While it hasn’t been too long since the last comic book movie came out (Fantastic Four – just as bad as everyone said it was), cinema release schedules have been refreshingly superhero-free of late. Enjoy it while it lasts – we’re just in the eye of the storm. Marvel and DC have their slates planned up to 2020. The bubble isn’t bursting any time soon.
So here we have it – the long awaited trailer for Captain America: Civil War that is set to kick-off the next phase of Marvel’s grand plan to obtain all the money in the world. And it looks… alright, I guess.
As some of you may know, Civil War is based (extremely) loosely on the 2006-2007 comic book run of the same name, in which an impressive roster of Marvel characters have a series of massive punch-ups. After a school is destroyed during a clash between super-powered heroes and villains, the government imposes the Superhuman Registration Act – legislation that requires all superheroes to register their real identities and become employed by the US. This divides the spandex-clad community into those who are for the act – led by Iron Man, and those who are against it – led by Captain America. The main bone of contention in this narrative is that the act requires heroes with secret identities to unmask themselves, which has significant ramifications for a number of characters.
While we can safely assume that much of the exceptionally weird stuff that happens in the comics (which included Mr Fantastic creating and insane clone of Thor that straight up murders one of the rebel superheroes) won’t make it into the movie, it’s at least clear that Civil War will follow the same basic lines.
When we last saw the super-friends, Captain America was leading a new team of Avengers, the Hulk was in self-imposed exile, Thor had gone off to be in his own movie and Iron Man had buggered off to do… something. Picking off presumably sometime after the events of Age of Ultron, the international community – quite reasonably – gets a bit fed up with the Avengers leveling cities across the globe (the Hulk going mental in the fictional African nation of Wakanda will be significant – more on that later) and insists that the Avengers be made accountable to a governing body. This doesn’t sit too well with the Captain for some reason – most likely because of Hydra infiltrating SHIELD in the Winter Soldier – and causes a rift between him and Iron Man, who is all for the Act… despite that being totally out of character.
What follows is pure conjecture, but it seems that some other disaster happens – potentially a terrorist attack carried out by new villain Crossbones – in which the Captain’s childhood friends turned brainwashed-emo-Russian-mercenary, Bucky, is implicated. This probably leads to Iron Man’s team of newly government mandated Avengers hunting him down the Winter Soldier while Captain America and his backing singers try to stop them and find out what is really going on. Cue super-powered punch ups and more bromances than you can shake a stick at.
There are a lot of plates spinning here – mainly because there are so many bloody characters. Pretty much all of the original Avengers are returning – with the exception of Thor… presumably because whichever side he chose would win. The new team is predictably divided, with Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Anthony Mackie’s Falcon naturally allying with Iron Man and Captain America respectively. Placing Vision (is it ‘Vision’ or ‘The Vision’?) and Scarlett Witch on opposite sides is intriguing – given that they will probably become romantically involved if story follows the comics – but realistically this is because they effectively balance each other.
Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man is set to show up and help Cap and Falcon at some point, and the Hulk is apparently meant to make an appearance, but it remains unclear if they’ll stick around for the whole movie. There are rumours of cameos from Daredevil from the (brilliant) Netflix series and possibly Marvel’s newly reacquired (sort of) Spider-Man. Civil War will also be introducing Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther ahead of the character’s stand-alone movie in 2018. There’s going to be a lot going on and I’m not entirely convinced it can all fit adequately into one movie.
I think that Marvel may have bitten off a bit more than they can chew for this one. I mean Civil War has to follow on from the events of Age of Ultron, wrap up the story arc from Winter Soldier, handle an extremely large cast of characters – including ones that have only just been introduced, and probably name drop the Infinity Stones at some point. All that while trying to keep the playful tone and sense of humour that sets it apart from DC and their grim-grey-grit-fests. To my mind, the reason why the Marvel Cinematic Universe is so successful is because Marvel and Disney usually don’t rush themselves… In this case though, I’m worried they’re doing a bit much a bit too soon.