WARNING SPOILERS: Kicking off Phase 3 of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is Captain America: Civil War, the movie is really an Avenger’s movie involving most of the Avengers except Thor and the Hulk who will star in the movie Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017. It copies the title of a series done in the Marvel comics back in 2006–2007. “Civil War” is a Marvel Comics crossover story line built around a seven-issue limited series of the same name written by Mark Millar and penciled by Steve McNiven, which ran through various other titles published by Marvel at the time. Commercially the series, Civil War is one of the biggest industry hits of the past decades, with four of its issues in the Top 10 bestselling comic books of the 21st century.
While the story is not the same as Millar’s epic story, it does revolve around the differences between Captain America and Iron Man. The government wants to control the actions of the growing presence of super powered beings in the world. In the comic series it was about the Government Registration Act to reveal their true identity to the authorities and then undergo proper training. Those who sign also have the option of working for S.H.I.E.L.D., earning a salary and benefits such as those earned by other American civil servants. Iron Man is in favor of the government registration of superheros and Captain America wants freedom from government restrictions. People die and lives are changed with many in the superhero community having to pick sides.
In Civil war the movie the U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) informs the Avengers that the United Nations is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish an international governing body to oversee and control the Avengers and stop the destruction and deaths that seems to follow when they act to save the world from acts of aggression to humanity. Iron Man is feeling guilty from the deaths in New York, Sokovia, Washington D.C. and other places, agrees to the restrictions, but Captain America says that the Avengers must have the freedom to act quickly to stop world threats without checking with a U.N. committee to see if action would be justified. All the Avengers are split with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) joined by Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Vision (Paul Bettany), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Black Panther (T’Challa) who was played by Chadwick Boseman, he joins Tony Stark or Iron Man when he is presented evidence that his father was killed by Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier. Tony also recruits Peter Parker (Tom Holland) who has developed superpowers as Spider-Man in the last six months. Parker will help if he can get away from doing his home work as a high school student.
Then on the other side is Captain America (Chris Evans) joined by Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Sam Wilson / Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Clint Barton / Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Scott Lang / Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). Anthony Russo (Co-Director) said Captain America’s character arc in the film is taking “him from the most ra-ra company man” to someone who is “a somewhat willing propagandist, and by the end of the third film he’s an insurgent.” Evans added, “It’s exciting to see a guy who’s as optimistic and as selfless as Steve be met with letdown, betrayal, frustration, and selfishness. There are events and people in his life that test him — that challenge him and force him to reevaluate who he is and what he wants out of life.” There are Good points in both sides and unfortunately there is no real resolution in the film.
Tony Stark / Iron Man who is leader of the Avengers who accepts the governments position of control over their actions. Anthony Russo also shared that Stark’s egomania allowed the writers “to bring him to a point in his life where he was willing to submit to an authority, where he felt it was the right thing to do.” Joe Russo added that because of the visions Stark saw in Age of Ultron, he now has a “guilty complex” which “drives him to make very specific decisions,” calling his emotional arc “very complicated”. The film did a great job of developing the character traits and helping us know how they all became Avengers and what makes them tick.
The appearance of Spider-Man some people are saying was unnecessary and did not add to the whole story. Perhaps they are right but it was a great gimps of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man and added to the fandom of Marvel’s most popular superhero. And this will fill the theaters when the first solo Spider-Man comes to the big screen. They ended Civil War with a great post credit clip showing Peter Parker shining in his room a hand held projector with a great Spider-Man emblem no doubt made by Tony Stark as a thank you for participating in the fight between the two teams of Avengers. Also one of the biggest thrills in that fight was the appearance of Giant Man in the battle at the airport by Paul Rudd who plays Ant-Man. It caught everybody by surprise and was a well kept secret by directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.
The directors the Russo brothers did a great job delivering the story to film for the most part except for a little shaky camera in the fight to capture a renegade Winter Soldier early in the movie. They more than made up for it with the shot of the movie in the last fight with the classic slow motion shot of Captain America standing with his shield blocking the sparks from the attack of Iron Man. This is a copy of the seventh issue Steve McNiven cover in the comic story by Mark Millar. It was climatic event that told the story of two friends that could not resolve their differences till one wins over the other.
Life is never easy when conflict comes and it reveals what humans are made of and Civil War is polarizing movie that pits friend against friend and kind of overwhelms the other story about the villain Colonel Helmut Zemo. Zemo is Sokovian and wants to punish the Avengers for the death of his family by turning them against each other. He is instrumental in the bomb that kills T’Challa’s father and frames the Winter Soldier for the death. Zemo kills Barnes’ old Hydra handler and steals a book containing the trigger words that command the Winter Soldier’s obedience. He infiltrates the Berlin facility where Barnes is held and recites the words to activate Barnes’ brainwashing. Barnes is sent on a rampage, but Rogers stops him and sneaks him away. When Barnes regains his senses, he explains that Zemo is heading for the Siberian Hydra facility where the other Winter Soldiers are kept in cryogenic stasis. If Zemo takes control of them, he could wreak untold havoc. After the fight at the airport all but Captain America and Bucky Barnes escape with the help Black Widow who has mixed feelings about fighting on Iron Man’s side. The rest of the Captain America team are captured and Cap and Bucky head to the Siberian Hydra facility to stop Zemo.
The personalization of the players in this Civil War helps us empathize with the characters and what they are feeling and the intensity of their position. With 12 others movies Civil War is part of the puzzle of the greater whole that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The direction of Marvel Entertainment is to tell a story arc about the rich history of comic characters of the last 70 years. Piece by piece and movie by movie they have put together a Marvel mosaic that has something for just about everyone. Doctor Strange makes its debut in the fall of 2016, with Benedict Cumberbatch to reveal the mystic Marvel world. Then we visit Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017 somewhere in outer space. Then we come back to earth with Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 28, 2017. It took years of negotiating, but Marvel and Sony finally reached a deal to bring Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, back home in the Marvel Universe. Then Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017 followed by Black Panther – February 16, 2018 and then The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018.
The map that leads to Marvel success is clear and is a hard act to follow and match by other studios because it filled with rich stories that point to good movies that tell a great story that has it roots in a one time small comic company that was led by the likes of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and many others, Marvel Comics. That comic vision has come to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and we can all enjoy it. Stay tuned as we look at the comic world at Comics Talk and inform you what it is about. Walt Stiles