I don’t know about you but I’m excited for 2016. There’s a plethora of films that I’ve been looking forward to before they were even announced, none more anticipated than Captain America: Civil War. The extraordinarily popular Marvel crossover event by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven ran from summer 2006 all the way until winter 2007, giving collectors everywhere months’ worth of highs and lows. The series pitted the Invincible Iron Man against Captain America in an ethical battle between security and personal freedoms, with the rest of the Marvel characters being forced to choose sides.
Do you choose Iron Man’s pro-registration Avengers or Captain’s band of freedom rebels? Whose side are you on?
By the time the film comes out, the Civil War comic series will be celebrating its 10th anniversary and its effects are still being felt throughout the Marvel Comics Universe. Its massive storyline and numerous tie-ins was a phenomenal commercial success, despite mixed reviews from critics. In fact, it inspired them to attempt a repeat two years later with Secret Invasion (an arguably better storyline, but nowhere near as successful). There’s no doubt in my mind that the upcoming film adaptation will achieve comparable success this time next year.
There will be large differences between both versions of this storyline. There is no way the film can possibly play out the exact same way as the comic series did, which has its obvious pros and cons. The biggest pro is that you do not have to read the comic before you go into the film. In fact, it may actually help you submerse yourself in cinematic enjoyment as I will be too busy counting differences my first go around. (This is how Marvel breaks records; people like me pay multiple times to see the same movie because we’re that intent on spotting everything!) The biggest con is you will most likely miss some of the nuanced “Easter eggs,” sprinkled into the film to add depth and winks to the comic fans.
But you’re not completely out of luck! I’m going to quickly catch you up on the comic series and then give you my film predictions because, honestly, why not?
What happened in Civil War?
-The New Warriors star in a reality TV show where the premise surrounds teenage superheroes tracking down villains. Nitro, in this case. Nitro is a being capable of spontaneous explosions with minimal damage to himself. During the New Warriors attack on Nitro, his explosion ends up causing the deaths of over 600 people in Stamford, Connecticut. This is what the world sees as the event to spearhead superhero accountability.
-Iron Man reveals his identity as Tony Stark and heads the charge for the Superhero Registration Act. It doesn’t take long before he begins his recruitment of heroes. Captain America immediately opposes it.
-The superhero community is split down the middle, causing more friction than good. Here’s where the major players stand:
-Tony recruits Spider-Man (a now 30 year old science teacher) and convinces him to reveal his identity as Peter Parker. Parker ends up losing his job at the Daily Bugle (J. Jonah Jameson is a jerk in the comics, too, folks! Go figure.) and putting his family in danger. Stark creates the Iron Spider armor to help keep Spider-Man on his side.
-The pro-registration heroes slowly become more authoritarian and aggressive. Villains, such as The Thunderbolts, take it upon themselves to be government mercenaries, hunting down members of the rebellion. Heroes for Hire are sent after Captain America and Luke Cage.
-A major clash between the pros and antis results in the clone of Thor (a controlled weapon of Tony Stark) killing Goliath, a Young Avenger.
-Spider-Man, Spider-Woman defect and join the New Avengers. Spider-Man dons the black suit since the first time since the symbiote story.
-The anti-registration heroes have been forced into hiding and their numbers are few. To spare any more deaths, Captain America surrenders and is arrested. On the way to his cell, he is gunned down by Crossbones and dies.
-Tony Stark is placed as head of S.H.I.E.L.D., Ms. Marvel is the new leader of the Mighty Avengers.
-After Captain America’s funerals (there were three: public, private superhero, and the actual resting of his body, which Stark and Sub-Mariner were the only ones to know about), Bucky assumes the Captain title.
What you can expect from Captain America: Civil War
–The events of Avengers: Age of Ultron will resonate throughout the world. Tony Stark, with the help of Bruce Banner, took it upon himself to create A.I. with the sole purpose of keeping peace that inevitably went awry and tried to destroy humanity. The plots of the Avengers films, along with the destruction from Abomination, Malekith, and Whiplash will add together to create a government need for superhero accountability.
-None of the Avengers possess a secret identity. Everyone is known to either the public or American government, so the great hero divide will not be a registration but more of a forced government employment for all enhanced heroes. Tony, fearing his Scarlet Witch induced nightmare will come true, will most likely feel the need to atone for his crimes and take a pro stance, and Captain America will inevitably oppose.
-Who will follow suit? Here’s my predictions for where the heroes will stand:
-Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel are all wild cards at this point. Black Panther has been cast for months with the original plan being his character would take the Spider-Man role, forcing him to choose sides among colleagues. This is still the largest possibility considering Spider-Man’s casting announcement hit just a few days ago; however, they’ve already shuffled everything around for him as is, so a little more shuffling to make way wouldn’t be out of place. Captain Marvel has yet to be officially cast, so while I have no doubt they will shove her in this film once that happens, her role will be small. Combining all of that with the fact none of them have any character allegiances/bonds with anyone else on the team, there’s a chance they could all end up taking neutral stances anyway. But where’s the fun in that?
-Captain America may still die. I don’t want it to happen, you don’t want it to happen, but rumors have been floating around for more than a year that Chris Evans is retiring and someone else (most likely Sebastian Stan’s Bucky) will fill that role instead. Now Evans has since waivered on his retirement, but his six movie deal is just two away from expiring. He may die, but he also may come back.
-This is going to break the family apart permanently. Age of Ultron was the last time we saw our six cinematic Avengers be friends. Sure, there’s a good chance they’ll all fight side by side in Infinity Wars, but that will not make them friends again.
These, of course, are only speculations based solely on what I’ve seen from the films as of now. I’m sure the Russo brothers have some twists and turns in store for all of us. Either way, the film will bring in the Marvel fans, new and old, in droves.
What do you expect to see in Captain America: Civil War? Comment below!