We have less than a week to go until “Captain America: Civil War” hits theaters, and the initial buzz is good — really, really good. The film is at 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and their review summary is exactly what many fans, I think, wanted to hear: “‘Captain America: Civil War’ begins the next wave of Marvel movies with an action-packed superhero blockbuster boasting a decidedly non-cartoonish plot and the courage to explore thought-provoking themes.”
The film is a new direction for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, pitting several of our favorite Avengers against each other in an ideological battle. Tony Stark, normally the rebel, is sobered by some of the traumas he has experienced, and he now believes there should be government oversight of super-powered heroes. He feels someone has to keep the Avengers accountable. However, Steve Rogers has seen some things too, and he no longer trusts the government he once swore to protect. He also can’t bear to betray his best friend Bucky, even though he has been transformed into the Winter Soldier. Iron Man and Captain America find themselves facing off against each other, recruiting their own teams of supporters. Friendships will be broken, and lives could maybe even be lost.
While I’m not as familiar with the original comics this film is based on (the comics are still on my must-read list!), I’m really intrigued by this storyline. Up to this point, the Avengers have been fighting outside enemies, and it will be really interesting to see what happens when they turn on each other. These heroes have been to hell and back together, and there are some genuine friendships amongst the team members. Now, everyone has to pick sides.
I also like how Marvel has framed this conflict, even though originally I would have pegged Tony as the rebel fighting against government control. However, within the context of the MCU, it really makes sense. Tony has experienced a lot since he first built the Iron Man suit, and he’s made some pretty major mistakes, such as the creation of Ultron. Also on his mind has to be the vision he experienced in “Age of Ultron,” where he saw the death of all his teammates. Tony knows firsthand what can happen when heroes get out of control. He thinks it’s time to have someone keep those heroes accountable — including himself. However, I can definitely understand the Cap’s concern about this plan. He witnessed the collapse of S.H.I.E.L.D. due to a long-range H.Y.D.R.A. plot no one saw coming until it was too late, and he’s learned the government he proudly served in World War II is maybe gone for good. He also believes his friend Bucky is not beyond redemption, a belief the government seems to disagree with.
Although I’m solidly in the Team Iron Man camp (Robert Downey Jr. is my favorite actor, and Iron Man is my favorite superhero), I can see that both heroes have some good points. “Civil War” will venture into some definite gray areas, and I’m really curious to see how this film impacts the MCU. Who will still be a member of the Avengers in the upcoming two-part Infinity War series? Will Iron Man and the Cap reconcile at the end of Civil War, or will Marvel leave things slightly ambiguous?
The one concern I have is that even though this is technically a Captain America film, it has a LOT of heroes in the cast, including some major new characters. There is a danger the film could become too busy and chaotic, and we could lose sight of the central conflict between Iron Man and the Cap. Still, my gut tells me this movie will be what I was hoping “Age of Ultron” would be last year: a darker, thought-provoking take on the MCU and a study on what happens when very powerful heroes disagree and turn those powers against each other.
So, what do you think? Are you Team Iron Man or Team Cap? Who do you think will win the conflict?