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The Era of Captain America’s Civil War

Written by J.A. Veerapen

So I haven’t seen Avengers: Age of Ultron yet. I know what you’re thinking: “It’s a blasphemy! How could you? What would Steve Rogers say?!” My cousin and I tried to go last week and it was sold out for the next four hours so it’s in the books for this weekend, I promise. Stay with me. And no spoilers.

That being said, I don’t need to see it to know that, of course, it will lead in to the events of one of my favorite comic storylines: Civil War. And since it’s set directly after Age of Ultron, one can assume it’s the carnage created by Avengers v. Ultron that creates the infamous Superhero Registration Act and not a random and unnecessary introduction of Nitro and the New Warriors.

And since this is Captain America: Civil War, it raises an interesting question both in terms of filmic point of view and in audience bias that has been mulling about in my head. Is this going to be a Captain America-centered film? Are we going to see this through the eyes of the anti-registration heroes? Not that this is necessarily a negative thing, but I know for me, what really hooked me into the comic from the get-go was who to side with: Captain America or Iron Man?

If you’re lost, allow me to enlighten you in a small, spoiler-free way. Basically, after all the destruction that occurs as per the course of a beautiful, high-budget, climatic final battle, the public starts to fight back. (Remember the articles that came out after 2012’s Avengers Assemble commenting on the $4.5 billion in damage and uncountable innocent casualties that would’ve occurred? Yeah, like that.) The public demands accountability for superheroes and their actions, and a proposal arises that would require all heroes to register their identity to the government. Captain America becomes the leader against the Registration Act whilst Iron Man eventually ends up the poster boy for the pro-registration group.

Now I’m sure everyone from myself to every five-year-old would love to see the dichotomy between America’s favorites: cocky but logical billionaire Tony Stark and Mr. America himself, the heart-over-mind Steve Rogers. Who do you side with? Team Stark or Team Rogers? (Much better t-shirts than Twilight’s; that’s unanimous.)

But if the title card we’re reading is “Captain America: Civil War,” then there’s already a bias. Who wants to disagree with the title character? Everyone’s going to go in Team Rogers. And when a character seeks to oppose the title character, don’t they in effect become the villain? Does Iron Man then become our villain? As someone who sided with Stark’s views, I wonder if having a biased perspective ruins the gray area that made Civil War exciting.

And for those of us who know how Civil War ends, do we want an ending that casts Tony Stark, subconscious villain, in that kind of light?

But of course, marketing Civil War this way, as the final marker in Captain America’s trilogy, may be, and probably, is a stroke of genius. With every film, Marvel gets darker. And Civil War is undoubtedly one of the darker, frighteningly realistic slices of the Marvel Universe. Making the audience biased towards Captain America, rooting for the once-shrimpy, relatable Steve Rogers, and seeing Stark in a negative light as the anti-hero gives them a chance to taste where this franchise can go, how deeply it can mirror our own beliefs and hopes for society and politics, and the consequences of those beliefs.

It’ll having you yearning for the stories of mystical sorcerers and crazy galactic space battles in a heartbeat.

So that being said, I look forward to Captain America: Civil War. I will wear my Team Stark t-shirt proudly. Will I have to play Devil’s Advocate to do it? Possibly. Will it take away from my viewing experience? Absolutely not. While a Captain America-brand of Civil War will come with a different kind of propaganda, this is not a bad thing. It’s a new taste of morals and the reach of corruption and I’m hungry for it.

What’s your opinion? Are you ready for a Captain America brand of Civil War? Sound off in the comments below or send us your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

J.A. Veerapen