By Joe Strange
Alright guys, Age of Ultron is over, move on, it’s time to get this gravy train rolling again.
So we’ve all seen the second outing for the Avengers at least 5 times by now, it’s time to turn to the next instalment in the MCU.
What? No, I’m not going to talk about Ant-man, damnit I keep forgetting that film is out in a few months. No, today I’m talking Captain America Civil War.
More importantly, what Marvel can do to make Civil War the amazing comic book event that we’ve all been dreaming of since the studio announced it and not, you know, terrible. So with that in mind, here are 5 things that will make Civil War really great. Or not, it might make it suck, but maybe not.
*Also, spoiler warning for Age of Ultron in number 5*
5: Cast Martin Freeman.
Freeman’s hugely popular, he’s funny, talented and would fit really well in with the cinemati- What? He got cast yesterday? NEVER MIND, START AGAIN.
5 (again): Focus on the effects of the ‘war’ at a personal level, and not just the fight between Cap and Ironman.
One of the stand out things of the Civil War story is the Reed Richards sub plot; basically, throughout the entire story Reed is so focussed on helping Tony with his crazy hair brained schemes that he begins to neglect his family (which is worsened once Johnny Storm is attacked and hospitalised) causing a lot of friction between him and his wife Sue (The Invisible Woman, can turn invisible, is a woman. It’s all there in the name).
While at first I found myself put off by the weird relationship story in my ‘superhero beatdown event’, it’s actually something the film can learn a lot from; by showing the everyday relationships that are torn apart by the conflict, we get a much more personal and relatable story, which is what we need when dealing with super powered people.
Obviously this can’t be the Fantastic Four family, but it doesn’t even have to be relationships of the romantic nature, when you think about the great friendship between Steve Rogers and Black Widow (or even Black Widow and Hawkeye) you can see how effective a focus on the way two people so close can be torn apart is in telling a more grounded story.
4: Introduce new characters, but make sure you develop them.
One of the complaints about Age of Ultron was that the new characters that were introduced (Scarlett Witch in particular) weren’t given enough time to grow in the eyes of the audience.
The plan with Civil War is to not only introduce Spiderman, but Black Panther as well (as well as rumblings of introducing Carol Danvers (Captain Marvel) into the fold too.) This will be the first outing for all three characters and to join a developed roster (which will no doubt be given a lot of screen time as it is,) they’ll need a bit more character development than Hawkeye yelling at them about how he kind of hates his job.
Now to really give the gravitas of the event that Civil War should be, there needs to be a slew of new heroes to recruit to either side, I’m not saying all of these need the sort of development that say, Hawkeye got in Age of Ultron, but if the characters that are caught up in this conflict are 2 dimensional and we find ourselves not caring about them, it’s going to take away a whole lot of lovin’ on our part, meaning that we’ll only care about the big few, and that completely voids number 5, so if this happens, it’s like Marvel never even read this article.
You hear that Marvel? I’ll bloody know!
3) Make any allegiance changes a big deal.
There’s a fair bit of side switching in Civil War, as each side makes mistakes, heroes move to the other’s camp. What this does in the story is gets the audience to question the side they’re currently backing; ‘if these heroes close to the situation change their minds, surely I could too’, and it shouldn’t be any different in the film.
The big reveal of Spiderman’s identity in the comic won’t hold as much weight in the film since this will be the first we’ll be seeing of the wall crawler, but Spiderman is the audiences ‘in’ to the story, he’s the one with the most notable side change, and if we don’t get a big focus for every switch we should definitely get one that makes us genuinely question both sides’ values they way Spidey’s did.
Really each time a hero changes sides it should feel warranted and not contrived. The audience should feel relieved when that character moves away from the side that just, say, accidentally killed a giant using a cyborg god clone. But soon they should worry that they may have made the wrong choice. It should be a rollercoaster, because at the end of the day, both sides have really valid points.
Which leads me to…
2) Don’t make either side obviously the right one.
This one’s a little difficult, with the film being a Captain America film, the obvious thing would be to make Cap’s side the one that the audience wants to win (in the comic, however, it doesn’t quite happen that way). But Marvel have a great chance to tell a story about greying morals and questionable decisions; all too often comic book movies eventually amount to ‘good guys win because they’re the good guys’. Well in this story, everyone’s a good guy to some extent (even the murdering spies), so let’s not paint one side with the ‘antagonist brush’, it’d be an insult to story telling to do so.
People should leave the cinema having questioned their siding at least 3 times, and not everyone should start off on the same side, friends should be arguing about who was right, it should have couples debating over whether what Stark did was acceptable, about whether Steve was being an idiot.
I want this film to break up relationships is what I’m saying.
5) Have Steve Rogers and Tony Stark be on the alternate side to the comics.
When the idea of Civil War was announced, it made perfect sense to have Steve on the resistance side; he’d just dealt with Hydra being SHIELD, his greatest enemy was the organisation he was working for; he was in no place to trust authority, and with Ultron on the horizon it made sense that Tony would be feeling remorse for the events of releasing an AI onto the world, and begin to feel accountable for his actions, and the actions of the super community in general.
Only, with the ending of Age of Ultron we see Tony drive off into the sunset, and Steve assembling a new team of Avengers, clearly with the idea of doing things the right way, with full disclosure and no secret AI development schemes.
We’ve also seen that Tony is reluctant to work with the government (it took a drunken Ironman fistfight to get him to give up one of his suits to his best friend, let alone the authorities) and so him backing the super hero registration act (or accountability act, if that’s the angle they end up going) seems a little off, especially since he’s probably the most suspicious of these sorts of things.
Of course, it might be that now Tony has some down time he’ll have de-paranoided, and it makes sense for Captain America to be the one to go off radar (he’s friends with Fury and Bucky, who are both underground).
So really, that one could go either way, but the comic Tony Stark and Robert Downy Stark are quite different, with the latter more likely to give the government the finger before being all ‘SECRET AVENGERS ASSEMBLE’.
So that’s that, what do you think? What do you guys think would make Civil War better? Do you agree with the above points, leave a comment below!