Marvel’s first 2016 release, Captain America: Civil War began production and to get us all talking about it we were blessed with a full cast list and brief plot synopsis. It looks like we’re going to get the expanded Avengers team from Age of Ultron all back in some capacity, and that Winter Soldier, Black Panther, and Ant-Man will be involved. This is looking a lot more like Avengers 2.5 or the last totally earth bound Avengers movie before we go full tilt into the Thanos/Infinity War arc. Some well known Cap villains (Baron Zemo, Crossbones) will be showing up as well. So of course there are questions to be answered (or speculated on mostly fact-free), such as:
Is it going to be like the comic version?
My guess is a big fat no. This is third film in the MCU to share a title with storyline or event that was depicted in comic form. The previous ones, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron shared little more than the title with their print predecessors. The plot synopsis for the film read as such –
“Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.”
While that has some similarities to the comic version, it’s not the same story. And that’s a good thing, because the print version was a cool concept that went off the rails about a third of the way through and turned into a mess. And it had one of the most shameless ‘hey look at what we did!’ moments in recent comic history – the voluntary unmasking of Spider-Man to the whole world (which of course had to be undone via some reality bending trick later on). The further the movie stays away from the comic version the better.
What about Spider-Man?
As was announced a few months ago, Spider-Man will now be an onscreen player in the MCU and will make a cameo in Civil War. He’s not listed among the characters though, so don’t get your hopes up for any major screen time. There has been much aimless speculation on the interwebs about what Spidey is going to do in the movie and whether or not his parts from the comic story will be relived in the movie. The answer to that is likely no, so don’t let anyone convince you different. The script for this was done a while back and Sony hasn’t even cast a new Spider-Man yet so forget any significant role here.
What comes next?
Big changes. Like I said earlier Civil War is likely the last go round for Earth-bound Avengers films. Next up will be Dr. Strange, then Guardians 2, the Sony-produced/Marvel-supported Spider-Man movie and the third Thor movie before Infinity War begins. And from there it’s Black Panther, Captain Marvel, the Infinity War conclusion and on to the Inhumans. Given the ages of some of the players (specifically Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey, Jr.) Infinity War 2 could be the last time we see them and maybe some others that we’ve been watching up to this point. It will also be a test of Marvel Studios acumen to see if they can keep the undefeated streak going without the big name actors and characters they started with. Guardians proved that you don’t need Cap and Iron Man to have success at the box office, but when the lower tier characters become the norm and not a change of pace will that hold? I have no idea really, but if the movies are good then everything should be fine.
Either way get ready, change is coming.