A Casual Overview of Civil War.

As a casual movie-goer and fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: Civil War definitely lived up to my carefully moderated hype. I didn’t put it on a pedestal like Fallout 4 or Deadpool, I simply kept it in the back of my head, watching a trailer here and there or reading a few posts on Reddit. I find that with Marvel films that’s all you really can do, because at the rate they’re churning out these blockbusters, if allowed, it can entirely consume the obsessive part of your brain. And that’s where I’m writing this overview from: a fairly objective place, with little hype and almost no outside knowledge of the comics, just a few hours after a midnight screening (GMT).

Disclaimer: in my eagerness to write this so soon after the English midnight screening of Civil War, I overlooked the fact that the film isn’t out yet in most other countries. For example, the movie will be released in America on May 6th, so I apologise and in advance will warn of spoilers in this post.

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Let me just touch on how wrong my assumption for the arc of this film actually was. After seeing some announcements and a few trailers, while also with zero knowledge of the comics, I wrongly assumed that the main plot-points of the film would hit these lines:

  • Something goes wrong with The Avengers (death, civilian casualties etc.)
  • There’d be a disagreement and the contract/registry would be brought up.
  • Cap and Iron Man would lead their teams from the point of disagreement.
  • We’d see a few switches in teams.
  • The two teams’ aggression ultimately culminates to a fight, but before a winner could be decided, a larger threat emerges.
  • The once-friends-turned-enemies are once again friends after the realisation they’re stronger together, fighting the greater good.

My prediction was correct in its early stages, but towards the end it became a lot less accurate. The way the teams were formed, the motives, the interactions, everything ended up so much better than on screen. The only thing I am understandable of is the pacing, there are more superheroes on screen in Civil War than I think there has ever been in any superhero movie. So the fact that some character’s stories seemed hurried up in an effort to get them in the fight with enough momentum to seem relevant is a justified matter – Particularly as there’s a reliance on having seen the previous films, or perhaps some of the upcoming ones.

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One of those characters to have an upcoming movie is Spider-Man (Homecoming). I was talking to the guy next to me in the cinema and he said that Spider-Man’s part was technically categorised as a cameo, which if true would explain his small amount of screen-time. He didn’t just bring the millennial nerdiness or extra comic relief to Civil War though; he’s also  a great example of how huge a snowball the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become. Back in 2008 I had no idea it would reach the level it has, featuring the actors and superheroes it does today. I’m sure Stan Lee did, but I’m also sure Stan Lee wishes he’d sorted out the film rights for all these Marvel characters so they weren’t such a tangled mess nearly a decade on. Regardless of that, I thought Spider-Man was a great addition and had a really awesome debut; as soon as I saw ‘Queens’ show up I knew we were about to see something very memorable happen in the Marvel universe.

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However, it wasn’t just The Spiderling who brought comedy to Civil War, Ant-Man, Falcon and even Bucky all had their moments. I’m not too familiar with which characters are featured or how big of a role they play in the comic, but Bucky’s part was huge. He’s the golden snitch everyone is chasing for one reason or another and the differing story arcs really stress his importance. I personally love how brutal he is, in all aspects, and even after all this time I still feel sympathy for him when someone else is in control. Easily my favourite part of his inclusion was the dynamic he added between Stark and Rogers. Cap has to choose between his former best-friend turned psychopathic controller and his life-long, misunderstood brother, what a conflict that is, and it definitely showed. I was rooting for him and… Team America (?) the whole way through. I wanted to see Stark get killed or decommissioned, I wanted Cap to succeed and I wanted Bucky to get his retribution for all the things that weren’t really his fault. Fuck Iron Man. Okay, I understand that he saw footage of his parents get killed and had a clear sight on the murderer, it’s an understandable reaction, especially in a superhero movie, but I’m so glad the film concluded the way it did.

To summarise their three arcs: Tony Stark got his reality check, The Winter Soldier got his redemption, Captain America got to follow his gut and I got to see all three of them beat the ever-loving shit out of each other.

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I’ve kept it brief and I hope it’s been at least a moderately interesting read. I can’t give you a lot in regard to backstory, or correlation to the comics, but I can give you my own critical opinion and justification. Though I do have questions, lots of them, particularly in regard to Captain America: Civil War’s end. Simply put, is that it for their conflict? From where Civil War ended it looked like that could have easily wrapped up The Avengers’ storyline on a bad writing day, but we still have Infinity War parts 1 and 2. I’ll make another fairly blind assumption in that: within either Infinity War or a lead-up to it, there will in fact be a greater enemy that The Avengers must reunite to fight. Of course, that’s likely to be Thanos, though wouldn’t that make Civil War redundant if all that happens is the gang gets back together?

From what I can find, we have a Spider-Man film coming next year titled Homecoming, along with Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians vol. 2. Perhaps we’ll see the beginnings of Thanos and The Avengers’ relationship begin during Ragnarok? If you can answer any of my questions, or have any explanations/amendments to make about my overview, please don’t hesitate to correct me. How well did the film correlate to the comics? Where were Thor and Hulk? Is Iron Man now retired, again? So many questions, so much potential for obsession, I guess I’ll do one of two things: wait another year for a new instalment, or scour the universe for my truths.

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Five Things The ‘Age Of Ultron’ Trailer Suggests

As most residents of the internet now know, the newest instalment of The Avengers franchise, Age of Ultron, has recently had its first teaser trailer leaked, roughly a week before it’s schedule display during the advert break of the TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. While the rest of the internet are recovering from the early Christmas present Marvel have given us, I thought it’d be a great idea to go over 5 key things the trailer suggests about the film, set for release in May of 2015. Possible spoilers may be ahead, but I’m merely speculating from the scenes shown in the trailer.

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Is This The End? – A break in any team is always inevitable, whether it’s a band, group of friends, or in this case a team of world-class superheroes with the vision of protecting Earth as we know it. Regardless of their motives, it seems like The Avengers are slipping, they’re being faced with enemies such as a Hulkbuster suit which is double the size of The Hulk, and an army commanded by Ultron, an AI created by Tony Stark, which then cut the strings placed by his puppet master.

Tony has no issue letting the team know that he thinks “This is the end… The end of the path I stared us on”, only to be told by the Black Widow that “Nothing lasts forever”. Could it be the always dramatic Tony Stark? Or a hint towards the team’s disbandment? Maybe it’s just Tony Stark being distant, as there is a scene where Captain, Widow, Bruce and Thor are present in what seems to be a jet, with a chair empty, maybe showing that Tony keeps running off with his own issues.

There was also signs of The Hulk being very emotional, both touching The Black Widow  by going full “Tarzan and Jane” mode and possibly having a tear roll down his face in a previously released screenshot of the film, just before he’s about to fight, could this be The Hulk feeling sentiment towards Natasha’s death? I don’t know, but I do know that the last thing I’d want in my superhero team is a pissed off green monster who literally cannot die.

All of these things hint towards a falling out between the team, and what better place for this falling out to take place than during the Superhero Civil War storyline which is set to be play out during Captain America 3.

The Aging Of Ultron – Simply put, Ultron is a robot, or even a style of puppet. He was created by Tony Stark for use in The S.H.I.E.L.D’s operations, but as Stark reached his 5th iteration of Ultron, it became independent and was able to evolve and grow as an entity.

Ultron has many forms, not so much forms as in shape-shifting, but more so how humans grow; fetus, baby, infant, teenager, adult, elder. Our first sight of Ultron is presumably in his first form; he is being shown off to the team by Stark and is no more than scraps and pieces from older Iron Man suits. He proceeds by hobbling forward and breaking the ‘skull’ of the 4th (04) version of Ultron.

He then evolves, no one knows exactly how he will in the film, or into what different appearances, but it is obvious he goes from being an Iron Man clone, to altering his appearance (Perhaps by use of lava, as seen in the early scenes of the trailer) to look more futuristic and menacing. Thus proving that Ultron will be ever-growing throughout the film, so if fans aren’t particularly fond of baby Ultron, they can wait a while and see how he looks as a teenager, rebelling from his parents and taking over the entire planet.

Worthy Foes For The Avengers – The trailer shows some pretty graphic imagery. Hulk squares off against a robot version that mimics him in size and strength. Captain America’s “Unbreakable” Vibranium shield has been split in half, with a person, perhaps Thor or Captain lying next to it. Ultron and his army are flying out of the ocean and Hydra may be making a return. My guess is that it’s either Hydra or a more advanced military, as you see Bruce Banner and Hawkeye running through a snowy forest away from what look to be tanks and soldiers, possibly military, but just as likely Hydra members.

On top of this, there is also the Baron (Von Strucker) who was seen at the end of Captain America, he has performed tests on Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to give them powers; whether their role is good or bad is still to be understood yet, for a few reasons.

New Heroes On The Block – As mentioned above, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were introduced during the end of Captain America: Winter Soldier while the Baron is present. It is also noticeable that we see the wheel of what looks to be a hospital trolley riding down a hallway, so the Baron may still be present in Age of Ultron, maybe tending to Quicksilver and Scarlet.

Skipping forward to what looks to be Ultron with Quicksilver and Scarlet in front of a destroyed facility, this could possibly be the 2 characters being broken out and indebted to Ultron. Will they work with the robot, or use their new-found freedom to rebel? We do see Quicksilver helping Captain America fight Ultron within a bus during the trailer, so it’s possible they join The Avengers in the fight.

Another interesting character is Vision, merely rumoured to be in Age of Ultron and possibly not even seen within the trailer, the character confronts Tony Stark and shows him a vision of when The Avengers fight Thanos (The villain from Guardians of the Galaxy), The Avengers have lost and that’s where the scene of a snapped Captain America shield and a dead Thor / Captain could have come from, perhaps making Tony re-evaluate the situation and give him the motivation he needs.

Andy Serkis was also featured in the trailer; however, the only issue is that as of right now, no one knows who he’s playing. The best bet is that he’s playing Ulysses Klaw, as in the trailer he looks very similar to how the character was portrayed in an animated series. This is merely a rumour though and it would lead fans to believe the involvement of The Black Panther, his arch enemy.

Everyone Screaming… – The trailer shows a very short clip of pedestrians, both running away screaming, and shouting towards something, it’s extremely possible that riots have started to break out within the cities of America (Depending where this film is set). The public may be fed up, they’ve had to deal with almost a dozen super-villains in the past decade and Stark’s new invention, a murderous independent AI which plans to destroy the world, may be the last straw.

Heroes were always a controversial subject throughout the Marvel series, as the public were seen as unsure to whether or not the heroes were actually helping, or if their brothers, anger management, old friends and inventions were merely destroying far too much of the world for the ends not being justifiable by the means to stop them.

Could it be Ultron’s wrath that sends the regular inhabitants of Earth over the edge? Perhaps these are the events that encourage the government to keep a registry of all superheroes’ different identities, therefore moving towards the civil war which is hinted at more and more often throughout the Marvel Universe.