6 Reasons Why I Think ‘Civil War’ is Perfect for the Marvel Movieverse
I liked Mark Millar’s Civil War. It wasn’t perfect, there were parts I didn’t like, and it left a bad taste in a lot of fandoms’ mouths, but overall, and especially in hindsight, I liked Civil War. I’m not ashamed to admit it, nor am I embarrassed to have read it. Civil War was a pretty insane comic book endeavor, but it’s also probably the best Marvel Big Event of the past decade.
So when Marvel Studios announced that Captain America 3 was going to be Captain America: Civil War, I was absolutely thrilled!
I hope I’m not the only one. But reading around the web, I see a lot of people freaking out over the choice of Civil War. I understand that a lot of comic book fans apparently hated the story. By all means, everybody’s entitled to their opinions. But hating a comic book that came out nearly a decade ago and worrying that Marvel Studios is making a mistake are two very different things. I think Civil War is the perfect storyline going forward, and if you’ll join me after the jump, I’ll tell you why.
First, a little back story.
For those who don’t know, Civil War was a big Marvel Comics storyline from 2006 that pit superhero against superhero. After a major disaster involving a bunch of untrained heroes, the U.S. Government decided to crack down on the hundreds of superheroes running around fighting crime. They passed a law demanding that all costumed vigilantes register with the government and reveal their secret identities. Iron Man opted to join the government for the betterment of society, but Captain America decided that he wasn’t going to sacrifice liberty for security, and he started a resistance movement.
The story was all about Cap and his team of rebels fighting Iron Man and his team of pro-government heroes. In the end, Iron Man and the government won, but that was only the start of even more trouble.
6. The basic premise is solid and entertaining
When you get right down to the bare bones of it, Civil War is about one very simple, entertaining concept: superheroes fighting superheroes. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good super-villain slugfest as much as the next guy, but there have now been dozens upon dozens of superhero movies where the hero punches the villain until they win. This is how superhero movies (and really, all movies) have been made since at least the 70s. I can still remember the Batman movies in the 80s/90s, where the whole point was getting to see which new villain Batman would fight. Super-villains are expected.
So why not do the unexpected?
Civil War is about a moral argument where both sides are right, in their own way. It’s the perfect excuse to pit your heroes against one another without either one turning into an outright villain. Not only that, but it’s a theme that would resonate hugely in today’s torn political world, where half the country seems to be Democrat and half the county seems to be Republican. Some audience members could be pro-registration, some could be anti-registration. Could you imagine the marketing that could come out of that? Watch the movie and support your favorite hero! That sort of ad campaign writes itself.
Civil War is an interesting and very unexpected direction to take the Movieverse, and I don’t know about you, but I love watching interesting and unexpected movies.
5. It does not have to be a literal adaptation
Civil War in the comics was a mess. Yes, you had the very basic idea of Iron Man and his people vs. Captain America and his people, but there was just soooo much more going on. There was Spider-Man and his decision to reveal his identity with Iron Man, and then his decision to change his mind and join Cap. There were the Thunderbolts and Iron Man’s plan to turn super-villains into government operatives. The Young Avengers were a pretty big deal at the time. The Punisher was going through a revival. Then you had the evil clone of Thor, the death of Goliath, and, really, everything just got out of hand.
Well guess what? None of that has to happen in the movie adaptation.
Have superhero movies ever actually been adaptations? Sure, there are references and influences thrown around left and right. God Loves, Man Kills was a big influence on X2: X-Men United. And obviously Captain America: The Winter Soldier owes a lot to the Winter Soldier storyline in the comics. But none of the big comic book movies have been an actual adaptation of any comic book storyline. So all of that complicated crap that bogged down the comic book Civil War? Consider it gone!
The only thing that should carry over is the central conflict of hero vs. hero, specifically Iron Man vs. Captain America. And that central conflict is a perfect fit for the Marvel Movieverse.
4. The storyline fits
The government has always been a major player in the Marvel Movieverse. Tony Stark was already answering to Congress by the second Iron Man movie, and the military was out to get the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk. President Ellis has made multiple appearances now across several movies now. And you can’t discount S.H.I.E.L.D.’s overpowering presence in the entire narrative (mediocre TV show aside). Fact is, superheroes being answerable to the government or a government-esque agency has been in the cards since the very beginning.
Heck, a central premise of The Avengers was that Nick Fury was haphazardly putting together a team of superheroes to handle the world’s problems while the Security Council wanted something better and more controllable.
So the idea of the government wanting to crack down on all these superheroes running around makes a heck of a lot of sense. Marvel has already said that Civil War won’t deal with secret identities, since none of the characters are maintaining a secret identity, but the question of registration and government control has already been a central theme of the Movieverse. It’s a natural evolution of the ongoing narrative.
3. The characters fit
It’s a natural evolution of the characters as well, especially Tony Stark. He’s come a long way since the first film, and his personal trajectory – especially through Avengers: Age of Ultron – should perfectly place him in a pro-registration camp. We don’t yet know all the details about The Avengers 2, but we do know that Tony Stark invents Ultron as a means of turning his Iron Man armors into drones for the world’s crime-fighting needs. When that goes monumentally bad, Tony is going to be racked with guilt, so it would make perfect sense for him to side with the government in favor of more superhero accountability. Tony went off on his own from the very beginning, flaunting his power in front of Congress in Iron Man 2. But now he’s learned a very personal lesson and has become a changed man. It doesn’t make him a villain, it just means he’s learned something important.
Civil War would represent a very natural, very understandable evolution for Tony Stark.
Likewise, Steve Rogers already made his opinion clear in The Winter Soldier. When introduced to S.H.I.E.L.D.’s expansive weapons program, he looked Nick Fury in the eye and told him what he thought about so much security. Captain America then spent the rest of the move dismantling S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA. When faced with the possibility of trying to salvage S.H.I.E.L.D., Cap turned that idea down, stating that both organizations would have to come to an end. Steve is absolutely against government control, and would be against registration.
As for everybody else? I’m sure Marvel will find a place for them. I could see Hulk and Black Widow joining Stark, and Thor and Hawkeye joining Cap. Then you’ve got all the new and secondary characters like War Machine, Winter Soldier, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Panther and the like. There are plenty of heroes to fill both sides.
2. Character conflict makes for good movies
I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise to anybody, but the fight against the aliens was not the best part of The Avengers (though it was pretty amazing). The Avengers, and, in fact, most Marvel movies, are about the characters and their relationships to one another, not necessarily about the fight against the villain. Guardians of the Galaxy was the same way. The movie wasn’t about fighting Ronan the Accuser, he was just there to drive the plot. Both The Avengers and Guardians were all about the teams and how the characters bantered and butted heads. That’s a large reason for why those movies are so good!
Let DC and SONY make movies that just check off which Batman or Spider-Man villain shows up next. Marvel makes movies that focus on their heroes.
And its this interpersonal conflict that would drive Civil War like no movie before it. Remember when Tony Stark and Steve Rogers immediately didn’t like each other? It wasn’t the biggest part of the movie, but the aggressive meeting laid the groundwork for all of the characters butting heads. Watching the two of them put aside their differences to team up and save the world was a highlight of the The Avengers. So watching all of that teamwork come crashing down around them as their personal ideals and beliefs come to the forefront would make for some great conflict.
And great character conflict makes for great movies.
1. I have complete faith in Marvel Studios
I have loved and enjoyed every single Marvel superhero movie so far, without fail. Movie after movie, they have knocked it out of the park, with each one better than the last. So yeah, I have complete faith in Marvel to turn Captain America: Civil War into their next blockbuster. Some people out there in Internetland are already worried that Marvel is going to collapse under the weight of their own hubris. And that’s fine. Those are probably valid views and talking points.
But I don’t care. I love superhero movies, and you better believe I’m going to see all 40+ of them over the next 5 years.
This is a basic point, but it’s one I make to myself in all the imaginary discussions I have in my head: there are always going to be movies. That’s kind of how Hollywood works.
Take, for example, Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow this past summer. There was zero reason why that movie had to be made, other than Hollywood’s desire to pump out action movies. And there will be hundreds more Edges of Tomorrows until the end of time, because that’s what Hollywood does. So if there are always going to be movies, why not leave those movies in the hands of a company with an awesome stable of characters and a proven track record for making awesome movies?
Granted, if the Marvel movies ever go the way of Batman and Robin, then by all means, let’s call it quits. But as long as Marvel keeps making good to great movies, then why should we begin to doubt them?
I don’t. Which is how I know Civil War is going to be great!
What do you henchies think? Is Captain America: Civil War going to be as big a train wreck as the comics? Or is it the natural evolution of the Movieverse? Let me know in the comments!
Posted on November 5, 2014, in Avengers, Comics, Lists of Six!, Marvel, Movies and tagged Captain America, Captain America 3, Captain America: Civil War, Civil War, Iron Man, Marvel Movieverse, Steve Rogers, Tony Stark. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.