Captain America: Civil War... Tempering Expectations
written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
It’s been quite the whirlwind promoting this movie, aside from introducing Black Panther before his standalone film, the next MCU project will also give to the greater MCU a Spider-Man to finally stand side by side with the rest of the Avengers. But as a fan of the original comic book, I feel that this article needs to be written. While it holds the same name as the beloved comic book event, there is much we as the comic book fan need to understand before going into this. So to better temper expectations, let’s touch on some elements of the comic book that I surmise cannot happen in the film.
Now, I assume you have read Civil War already, but if you haven’t then please be aware that this article will be heavily littered with spoilers.
The Superhero Registration Act and Secret Identities
While in the comics, some heroes have their identities known… the MCU is a different beast all together. Tony Stark outed himself as Iron Man in his first movie, Steve Rogers has a museum built to his name. The people know who these heroes are, and while there are a select few who are a bit more secretive like Ant-Man (save for his family and inner circle) and Daredevil, the core Avengers lineup is fairly out in the open.
The call for registering superheroes and essentially making them glorified super powered cops, complete with a badge and a paycheck, stemmed from the aftermath of hundreds of innocent lives lost when the New Warriors (a group of young heroes) fought a group of super-villains near an elementary school, causing Nitro (one of the villains) to use his power out of desperation. This killed the New Warriors but also left hundreds dead… including a school full of children.
While it seems like they can adapt some parts of the story for the MCU, much of it will need adjustments. They can call for better checks and balances for the cape-and-cowled crowd, though the call for outing their secret identities I feel will not weigh heavily on the story… with my next point zeroing in on one main bit of narrative…
The Unmasking of Spider-Man
In Civil War, one of the major turning points in favor of Tony Stark’s side of the argument was when Peter Parker chose to take off the mask… telling the whole world that he has been Spider-Man since his days at Midtown High. Spidey has been one of the Marvel Universe’s most staunch advocates for the secret identity, knowing and understanding that this knowledge can be used by his enemies to target the people he loves. The fact that he stood by the Superhero Registration Act sent ripples across the Super Community.
Now, we know Spidey will be in Captain America: Civil War before Sony (again) reboots the property for another (ugh) series of films. They cast Tom Holland to play this latest incarnation of Spider-Man, meaning that unlike the seasoned hero Spidey was in the comic… instead we get a younger early-in-his-superhero-career Spidey… making the unmasking scene that much more unlikely.
Among his peers (in the comics), Spider-Man guarded his secret identity with fierce tenacity, even keeping it secret from trusted allies. The likelihood that there will be some kind of unmasking feels slim. They could switch Daredevil out, since he too is a MCU hero with a secret identity, but that just feels like grasping at straws and one path that I personally hope they don’t go down.
Thor is Alive, So No Mecha-Thor
A turning point for both sides, Tony Stark and Hank Pym develop an android Thor in a hope to tip the scales in their favor. While the true God of Thunder seems to be absent from much of the film trailers and I’ve heard zero word if Chris Hemsworth will even be in the movie, the possibility of Mecha-Thor seems slim.
In the original comic, Tony and Hank miscalculated how well they can control Mecha-Thor. In the middle of a large battle, Mecha-Thor kills Bill Foster, creating a vacuum on both sides of the conflict with members from both Tony and Steve’s camp defecting to the other.
If they did a major character death it will be a surprise. Showing War Marchine seemingly dead in the trailers leads me to believe that he will survive. You don’t kill a character and show it off in the trailers. As far as a Mecha-Hero, they do have a dead Avenger in Quicksilver. If Tony does create a Mecha-Hero, it most likely will be Quicksilver. Given the members of Team Cap (Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch) this could prove to be a major dick move on Tony’s part.
Less of a Civil War and More Like A Civil Dispute
While the events of the original comic took place in a fully fleshed out Marvel Universe, the MCU is quit a bit smaller than that. Aside from the characters who reside in the television and Netflix series (characters who seem unlikely to show up in the movie) The modern MCU is light on characters. Sure with Captain America: Civil War we are getting Spidey and Black Panther to make their MCU debut, the cast is much to small to recreate some of the epic battles from the comic.
Also, with the cast of villains even more so light I highly doubt we’ll see a scene much like when Tony Stark contracted some of the Marvel Universe’s baddies in an act of desperation to bolster his ranks.
The separation of teams also seems unlikely. While at its core, this splits the Avengers right down the middle, one of the more gut-wrenching scenes from the comic was when Sue and Johnny Storm left the Fantastic 4. The American Civil War pit brother against brother, the division of the Fantastic 4 fit this comparison better than any split among the ranks of the Avengers.
I know it won’t be the same and while the film may borrow some elements from the comic of the same name… this isn’t going to be the huge Civil War adaptation comic fans crave. This isn’t a bad thing mind you, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been fantastic. Even films like Iron Man 3 (I have been adamant about my disdain for it) are masterpieces compared to garbage superhero films like Man of Steel and Fantastic 4. So in tempering my expectations a bit, I feel I’m ready to take this film for what it is… it may not be “my” Civil War but it will still be a heck of a lot of fun.