Looking back to the Captain America movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) still brings a number of surprises, most notably how Cap sometimes gets usurped by his fellow Avengers. Maybe some will find this unsurprising when considering the complaints of fans about characters like Captain Marvel getting the same treatment.
When reanalyzing films like Captain America: Civil War, one can see it became a group effort plot rather than being solely about Cap himself. His origin story took place five years earlier with Captain America: The First Avenger, then The Winter Soldier three years later with co-focus on Bucky Barnes.
By 2016, the MCU roster was vastly changed and considerably full. Fans still debate whether Civil War was really mistitled as a result.
Should ‘Civil War’ have had a different title?
Fans on Reddit have been going back and looking at Civil War. They think it should have been called Avengers 2.5 since the other half of the story was about the internal battle of The Avengers team.
A lot of merits exists with that argument, if missing one key thing: The film does start off with Cap’s story. Plus, placing his name there was likely a marketing strategy of familiarity.
Yet another argument exists Civil War had to fill in since Cap’s story was one making him arguably a little too benevolent. Because Steve Rogers was from the 1940s, that sense of always doing right above wrong was embedded in his soul. No one would ever consider him boring, but filling an entire movie about Cap reforming his relationship with Bucky Barnes and singularly protesting the Sokovia Accords would have required a stretch.
For first-timers to the MCU, trying to explain away Civil War as essentially two different plots might take some extra explanation.
It was really a transition movie from Captain America’s story to The Avengers
Then again, looking at the Civil War title, one could say it was designed to show a transition was going to occur. Considering this was the last time Cap’s name would be in a title, it was clear it would be a high-point in what he stands for as a superhero.
As a Reddit user above noted: “So now we come to Civil War where, in my opinion, is Steve’s crescendo. Hydra has been outed, and the government’s internal body is recovering. But not enough for Rogers to accept the proposed Sokovia Accords. “
Showing him as being the adamant good guy who puts the civil war into motion was more or less his apex. No more movies could arguably sustain stories like that, meaning it soon became a group effort to make the remaining arc play out.
At the time, casual fans never knew all The Avengers would soon work together for a greater good, plus create a bookend for Cap.
Perhaps the MCU will do better on their titles
If Civil War is a film needing explaining to MCU newbies, Marvel will likely never take a movie and divide it up into two again. Mapping out The Avengers arc was already a cinematic challenge beyond all creative calculations. The only real logical way was to cram in two different plots into one and market it as one film.
Of course, everyone knows Infinity War was almost broken up into two parts. Not doing so creates just as many arguments about that film as Civil War receives. Reddit fans above still think Cap was robbed of having more character development.
Going forward, MCU film titles are going to be with single superhero names again to set up new characters. After that, titles may stay singular for a while as the character list expands exponentially, including sequels. Unless things go full circle and everyone sees a new Captain America title someday.
With his time-travel return to be with Peggy Carter, his backstory may require some further development to really round him out.