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Everybody Assemble! (for a Civil War)

Written by Dustin Molina

After years of set-up, it has all led to here. With Captain America: Civil War coming to theaters shortly, so begins Phrase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the third act to the story that began back in 2008 with the first Iron Man. Just like any great third act, the story is about to hit its boiling point.

Based on Mark Millar‘s 2006-2007 crossover series “Civil War”, Captain America: Civil War pits the two, arguably leading, protagonists of the MCU against one another. Due to rising collateral damage inflicted by the Avengers heroics, the United States government decides to enact the Superhuman Registration Act in order to oversee superheroes across the United States. A rift forms between superheroes: those who believe regulation is for the best, and those who believe the government should stay out of their business. On the government’s side is Tony Stark’s Iron Man. Opposing him is Steve Rogers’ Captain America.

Though the Cap and Iron Man are the leaders of their respective factions in Civil War, and much excitement has been built around the two finally coming to blows with one another after years of tension, I feel the real selling point of this film is the wealth of superheroes (both old MCU superheroes and new additions) that populate each “army.” I would argue that this plethora of characters makes Captain America: Civil War the first true crossover comic book film. We have seen our heroes come together before in small doses, Marvel’s The Avengers and its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron being the prime examples, but I feel that a true crossover series brings EVERYONE together.

Joining the Cap and Iron Man is Black Widow, the Winter Soldier, Falcon, Agent 13, War Machine, Hawkeye, Vision, Scarlet Witch, and Ant Man. That list alone is enough to make any geek salivate. Add on the first appearances of Black Panther and Spider-Man (in the MCU) and the geek will explode.

This culmination of characters is what I feel the MCU has been building up to all along. After years of origin stories, the MCU has a sizable enough amount of characters that we can let them play together, or fight one another.

If there are any who feel daunted by the larger scope of the forthcoming MCU, be warned: this is just the beginning. Captain America: Civil War is but a preamble to the grand finale of Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Avengers: Infinity Wars. Anthony Russo, of The Russo Brothers, directors of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Civil War, and Infinity Wars, joked (and later confirmed) that 67 superhero characters would be featured in Infinity Wars. Do your research fans; its about to be an all out war, and there are a lot of players.

I have to admit that this may a double-edged sword. I am always a glutton for more superhero movies, but I fear we may be at a point of over-saturation. In the past, superhero movies have faltered trying to tackle so much (Spider-Man 3, I’m looking at you). To capture so many different story lines with nuance, and without discombobulating the audience as they try to remember everyone’s name, seems nearly impossible with 10 characters, let alone 67. Even though the Russo Brothers have proven themselves adept at handling these films, one can’t help but feel the weight of 67 heroes all vying for screen time resting on the brother’s shoulders.

What do you think? Is this “too much of a good thing” or are you thinking “the more, the merrier?” Choose your side, folks. It’s an all out war! Let us know your thoughts on Twitter!

About the author

Dustin Molina