very cool) at face value, she’s the team’s heaviest hitter.
Not the strongest, fastest or most powerful member on his own team, but still probably its best asset. Invincible shield and enhanced athleticism not withstanding, Cap’s real super power is his mind. He’s a tactical genius who beats long odds before you get out of bed in the morning. Team Iron Man is stronger than Team Cap, but they don’t have Cap’s experience with winning even when the deck is stacked against you.
We all saw what Bucky was capable of in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. He’s got a robot arm. He beat Captain America to a stand still. He has a seemingly limitless supply of weapons, and knows fifteen ways to kill you without using any of them. Heck, you’re lucky if you even see him coming.
It’s good to see Sam Wilson, one of comic book Captain America’s oldest and truest friends, getting in on the action here. Of course, Falcon’s biggest advantage are his synthetic wings, but don’t discount his formidable SHIELD training either. Seeing as about half of Team Iron Man can fly, having someone else who can engage them in arial combat makes his contribution a necessity. The movies have yet to work in Falcon’s actual falcon sidekick, Redwing, but if Civil War chooses to do so, I will burst into joyous tears in the middle of the theater, just you wait.
Although she doesn’t appear in the trailer’s lineups, Agent 13 is featured in most of the promotional material as being a part of Team Cap, and it’s a good thing for them; SHIELD doesn’t just put anybody out on the field you know. That means she’s got the same training Black Widow has, and Team Cap is going to need all the help it can get against Black Widow (see below). Also, in the comics, Agent 13’s last name is Carter—meaning she was brought up in the home of one of the Marvel Universe’s greats.
An untested quality here. We know Scott Lang has some martial arts training and well, there’s all the ant stuff. Not exactly the coolest super power in the room, but a huge asset to Team Cap. Ant Man gives Team Cap the ability to sneak around completely undetected and stage elaborate infiltrations. In Ant Man’s own movie, the guy was even able to sneak inside Yellowjacket’s armor and tear him to pieces from the inside. No telling whether or not Iron Man and War Machine are prepared to deal with that kind of threat but, if not, Ant Man could make their lives very miserable. (No word on Wasp in this movie, but that would be a game changer.)
It’s impossible to overstate her contribution to the team. The full scope of Wanda’s powers is unknown at this point, but there’s no reason to think she couldn’t mop the floor with Team Iron Man just by thinking about it. As you might recall, she took almost every last Avenger down nearly by herself in Avengers: Age of Ultron. She could have Iron Man and the gang having nightmares about kindergarten before they get their armor on. That was before Vision was around, and his powers are probably the only thing that’ll keep her from winning this thing all by herself.
Poor Hawkeye. He’s been a punchline pretty much since his first appearance in Thor, but the bow and arrow thing is more than a gimmick. Remember in Avengers how he was picking off Chitauri invaders from an elevated position? Of course, in that movie, he also proved he’s no match for the Black Widow at close quarters combat, so an elevated position is probably where he belongs. Also, don’t discount the legendary boomerang arrow.
Team Iron Man
Iron Man, War Machine, Vision, Black Widow, Black Panther
Team Iron Man leans heavy on firepower, with lots of bruisers who are well-equipped to punch their way out of problems. But for some psychic protection from the Scarlet Witch, Vision could juggle Team Cap by himself. That said, Team Iron Man also has Black Widow and Black Panther—two master combatants every bit as quick as they are deadly.
A man who needs no introduction, and has only become more powerful over time. His armor is what made him famous, but his genius level intellect is certainly capable of causing some serious headaches for Team Cap too. His tech prowess could neutralize the effect of over half of Team Cap and, as we learned in Iron Man 3, he’s plenty dangerous even without the armor.
The name “War Machine?” It’s not just a fancy title, it’s a description. Tony’s oldest friend, with a nearly identical suit of armor. What Rhodey lacks in scientific expertise he makes up for with military training, which ought to help Team Iron Man anticipate some of Team Cap’s moves. Individually, both of these guys are dangerous. Teamed up, they’re devastating.
Possibly the key factor on Team Iron Man. Like Wanda, the full scope of Vision’s potential isn’t totally known, but if he’s anything like his dad Ultron, it’s going to spell trouble for Team Cap. Super strength, flight, the ability to become completely intangible or immeasurably dense, laser beams—there’s not a lot of cylinders this guy isn’t banging on. It’s a good thing he’s programmed to be such a sweetheart.
Hugely dangerous entity here, as she can deal with most of Team Cap on their own terms. She’s a trained spy, a master combatant and a total badass. Team Cap’s espionage edge is a lot less of an edge with Natasha around to cancel it out.
It remains to be seen how much of the comic book Black Panther is going to be rolled into the MCU version, but it’s possible that T’Challa could be the most dangerous person on Team Iron Man. He’s a world class fighter who could easily hold his own against Winter Soldier and even Captain America, as well as being a Stark-level genius and a military tactician. Scarlet Witch aside, it’s hard to think of a single person on Team Cap he couldn’t match.
Strategies for Victory
3 Rules for Team Cap
1. Strike Early
The first thing Team Cap needs to do is capitalize on its own strengths and go on the offensive. Well over half the team are trained espionage experts and could overwhelm Team Iron Man before anyone even knew they were in the same zip code. Give Team Iron Man too much time to prepare, and Team Cap is going to be reeling from their superior firepower. Team Cap needs to keep them on their toes.
2. Neutralize the Vision
Vision is an Ultron-created synthezoid who can float through your grasp, which makes all of Team Caps’s vaunted combat skills basically worthless against him. Team Cap is going to need to find a way to take him down (Wanda’s probably the only one who can really go toe-to-toe with him) or there’s no point in even attacking.
3. Double Team Iron Man
From the trailer, it looks like Cap and Bucky already figured this one out, but it bears repeating. Give Tony Stark a chance, and Team Cap can be repulser rayed back to World War II. Team Cap needs to utilize its team synergy and the years Steve and Bucky spent fighting together to its advantage and not give Iron Man a second to get his bearings.
3 Rules for Team Iron Man
1. Anticipate Captain America
Cap is a one man army whose greatest asset is what he’s going to come up with before the fight even starts. Captain America can out-strategize Team Iron Man. Their only hope is try to stay one step ahead of him. Set a trap. Feign vulnerability. They do not want to start a fight on Captain America’s terms.
2. Keep Your Distance
Team Iron Man’s biggest strength is its long rage capability. Outside of Hawkeye, nobody on Team Cap presents much of a threat outside of close quarters. If they can stay ahead of Team Cap, they can keep them at bay with any number of fancy, far-reaching doo-dads.
3. Don’t Discount Ant Man
Tougher teams than Team Iron Man got their asses kicked because they didn’t see Ant Man coming. His powers aren’t sexy, but that knowledge won’t do you any good when you can’t even see who’s knocking your teeth out. Even more to the point, it’s totally possible nobody on Team Iron Man has even heard of Ant Man yet, which makes his skills that much deadlier. Tony Stark is probably bright enough to figure out how to short circuit Ant Man’s armor, and he’s going to have to if Team Iron Man wants to win.
This is a very tough matchup that could go either way. Assuming Vision and Scarlet Witch virtually count each other’s vast powers out, the fight is going to come down to the Avengers’ brawlers. Winter Soldier and Black Panther are similarly skilled fighters who will probably tussle to a standstill. We know Natasha can beat Hawkeye and Agent 13 if she can get close enough to them, which she certainly can. Ant Man probably has the ability to knock Rhodey out of the picture, assuming Tony hasn’t rigged the the War Machine armor against an ant army. That leaves Cap to take on Iron Man and then it’s all a matter of who’s better prepared. In a normal matchup, Iron Man would almost certainly overpower Captain America, but that’s all assuming that Captain America doesn’t have a trick up his sleeve, which seems unlikely. It’s really just hard to say. A lot comes down to context.
In the end, I’m going to say the fight would probably tilt in the favor of Team Iron Man. It pains me to say so! Captain America has been my favorite superhero since I was little and I am still, now, and forever #TeamCap, but the enhanced firepower along with the balance of espionage prowess represented by Natasha and T’Challa would be pretty overwhelming.
Are we right? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll all find out for sure when Captain America: Civil War releases on May 6!