At the risk of getting stoned by the adoring fan-horde of Captain America: Civil War, a confession: I didn't much care for the mov- Ow! Fuckers!
The movie is completely fine. It's just that my job as a Cracked columnist requires me to stay up to date re: pop culture, and after browsing through the 3,587th "totally amazing" Civil War theory, I knew that the actual film can't hold a candle to the brain-softening shitstorm the internet has already constructed for it. Luckily, this can work the other way around, too. Apply some of the theories out there to the already-existing superhero movies and TV series, and they completely change their meaning -- sometimes even for the better. Here, subject your face-eyes to the pointless pop culture ravings of the internet's finest maniacs, and see if you don't want to rewatch your favorite Marvel movies:
#5. Phil Coulson Is A Super Soldier
Phil Coulson is a rarity, one of the few genuinely likable non-superpowered major characters Marvel's Phase 1 threw at us. Of course, that was the guy's whole point, seeing as he was being set up for a heroic sacrifice at the hands of Loki that would finally cause The Avengers to work together in Avengers Finally Learn To Work Together, And Also That Hammer Blow Should Have Turned Cap Into Handsome Pudding.
Yeah, about that whole "non-superpowered" part ...
"Please don't make this about Life Model Decoys."
Here, eat fan theory: Before his death and subsequent resurrection as whatever alien-revived semi-zombie the producers turned him into in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., Phil Coulson was actually born in the 1930s. In fact, he features in Captain America: The First Avenger as a kid called Phil, waving a makeshift Cap shield on the streets as his mom calls him for dinner.
White guy named Phil? The evidence is pretty solid.
We all know how the movie goes down; the super soldier serum is lost when its inventor dies, and the good captain "dies" in a plane crash. What the movie doesn't tell us, though, is: What would the U.S. military do if they lost the way to make superpowered soldiers and their only living specimen? Take a collective, old-timey panic shit and scramble to restart the project, that's what.
Eventually, they managed to reproduce the serum. They never got it quite right but were able to replicate some effects of the original -- delayed aging, heightened reflexes, boner that solves riddles, stuff like that. It was time to test that shit on someone. Meanwhile, Phil the trashcan lid Cap shield kid from First Avenger has grown up. He has chosen to protect America like his hero and embarked on a government career. "Fuck yeah, I'm going to volunteer for that," he thinks and goes off to volunteer. And that's how Phil Coulson can do shit like this.
"Government Agent Procedural Dropkick!"
When you think about it, Coulson's character makes zero sense if he doesn't have at least some superpowers. He is routinely sent off to face some of the most dangerous individuals in the world. Without blinking and with a smirk on his face, he sits in the same room with tank-suit wearing alcoholics, temporarily depowered Norse gods that just tore through most of his squad, and temporarily mega-powered Norse gods who are clearly going to kill him -- and he fucking owns the room anyway. The only time he flinches even slightly is in Thor, and that's because a magical robot with the power to destroy everything is actively firing explosion-rays at him. That'll piss on anyone's parade.
Man, am I the only one who now wants a big-budget Coulson solo movie?
#4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier Features A Secret Superhero
Do you remember this scene in Captain America: The Winter Soldier?
You know, the one about vehicles getting wrecked?
That's Nick Fury getting his escape from the bad guys unexpectedly aided by a yellow Penske truck that seems to be driven by a blind drunkard who just dropped a hot coffee in his own lap. The truck is not a part of the chase. It's just there, conveniently screaming through the intersection at breakneck speed. That, friends, is what's called deus ex machina. What makes things really weird is that the filmmakers, Russo brothers, actually use the same "suddenly a truck!" plot device twice. Literally the same truck, too: Later in the movie, an awfully similar Penske rams a car occupied by newly villainous Agent Sitwell. Come on, guys, get your shit together. That's just lazy.
Or is it?
The Russos have teased that not only is the similarity of the scenes intentional but the truck may well be the exact same one -- driven by the same guy. This means either the Russos secretly hate Penske or something is afoot here. They almost certainly meant it as an off-the-cuff joke or a nice little Easter egg with little payoff, but that doesn't mean the internet didn't take it like a teen boy with a boob photo and run with it. According to some, the prime candidate for Mystery Truck Murder Dude is this guy:
That's right -- Darkman.
That's Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle, better known as The Goddamn Punisher, as introduced on Netflix's second season of Daredevil. The more you think about it, the more it makes sense, or, at the very least, doesn't make you facepalm in shame. Like Captain America, The Punisher is a war veteran who fights evil the best he can, even if that means evil needs to be air-conditioned with multiple bullet holes to the face. It has been established in the comics that he's a fan of Captain America's, and his personal history dictates he wouldn't exactly be averse to black ops-oriented dudes like Nick Fury. Frank Castle is the exact kind of guy who would want to help them however he can, yet steer clear of their line of sight, because let's face it, he's wanted for like 10 million crimes. Even the modus operandi works, guys: The Netflix Punisher seems to really enjoy weaponized vehicles. The first half of the season alone sees him wreck shit with an explosive Winnebago and, it just so happens, a large truck.
As befits a guy whose Batmobile is a creepy van.
#3. All Of Stan Lee's Cameos Have Been The Same Character
Columbia Pictures/Marvel Enterprises
Stan Lee cameos in Marvel properties are like that sticky seat you keep getting in the movie theater. You should see it coming, but you're never quite prepared, and you can only hope it doesn't affect the movie too much or give you herpes.
But there are people who believe these simple cameos aren't separate, disposable characters thrown in for the sake of tradition and a quick laugh. Instead, this theory states, Lee might have been playing the same character all along: Uatu The Watcher, an immortal observer/giant Maury-episode baby character created by Lee himself.
Come to think of it, I can see the resemblance.
Uatu's whole deal is to observe everything in the Marvel Universe -- specifically, the Earth area -- unnoticed, yet all-powerful. He's like your neighbor who peeps through the blinds. Never doing more than looking, at least as far as you can tell. Stan Lee's everyman cameos all over the MCU fit that mission statement to a tee. Even though he occasionally communicates with the heroes (just like the comic version of Uatu), they never see through his unassuming disguise. What's more -- and this is important -- he isn't shackled by puny things like "character rights" and "lawyers." It's all Marvel to him, so he's just as likely to pop up in the Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four franchises as he is in his "native" MCU. Thus, Lee would essentially be a superhero that Marvel occasionally manages to sneak in Sony and Fox properties, just to flip them the bird.
Even if this were true, it's tragically unlikely to lead to a huge payoff where Stan Lee proves to be the villain of Phase 6 or whatever. Marvel have their stories mapped out for years, and by the time Thanos is out cold with a spider-boot firmly shoved up his craggy, lavender heiny, Lee will be 96 years old and thus unlikely to partake in a five-year lead up to 2024's epic Avengers And Fantastic Four And X-Men Curb-Stomp A Centenarian For Three Solid Hours. Still, I can't help but believe that at least one Marvel/Disney big-shot fully buys into this theory and quietly smiles in his whiskey whenever Fox or Sony fly Lee in to do his thing.