WARNING: Though this is a speculative article, it does contain information about the Civil War storyline found in the comics. Reader discretion is advised.
When it comes to superhero movies, Marvel has been running a very successful game plan. The first Avengers movie was a grand act of drama, having multiple characters share screen time both in and out of battle. But these characters didn’t just drop from the sky. They were fleshed out with their own films, letting the audience come to know them individually before putting them together against an enemy none of them could match alone. It was and is a smart idea.
But Marvel seems to be aiming for an even greater milestone now: the Civil War event. This comic book event, if successfully adapted, could elevate Marvel’s status from “King of Superhero Movies” to “God of Superhero Movies.” It has the potential to return the comic book film to being a game-changer in an actor’s career (aka Christopher Reeves and the Superman films). It has the potential. But, in this case, I think Marvel has bitten off more than they can chew.
What is the Civil War comic event? Well, it all starts with a battle between the superhuman team New Warriors and the villain Nitro. It does not end well: most of the team is killed along with six hundred civilians. The resulting backlash causes the government to initiate the Superhuman Registration Act, a policy requiring all superheroes to reveal their true identities and submit to government control.
This, of course, is a problem: the whole reason for secret identities is to protect the superheroes and their loved ones from danger. On the other hand, young superheroes could benefit from additional training and resources from the government, preventing atrocities before they happen.
The superhero community splits off into two factions: one led by Iron Man (favoring the Registration) and the other by Captain America (against the Act). Two friends have now become enemies.
I just don’t see it. Iron Man and Captain America radiate a lot of hatred and hostility in the comics. But there’s no such animosity between the movie characters. Sure, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark butts heads with Chris Evans’ Captain America frequently in the first Avengers film, but hardly to the degree where their personal ideologies compromise their friendship in such a massive way.
But my concerns do not end there. They also include Spider-Man.
Spider-Man is the perfect choice for a team-up movie. Hell, he’s teamed up with every other Marvel hero. But he never showed up for The Avengers or X-Men because Sony Entertainment owns the rights to the character. But now, negotiations between Sony and Marvel have finally borne fruit. Spider-Man is rumored to make his official entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War.
So what’s the catch? The entire Spidey franchise will be rebooted. No Tobey Maguire, no Andrew Garfield. As far as Marvel’s concerned, their movies never happened. This will be a new Peter Parker. Without a debut movie to endear this new Spider-Man to audiences, I fear Spidey will never emerge from the shadows of the other Marvel heroes.
Marvel has been smart with its movies. Its characters were allowed room to develop into their own individual champions before uniting them to defeat a common enemy. It made their interactions both in and out of battle all the more real and rewarding. But now, it seems Marvel’s hand has been overplayed with the looming Civil War, forcing animosity that simply isn’t there as well as reducing a beloved character in a throwaway role simply for the cameo. Unfortunately, only time will tell if this will blow up in their faces.
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