Film Friday: Let’s Talk About CIVIL WAR

Hey #FilmFriday Folks: Let’s talk about #CIVILWAR (um, possible spoilers theories?)

Specifically, I want to discuss the motivation for the conflict in the upcoming Civil War film, the source of which might not be what we expect.

If you were a fan of the Civil War storyline in the comics, you are probably aware of the #TeamCap #TeamIronMan debate. (Or as we said at the time, “I’m with Captain America” or “I’m with Iron Man” etc) It was always a strange argument to make, made stranger by the limited amount of fiction presented in the films. Why would you support Iron Man in the Superhero Registration Act when we’ve only ever seen the state act indifferently or evilly in the films, while our heroes rarely act recklessly (with the exception of Tony). Here’s a graphic to illustrate this point:

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Now, this presupposes that the “Civil War” between Captain American and Iron Man is the same as the one we saw in the comics; born of a third-string superhero acting recklessly and putting a lot of innocent people in harm’s way. I don’t believe that will be the case.

First, some arguments in favor of the plot being about the Superhero Registration Act; while the number of secret identities in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are small compared to the comics, there have been attempts to showcase the fear of a sudden influx of more supers (specifically Inhumans) and the Iron Man films specifically have been focused on regulating the powerful for the sake of the world. So yeah, it makes a certain amount of sense.

But! In this scenario, it seems as if Iron Man should be getting his house in order, not worrying about what people like Captain America are up to. It’s not that Iron Man isn’t right, per se, it’s that he should be surrendering to the government first if he wants to put his repulsor where his faceplate is. So where’s the conflict?

"Marvel's Captain America: The Winter Soldier"..Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)..Ph: Zade Rosenthal..? 2014 Marvel.  All Rights Reserved.
“Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier”..Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)..Ph: Zade Rosenthal..? 2014 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

Bucky. Yeah, I think this movie is going to be about friendship.

Bucky, Captain American’s log lost friend, spent many years as a mindless government hitman known as the Winter Solider. Currently, he’s on the run (after Hydra was outed as a cancerous growth within SHIELD) and former agent/captain Steve Rogers is on the hunt for his old friend.

Over the course of several films, we’ve learned a lot about Tony Stark, and we’ve gained some insight on his father, Howard, as well. Both were visionaries that did exemplary things for the greater good, and both saw their hard work twisted and turned against them from time to time. Howard worked on the process that gave Steve his powers, helped developed the hardware his son would later use to become a hero, and then died mysteriously in a car accident which may not have been an accident at all.

I put forth that Howard Stark was not betrayed by the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first on-screen villain, Obadiah Stane (aka the Iron Monger, played by the great Jeff Bridges), nor was he killed by accident, but rather he was a high-profile target of the Winter Solider.

I think that the chief conflict of Civil War isn’t Tony’s desire to put reckless heroes like himself under the control of the federal government, but rather, Steve’s desire to help his old friend Bucky avoid the authorities who would punish him for the things he did when he was not in control of himself, things like killing a famed and powerful industrialist.

And that, my friends, is real cinematic conflict; an argument between friends – with superpowers.

If this is the case, I can finally see an argument for why someone would be #TeamIronMan.

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