5 Reasons Marvel Should Bring the Civil War Series to Its Cinematic Universe
1) It's awesome
It's a very well-written and complex storyline, with Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. leading the charge to enact a Superhuman Registration Act, which is a violation of privacy and potentially discriminatory, but also might help keep people safe. Captain America, in light of his experiences during the Holocaust, is adamantly opposed, and leads the resistance efforts that ultimately lead to an all-out war. In addition to being action-packed, it's very thematically ambitious and allegorical, and represents the heights of what comics/superhero narratives can do. It doesn't hold back in terms of lasting ramifications for the canon, either; it leads to (spoiler!) Iron Man becoming the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Spider-Man revealing his true identity to the world, and craziest of all, the death of Captain America.
2) It involves absolutely everyone
The Avengers, Spider-Man, X-Men, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, The Punisher, Iron Fist, New Warriors, the list goes on and on. Other side characters who have already been introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe are featured, such as Sharon Carter and Maria Hill. And if there's anything we've learned in the past few years, it's that moviegoers can't resist big superhero mashups.
But let's talk logistics for a minute. Some of the heroes are owned by different studios, which would lead to some rights issues. An X-Men/Avengers crossover is unlikely, but not impossible. Same goes for Spider-Man/Avengers, but that seems even less likely. But honestly, it wouldn't matter that much anyway. The roles of Spider-Man and X-Men in the story are easily excisable, with X-Men in particular opting not to take sides in the war. Spider-Man's role is significant, but the writers would need to cut many plotlines in order to fit the material into a film or even a trilogy. And best of all, Marvel currently has the rights to The Punisher, who is essential to arguably the most interesting arc in the series. Even if they couldn't manage to incorporate any of the heroes that are owned by other studios (which, as of now, are X-Men, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four), they would still have more than enough to make three compelling movies (I'm sort of fantasizing about a trilogy like the Dark Knight series, but more on that later). And, to reiterate, any film that featured two sides of beloved superheroes fighting each other would likely be a knockout at the box office, or at least that's what DC is hoping for in the case of their upcoming Batman vs Superman film.
3) It's timely
[Credit: The National Rifle Association]
First, the New Warriors offer a commentary on reality television, which is always an easy target. But more importantly, the central conflict of the story is freedom versus security, which has been the driving force behind some of the most hot-button social issues of the last few years: Snowden and the NSA, Wikileaks, and, of course, gun control. It's especially resonant in light of the national reaction to Newtown, as the justification for the Superhuman Registration Act is primarily the Stamford Tragedy, a superhuman-related accident that kills hundreds of children (in another Connecticut town, coincidentally). Granted, the writers would need to be careful about their treatment of the issues in light of these parallels, but it shouldn't be too difficult to avoid taking a controversial political stance, considering that both sides are supposed to seem sympathetic and well-intentioned.
4) It would make Captain America interesting for the first time in the MCU
Chris Evans is a talented actor, and to some extent his talents are wasted on Captain America. He's a perfectly serviceable superhero, but he's intentionally milquetoast as a function of what he represents. The Marvel writers toyed with making him question his morals in Captain America: Winter Soldier, but at the end of the day he was still a stalwart, earnest, dependable, all-American boy. And even so, that touch of moral ambiguity made the sequel to Captain America the most complex installment of the MCU thus far, and I, for one, would like to see more of that. Civil War sees Captain America go against his civic duty, become the face of a rebellion, and compromise his morals to the point that he's recruiting supervillains to his cause. This transformation, especially after establishing his character over several films, would be incredibly poignant if done well.
5) Marvel wants to be king of everything
[Credit: Geek Peeks]
And they're mostly succeeding, considering that The Avengers is the third highest grossing movie of all time, Guardians of the Galaxy just became the biggest August opening of all time, and DC is shaking in their boots about their superhero mash-up going against one measly Marvel hero. But their one piece of unexplored terrain (aside from a female superhero movie, they do, in fact want to "king" of everything, as opposed to queen) is a dark, prestige superhero film a la Dark Knight. Marvel is mostly the antidote to such self-seriousness, with their movies mostly consisting of good-natured banter, colorful costumes, well-executed action, and general silliness. And there's no denying that they do the light stuff well, especially considering the unbelievable success of the relatively unknown Guardians of the Galaxy, which was arguably the silliest Marvel movie yet. I'm not advocating for them to veer into pretentiousness, or even to get quite as somber as the Dark Knight series. That being said, they proved that they could handle a little more gravitas and a healthy dose of social commentary with Captain America: Winter Soldier. And, more importantly, they have Joss Whedon on their side, who is the master of social commentary and sci-fi allegory, and has also proven time and time again that he is adept at mixing witty, banter-y humor with lofty philosophical themes.
Plus, speaking of winning everything, the serious tone of The Dark Knight was likely a significant factor in putting it in the running for the most Oscar nominations of any film based on a comic, and the first ever win in a major category for a superhero film. The MCU has many extremely talented actors; Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Natalie Portman have all won Oscars, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert Downey Jr. have all been nominated, James Spader has won multiple Emmys, and many thought Elizabeth Olsen was snubbed by the Academy after her performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene. All they need to do is give these actors a chance to cry, swear a little, and/or lose some weight, and Oscars will inevitably follow.
Coincidentally, as I was writing this article, these rumors came out. And needless to say, we would be ecstatic if they were true.