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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CM Punk, The Comic Book Writer

Two time WWE champion, Walking Dead Enthusiast, Straight Edge Superstar and comic book writer? Phil Brooks, or more commonly known CM Punk, has recently taken up Marvel’s offer of writing comic books for the company, starting with Thor Annual #1. Could this be Punk’s attempt at living a life away from the ring? Or merely earning some extra money until he decides to quit another job…

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Marvel illustrator Rob Guillory and good friend CM Punk are working together to create the first issue of the Thor Annual, set for release in February of 2015. Punk stated in an interview that he attributes landing the job to pestering the right people and getting the right answers out of them; this ultimately resulted in him gaining the opportunity to write for Marvel with frequent communication through his friend and co-creator Guillory.

Many emails have been going back and forth between Punk and Guillory about the ideas and storylines for the Annual, Punk threw the first idea he could think of at the illustrator and the two ran with it from there. The world champion doesn’t claim to have any prior experience and isn’t asking to direct the new Avengers film, instead he is humbled by the chance to write for a company he frequently reads the comics of. He’s even told stories of carrying around bags full of comics to read on plane journeys, only to eagerly read through the entire lot in the terminal and have to lug around dead weight on his travels.

Phil says that although he isn’t entirely sure how the position came to be, he found that during previous conversations about writing he never had the time, whereas now (After quitting his job back in January 2014…) he has all the time in the world, money rolling in from royalties the WWE owe him and an avid interest in writing comic books. While being in contact with Marvel he found the “Marvel Method” of writing to be the most efficient way to format his stories, as it lets you know how the idea will turn out on paper. His plan is to write about Thor’s struggles with her father (Thor is also a female in this new rendition) and why she isn’t “Worthy” of holding the mighty hammer, focusing on a more rebellious, young heroine, as opposed to the just and God-like Thor later on.

“If anything, wrestling got me used to understanding that failure is a part of a process, and the only real failure is if you don’t try”, although slightly hypocritical, the statement made by CM Punk is a reassuring one, letting fans know that if there are any bumps in the road, or if the comic turns out to be a huge flop, he isn’t going to be discouraged to try again. He compares both being a superhero and donning the tights in the ring as similar concepts, in the squared circle he is “CM Punk: The voice of the voiceless and once leader of the straight edge society” where in real-life he’s just Phil Brooks, the regular comic book nerd, compare that to Bruce Wayne and Batman and the alter-ego complex seems pretty accurate.

The creation of Thor Annual #1 is well under-way and Punk is confirmed to be contributing to the cause regardless of opinions and rumours surrounding the issue. I can’t wait to pick up Phil Brooks’ take on a young Thor in February 2015 and look forward to the day he’s let loose with The Punisher character he so very much hopes to write about, until then we’re left to speculate. When’s he coming back to the WWE? Is CM Punk actually Batman? Who else will CM Punk be allowed to write about, and finally, how will Thor Annual #1 turn out?