Joining Captain America in 2016’s ‘Civil War’ is (take a deep breath) Iron Man, Black Widow, Falcon, Vision, Hawkeye, War Machine, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Black Panther, and possibly even Spider-Man.
Although it's ostensibly the third solo Captain America film, a better title for the film would have been ‘Age of Ultron – Part 2’ as ‘Civil War’ looks set to continue many plot lines set up in the Avengers sequel.
But how exactly does ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ introduce the events coming up in ‘Civil War’ and what can we expect to see in Marvel’s next big mash up movie?
Warning- Major ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ spoilers coming up…
Captain America: Civil War in a nutshell
‘Civil War’ is one of the most beloved and memorable Marvel comic book arcs in recent years. The story, written by Mark Millar and released as a 7-issue series in 2006-07, revolves around the introduction of a Superhuman Registration Act in America and the cataclysmic fallout that threatens to tear the Marvel world apart.
The legislation requires any person with superhuman abilities to register with the government, reveal their true identity and work together as a global police force, however many heroes are not happy about having to disclose their secret identities.
The law divides the world of Marvel’s superheroes into two opposing sides, one lead by Iron Man, the other by Captain America. Tony Stark is pro-registration while Steve Rogers leads the opposition cabal arguing that registration is distinctly “Un-American”.
This ideological split results in a series of epic battles between the heroes, the thought of which has predictably got fanboys all in a lather.
How Age of Ultron sows the seeds for Civil War
In the source comics, the road to Civil War begins when a team of young heroes called the New Warriors cause a massive explosion, levelling a school, killing hundreds.
The public outcry in the wake of the tragedy leads to the government rushing through the Superhuman Registration Act in order to properly police the superhero community, and Civil War begins.
In the films, the Avengers have already been the cause of a number of devastating urban catastrophes including the Battle of New York (‘Avengers’), the Mandarin bombings (‘Iron Man 3’), and the Dark Elf invasion in Greenwich (‘Thor: The Dark World’).
In ‘Age of Ultron’, we see the start of a public backlash against the Avengers in the aftermath of the Hulkbuster battle: “People aren’t asking for Hulk to turn himself in yet,” Says Agent Hill, “but that’s where the conversation is headed.”
Ultron’s devastating attack on Sokovia at the film’s climax is also likely to have wide-reaching consequences too. You can’t just pick up an entire city and expect it to come back to earth smoothly. Who’s going to take the blame for that? Ultron or the person who created him?
The official synopsis for ‘Civil War’ backs this up: “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.”
Tensions in the team
If the first ‘Avengers’ was about bringing the team together, ‘Age of Ultron’ was about tearing them apart and Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark spent the majority of ‘AOU’ at war with his teammates.
He tussled with Bruce Banner over the creation of Ultron, he clashed with Thor and Cap who blamed him for Ultron going rogue, he physically fought Hulk in Johannesburg, then there were further tensions when he wanted to bring Vision to life.
A great scene at Hawkeye’s farmhouse massively foreshadow the events of ‘Cap 3’. Tony and Steve are chopping logs discussing the secret creation of Ultron.
“Banner and I were doing research,” says Tony. “That would affect the team,” interrupts Steve.
“That would end the team. Isn’t that the mission?” asks Stark, “Isn’t that why we fight? To end the fight? So that we can go home?”
It’s clear to see that Marvel is setting up Tony Stark as a major antagonist for ‘Civil War’, but with many of the team scattered to the wind and Captain America heading of a new team of Avengers consisting of him, Black Widow, War Machine, Vision, Falcon, and Scarlet Witch, how will heroes divide when it comes to War?
Hero vs Hero?
Our prediction is that Cap’s allies will consist of Black Widow, Falcon and Scarlet Witch, while Hawkeye, War Machine, Vision, and probably Spider-Man will rally to Iron Man’s cause. Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury hasn’t officially joined the cast, but we think if SHIELD is involved they’ll be helping police the SHRA.
We’re not sure how Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier will fit in, but we think he’s likely to join forces with his old pal Captain America. Both Ant-Man and Black Panther are unknown quantities in the Marvel movies right now, so it’s unclear where their loyalties will lie.
One interesting addition to the cast is William Hurt. His character Thunderbolt Ross is returning for the first time since 2008′s poorly received ‘The Incredible Hulk’. As we know from that film, he’s an adept superhero hunter, so we expect he’ll be working with Tony Stark’s pro-registration crew.
Thanks to the cast list released by Marvel we also know that ‘Captain America: Civil War’ won’t just be about bickering superheroes. Frank Grillo’s ‘Winter Soldier’ villain Crossbones will return likely joining the side of new villain Baron Zemo played by Daniel Brühl.
‘Captain America: Civil War’ is coming to cinemas on 6 May, 2016.
Image credits: Disney/Marvel Comics