We’re two and a half months away from the Civil War that will shake Marvel’s cinematic universe to its core. Another trailer has just been released with tantalising hints of what to expect. The lines have been drawn and we know who’s fighting whom. The question is, which side are you on?
The Civil War graphic novel is one of my favourite of Marvel’s crossovers from the last 15 years, and I think that it’s success was largely founded on that one question. To get Civil War right in the cinemas, you need to be able to answer that question with either ‘Cap’ or ‘Iron Man’ and have valid reasons from the film to support your answer. That’s the beauty of this story. There is no black or white, no good versus evil, only grey ambiguity.
If the film is made well, then there will be atrocities committed by the heroes on both sides of the war, and there will be acts of enormous goodness as well. This storyline, more than many others in Marvel’s history, has the power to strike deep emotional chords with the audience. If this film is done well, then us watching it will be forced to feel, and forced to think.
At the moment, the general consensus that I can see in my online circles is that #TeamCap is the way to go. In the trailers so far, Captain America definitely comes across as more of the traditional hero, fighting for freedom and for the downtrodden. I’ll freely admit that I find myself leaning towards Cap as well!
But I’m still waiting to see what shape the other side in this war will take. What will define #TeamIronMan? In the comics, Iron Man’s heroes are all about protecting the public, and fighting in the light of day rather than in the shadows, behind masks. Importantly, their cause is sparked by a single tragic event that forces Tony Stark to confront the pain that the Avengers’ heroism has inadvertently caused. There is a part of me that this resonates with, as I think it will resonate with many other people if it comes across in the movie.
Ultimately, Civil War brings the very nature of justice and heroism into question. The fact of the matter is that the men and women on both sides of the war are heroes. Up to this point, we’ve seen them fighting alongside one another against threats like Loki, the Chitauri, and Ultron. But that’s not to say that the seeds of Civil War haven’t been planted. I called a Civil War film after watching the first Avengers film (it’s there on my Twitter somewhere if you don’t believe me!) because the tension between Captain America and Iron Man was there even then, and it was a tension born out of their definitions of what being a hero is.
In short, I am very excited for this film. I honestly think it could be the best Marvel Studios film yet. And most of all, I’m looking forward to not being able to answer the question I’ve asked in the title.
Oh, and Spider-Man’s coming to the Marvel universe.