As Marvel limps its way out of Phase Two, it needs a big cup of hot chocolate and a nice, warm hug. Perhaps it should take a long weekend at Hawkeye’s secret family farm. I am not actively rooting against Marvel’s Greatest Heroes. Who would, especially if you use every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as a frame of reference? Just ask frequent Marvel loser Loki. With Marvel a few months shy of stepping into their Phase Three with the release of Captain America: Civil War, I’m nervous for Marvel.
After watching the original trailer for Civil War, I was inspired to throw on my most badass pleather jacket and team up with my high school BFF to beat the crap out of my college BFF; roommate issues, mostly. And even someone as tough as Wolverine from the Fox Studios lot shed a single tear over Tony Stark’s simple, but emotional one liner, “So was I.” One major flub in the MCU is the lack of memorable villains, with that role usually reserved for either Loki or generic government employee/CEO/robot/Mickey Rourke, who may or may not fall into the category before him. And what beloved Marvel-hero-turned-villain Iron Man and Captain America are squabbling over, in part, really is a huge problem for the movie.
Civil War hinges on the idea that the audience cares about Bucky Barnes. The movie is told through the perspective of Cap himself, and he certainly cares enough to go to war for him. If Captain America told me to jump off a twenty story building but couldn’t tell me why, I would at least consider it. I would trust him more than anyone else from the original Avengers lineup. He is the embodiment of a moral compass that’s not too preachy, and the trailer for the movie suggests that if Steve Rogers believes in Bucky, then we should too. But why should we? There’s no emotional attachment to the Winter Soldier because he’s not a fully developed character onscreen. For most of the time we saw him in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he was brainwashed, and his relationship with Rogers happened behind the scenes.
Bucky Barnes must be a popular guy, if almost everyone from the MCU is down to clown and show up to the party, even if they weren’t on the original e-vite. The Russo Brothers love ensemble pieces, but they may be setting themselves up for another MCU hot mess like Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s a familiar situation: like Joss Whedon, the Russo Brothers have to set up several future Marvel projects, such as stand-alone Black Panther and Spider-Man movies and Avengers: Infinity Wars, much less worry about the movie they’re currently in. Age of Ultron was so bloated, they didn’t even have room to explain Scarlet Witch’s powers, or even call her Scarlet Witch; they didn’t really address her as anything, did they? But she’s back, full throttle, with the rest of the Age of Ultron last-minute Avengers line-up forced on us. I don’t know a single person not excited by that end line-up, and if someone is, they are a damn liar. Even with characters like Black Panther, who’s put in to be an outlier, a third party perspective, his opinion goes through the Captain America filtration system.
The Russo Brothers’ first crack in the MCU with The Winter Soldier did something no one expected. They took a character like Captain America, absolutely no one’s favorite superhero, and transformed him into someone who could carry an entire film on his perfectly square shoulders. However, for Civil War, there’s not enough room for all these characters inside one movie, and the audience is expected to be excited by characters we have barely seen onscreen just because of their namesake, or because Cap tells us too. I’m cautiously optimistic, and hope Captain America can end his stand-alone film career on a high-note.
Do you think Captain America can save the MCU some face and live up to its hype? Or will he slip out of the movie theater before the third post-credits scene with his shield tucked between his legs? Agree or fight with me below in the comments, or on our Twitter page.