This is a very exciting day for Marvel fans in Fresno and all over the wold today as devoted fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally got their first taste of whats to come in Phase Three of this immensely successful franchise. This first taste came in the form of the first trailer for next year’s Captain America: Civil War.
The trailer, which can be viewed here, opens with a return to the after credits scenes from the end of Ant-Man, where Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America (played by Chris Evans) and Sam Wilson, a.k.a. the Falcon (played by Anthony Mackie) finding Cap’s old friend-turned assassin, Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. the Winter Soldier (played by Sebastian Stan). We learn that Bucky is a wanted man, and based on scenes of chaos that we get at the start of the trailer, it seems that it has to do with more than just his actions from the previous film. From the looks of things Cap and Falcon are taking on a SWAT team sent to take Bucky out, thereby buying him time to make an escape. After the Marvel logo, we are then reintroduced to Hulk antagonist General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (played by William Hurt), who warns Cap that while some do consider him a hero, there are others who see him just as a vigilante. After the event of some of the previous film, particularly the destruction of New York in The Avengers and of Sokovia in Age of Ultron, the world can no longer tolerate Cap or other superheroes like him operating with unlimited power and without supervision. This spurs the creation of the Sokovia Accords, a sort of superhero registration act designed to place limits on superhuman activities and place all their heroics under direct supervision of the world governments.
Cap’s teammate the Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson) warns him to stay out of the ongoing search for Bucky, even though she knows how much he means to him. When Cap asks if they will arrest him unless he stays out of it, General Ross says “There will be consequences.” Enter Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey Jr.), back in his Iron Man armor and leading his own faction of Avengers in favor of the Sokovia Accords. Tony insists that if they can’t accept limitations then they are not better than the bad guys, but Cap doesn’t agree. This seems to bring the tension that had always been apparent between the two heroes to a boiling point as we are then treated to a montage of images of Cap, Falcon, and numerous other heroes seen throughout the franchise, including new faces like Wakandan King T’Challa, a.k.a. the Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman), fighting with the police and ultimately against each other in a civil war for the future and freedom of heroism as we know it. The trailer ends with Cap apologizing to Tony, saying that he would not be doing this unless there was no other choice, but that Bucky is still his friend. Tony responds by stating, “So was I.” The last images we see are of Cap and the Winter Soldier fighting together to take out Iron Man two against one.
This trailer promises to be another political thriller type of film with emphasis on serious, adult action to compliment the superheroics much like The Winter Soldier was not surprising since the Russo Brothers are returning to direct once again, and will also be helming the forthcoming two-part Avengers: Infinity War. It is already apparent that some changes to the original Civil War story line from the comics are being made to better fit in with the establish history of the MCU, and that the specific nature of the Superhero Registration Act, or the Sokovia Accords as the document is being called here, are for different reasons than in the original story. Even since events of The Avengers and especially after the end of Age of Ultron, we have gradually been seeing a rising fear and intolerance against superheroes in this continuity, from the fear of the Inhumans in Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., to some bitter remarks made against the Avengers by Hank Pym in Ant-Man, and even in Jessica Jones there was a scene where the title character had to face a pair of extremely prejudiced people who take their hatred out or her because they blame superheroes for their parents dying during the alien’s attack on New York. This concept that it is time for the Avengers to start taking responsibility for what they are doing has been subtly built up and looks like it will pay off spectacularly here, but the real question in all of this, as Cap is arguing, is whether its worth it if senators and bureaucrats get to decide for them exactly who the bad guys are instead of allowing them to use their own judgement to make those decisions themselves. I know that this character not a part of this continuity, but it would be like the government suddenly telling the heroes that Doctor Doom was not a villain because the U.S. wants to repair trade with Latveria, even though we all know that Doom is the most powerful supervillain in the Marvel universe and has tried to take over the world countless times.
The imagery is very engaging here, remind this examiner of the photography the Russo’s displayed on The Winter Soldier. Seeing the Black Panther brought to like for the first time in live action was a total thrill. I will admit that as a fan I was curious to see if we would be treated to our much-anticipated first glimpse at Tom Holland as the new Spider-Man, but not surprisingly, no such luck.
Captain America: Civil War is currently slated for release on May 6, 2016.