November 25, 2015 // No Comments
On Friday, Netflix’s latest Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series, Jessica Jones, debut. It’s a powerful story that tackles a lot of great issues in a complicated fashion, and I was gearing up to write an article about it for the website.
And then this dropped this morning:
Sorry ground-breaking, well-written TV series, I have some geeking out to do about superheroes hitting each other.
My love of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been growing steadily over the years, despite my lack of interest in the beginning. Iron Man had me intrigued but I skipped Incredible Hulk when it first came out and Iron Man 2 did little to hype me for the idea. No, the movie that got me hyped for the universe and all it could do, was Captain America: The First Avenger. After watching it – on a plane I might add – I was hooked and could not wait to see The Avengers and then everything that came after it. Cap has been my favourite avenger and his films, both the first and the sequel, The Winter Soldier have been the very best of what Marvel could offer.
It’s for this reason that I am probably more hyped about Civil War than I was about any Marvel movie that came before. I have seen a lot of people referring to the movie as Avengers 2.5 jokingly, but I honestly do not get this impression from the trailer. At its heart, the Captain America stories have been that of a man who wants to do the best for the world above everything else. This started with him disobeying orders in First Avenger, taking down the organization he saw as corrupt in Winter Soldier but now Civil War appears to be throwing a new wrinkle into the situation – what if Captain America was in the wrong?
I may be reading into this too much – okay I almost certainly am – but it really comes across like Civil War is the story where Cap loses his way. It’s clear the main conflict of the story will come down to two elements – regulating superheroes and the conflict on how to handle Bucky Barnes, Cap’s childhood friend and former terrorist. Now the whole ‘superhero regulation’ side of things doesn’t interest me as much as the idea of how Cap handles Bucky. Despite the trailer making it clear Bucky has been framed for something, Bucky was a terrorist and an agent of H.Y.D.R.A, no matter how manipulated.
The most powerful moment in the trailer is when Cap excuses what he’s doing by saying he had to, that Bucky is his friend, only for Tony to retort with a hurt, “So was I.” I think, judging from this trailer, that this will be a large part of the story and why Black Widow is on the opposing side, despite much speculation she wouldn’t be. Widow’s appearances in the trailer show a person who is worried about her friend, about the line he’s crossing. She’s all but begging Cap to stand down and let them deal with Bucky. I really hope that element gets the most focus, because to me that’s the strongest part of this trailer.
That said, there’s also a lot of whiz-bang excitement to be had. Seeing Bucky and Cap take on Iron Man together is awesome (if not a little dragged out), as is seeing Falcon taking down two soldiers in a single motion. Winter Soldier has had some of the best action and tension of the series, and this trailer seems to be suggesting that the overall tone and feel of that movie will be present here. It’s another reason why I scoff at the idea that this will be Avengers 2.5 as it’s blatantly Winter Soldier 2 more than anything.
Speaking of the Avengers, it’s looks like the supporting cast of heroes touted for this movie are played down in the trailer. We see glimpses of Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and the new comer, Black Panther, but not enough to overshadow the real meat. No sign of Spider-man but I never expected to see him, what does surprise me is a lack of Ant-man or Vision, but maybe that’s more down to the amount of visual effects involved in those guys? Who knows?
Also… is that General Ross? The Hulk villain who we haven’t seen since The Incredible Hulk? Wonder why they decided to bring that guy back…?
Another notable thing missing that concerns me is any mention of Baron Zemo or Crossbones. Both characters are known to be in this movie and their absence makes me wonder how they will tie into this. The stuff we have – Bucky is framed for terrorism which exacerbates already growing concern over superhero overreach – is meaty enough, what on earth is Baron Zemo or Crossbones going to add to all this. I’m also worried a “H.Y.D.R.A are the real baddies, let’s team up and hit ‘em” ending to this might ruin some great ground-work already laid out in the previous movies and TV series that have come before this.
TV series are particularly worthy of note as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Daredevil and Jessica Jones all have being laying the ground-work of people’s distrust of superheroes. As such, I will admit I will be disappointed if there isn’t some acknowledgment of these three shows in Civil War. Particularly Jessica Jones as the events that happened in that show would make for good fodder for the government’s argument against Cap’s heroes acting alone.
“Not to mention that alcoholic super in Hell’s Kitchen going around breaking guy’s necks!”, a line like that is all I need, just give it to me, please.
And lastly, if the title of this article wasn’t a give-away, I found it impossible not to mentally compare this trailer to the one we have for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now, one could argue that it’s not fair to compare the trailer for the second in a series to the trailer of the latest in a franchise that’s lasted since 2008, but I’m doing it because, screw it, both companies want us to be comparing. These two movies are blatantly competing and as such, nothing wrong with seeing which is better.
Civil War’s trailer is better. It’s not even a competition. Haven’t seen the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer? Here:
What doesn’t work about that trailer is a niggly one. The idea of a story where Batman sees himself as the only one capable of taking on Superman is fine. The idea of a story where people are scared Superman is too powerful to let run around on his own is fine. The problem is Batman V Superman: Dawn of Stupid Title, and it’s trailer, is that it’s taking itself so damn seriously with so little justification to do so.
I didn’t like Man of Steel for similar reasons, the movie just has no fun or humour to it, and neither does this trailer. It doesn’t get me excited, it makes me dread what’s to come and more importantly, these movies haven’t earned the right to be this self-serious. Civil War is similarly very serious in tone, but having been following these characters for over half a decade, I feel it’s earnt the right to do this. More importantly, the themes of Civil War are small and personal, whilst Bats V Super Serial: Wonder Woman’s in it is all about big themes and big ideas.
Basically the difference comes down to this; BVS:DOJ is treating this like the clash of god, Civil War is treating this like a clash between men.
And I know which one I’ll be eagerly awaiting.
Please don’t let me down Marvel, you’ve baited my hook, reel me in and carve me up for dinner. I want this to be great.
And yes, I’ll write something about Jessica Jones soon.
…also that comic I do is getting updated soon.