Recap and analysis, Part One
Marvel Studios’ long awaited Phase 3 is about to begin in a little over a month and a half, with *drumrolls* Captain America: Civil War! The sequel to The Winter Soldier and the third instalment in the Captain America franchise, the directorial team of Anthony and Joe Russo return,along with the screenwriting team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. A trailer just dropped a little over a day ago and so we’ve decided to to analyse and speculate on the new material we’ve been given – and there’s a fair amount of it.
A refresher of Civil War: It’s been one year since the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, and another international incident involving the Avengers resulting in collateral damage occurs. Politicians lobby for a set of accords to bind and regulate the Avengers’ activities and to install a system of accountability. But when his best friend, is framed for the incident and caught in the crossfire, Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America takes up his shield against the surprising supporter of the legislation, Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man. Avengers new and old fracture into two factions – one led by Rogers, who after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is done with governmental oversight, and one by Stark, who, motivated by guilt from the fallout of Age of Ultron, supports the act. And, predictably, the world is threatened by a new enemy.
In this trailer not only do we get some glorious shots of the two factions, but we also get to see some of the two most anticipated new characters of the MCU in action, and they are amazing! That’s right, Black Panther and our Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man have entered the building.
Spider-Man’s levity will definite be needed in this film, because judging from the trailer, the Russo brother do NOT hold back. Now, shall we begin?
We start off the film with an icy landscape, cutting to a guarded room.
The writing on the soldier’s arm patch is Cyrillic, specifically, Russian. In the comics, Bucky was brainwashed into being the Soviet assassin called the Winter Soldier, so it’s nice to see that the Russo brothers, McFeely and Markus are being so faithful to the source material. The door to the room is opened and we see…
The Winter Soldier. Given in the first trailer, Bucky specifically said ‘I don’t do that anymore’, it seems that this is his origin story, told in flashback form. Or perhaps he’s been recaptured. More on that later.
Meanwhile, a voiceover by Captain America tells us he is reaffirming his resolve and commitment to being an Avenger, as while they do try their best to save the world from whatever hijinks, come what may, he acknowledges that they are not infallible and cannot protect everyone.
Then we’re treated to a series of images dated from past films in the MCU, courtesy of General Ross (William Hurt, last seen in The Incredible Hulk) – The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, respectively – which paint a rather damning image of the collateral damage that the Avengers’ antics can create. It looks like he’s at their headquarters.
Footage of the collateral damage in incidents the Avengers have been active – both monetary and casualties.
In total, 274 deaths and 495.6 billion (presumably) dollars. Not bad for an alien invasion, an aircraft carrier falling out of the sky and crushing a couple of buildings and blowing up a city, also falling out of the sky, to prevent humans going the way of the dinosaurs. I’m actually extremely surprised at the low death toll, but it is what it is. (But let’s be honest, the death toll should be in the thousands).
Captain America intervenes after seeing how his subordinate and teammate Scarlet Witch is distressed at seeing the footage captured in figure 5, likely being reminded of her brother’s death in Age of Ultron. Ross retorts “Captain, people are afraid”. Entirely understandable, given that Tony Stark basically created Skynet last year. This serves as the rationale for the driving force of the story – the Sokovia Accords, the cinematic version of the Superhero Registration act.
From a voiceover later in the trailer, it appears that the Accords basically bind the Avengers so that they can’t do anything without governmental approval to intervene. I wonder though, what if there was a planned terrorist attack, are they supposed to simply wait for the bureaucracy to huddle together and make a vote? Sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness (or completely forgo it) than wait for permission.
A quick cut to a building being blown up.
This is apparently the incident that forces the Sokovia Accords into being (though I’m sure that they would have already been proposed).
Boseman’s T’Challa is in civilian gear here. He looks to be crying.
In figure 7, T’Challa looks to have been in the vicinity of the building exploding in figure 6. It was said a while ago that his father, T’Chaka would be in this movie and be killed, explaining why a head of state would be investing themselves into a struggle in which he has no personal involvement. Namely, the Avengers’ little family squabble.
Tony Stark enters the room where Ross is grilling the Avengers, declaring ‘we need to be put in check. Whatever form that takes, I’m game’. This is a big change from his initial portrayal, where he was rather firmly anti-government, and it goes to show how much his guilt over the events of Age of Ultron have affected him. After all, he said cooperating with the government (by turning over his Iron Man suit in Iron Man 2) was tantamount to indentured servitude and prostitution!
The camera then moves to show us what appears to be a submergeable prison rising out of the sea. Now this is rather interesting, because in the miniseries that this film is based off of, Civil War, Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic actually ended up constructing a prison in another dimension known as the Negative Zone, number 42 on their list of ways to change the world for the better. Intended for supervillains, Stark (who was rather polarisingly depicted as the villain for the arc) ended up throwing anti-Registration heroes into the prison as well.
The location of the prison looks like it’ll also be bringing in aspects of another prison known as the Raft, a prison for super-powered criminals located near New York City in the comics. Given the way that this was cut and spliced in, it seems just like in the comics Iron Man is willing to resort to imprisoning his colleagues if they refuse to cooperate with the legislation. The prison looks to be empty, at least, from the few cells we can see (figures 10, 11).
Seems like Stark has built this prison over the year since Age of Ultron. I wonder though, is there anyone in there? We only get a glimpse at a few cells in the trailer…
…and as you can see, it’s very very large, so those few cells aren’t the entirety of the prison.
Notice the black eye and the sling. Seems Iron Man has already clashed against Captain America at this point.
Moving back to their headquarters, the Avengers are visibly shocked by his declaration, even the generally impassive Black Widow. The tension ramps up as Rogers refuses to sign the accords, basically saying that he cannot in good conscience sign the accords when doing so could jeopardise the people he’s sworn to protect. Stark says “Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth.”
And now we see the Winter Soldier on a motorcycle, trying to escape his pursuer, the Black Panther, who in turn is pursued by Captain America, although Panther is easily outpacing him. And cars. And, eventually, the Soldier’s motorcycle. I have to say, I love how nonchalantly and smoothly Boseman is going, it really feels like a nature documentary seeing him in action.
Some beautiful shots of Black Panther in action.
Like I said, this reminds me of nature documentary. And it really, really evokes memories of the cartoon Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (great show, by the way) where the Black Panther regularly went quadripedal.
The Panther takes out the cycle and they both end up crashing on the ground. It’s not shown here, but the first trailer and various reports and photos show that Captain America ends up catching up…before all of them are forced to stand down by War Machine, aided by German SWAT units and possibly Everett Ross’ (Martin Freeman) Joint Counter Terrorist Centre.
Cap’s voice plays over and says ‘The safest hands are still our own’ in regard to oversight – just as his best friend Bucky tries to shoot Tony Stark in the face.
A little diversion here to appreciate Downey’s acting. That expression of surprise on his face right there is quality acting. It’s not the first time I’ve seen it, but it’s still worth a shout-out. Moving on.
We see Captain America running through a building which ends up exploding – probably the building that we saw T’Challa in earlier.
We see Bucky load a gun of some sort – a rifle? – and the scene then cuts to War Machine being shot and falling out of the sky. Now, while it certainly looks damning, if you examine the angles alone, you’ll see that Bucky couldn’t have shot War Machine. At least, not with that gun.
See? Some kind of rifle.
Some kind of energy beam. Not a bullet.
Where’s the parachute Tony? Where’s the parachute???
He isn’t looking too good.
Moreover, War Machine is flying out in the open, whereas Bucky is indoors. It’s been shown earlier that the big clash happens at a German airport – on open ground. Furthermore, Bucky so far has only been shown using traditional guns, not energy beam weapons. In fact, if anything that looks like Vision’s beam emitted from the Mind Gem embedded in its forehead. Perhaps Vision decided that Tony’s…well, vision, for the world wasn’t one he wanted to support. Or perhaps it’s Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) making his move at long last.
In any case, it’s clear that War Machine is pretty heavily injured. But I’m surprised that Tony didn’t (apparently) think to build in a parachute. Sure, the arc reactor powering the suit should theoretically not run out for a long, long time, but what if it was destroyed or damaged like here? Since they’re flying most of the time, it’s pretty reasonable to have a back up.
Then in figure 20 we see Tony Stark staring at someone – ostensibly Bucky. But as Bucky (probably) didn’t shoot down War Machine, perhaps it’s somebody else. Note also that the airport where the superheroes are brawling is in the background, so they’ve been running and flying all over the place.
Cut to the Black Widow taking on Crossbones’ army, probably set at the beginning of the film and also rather likely tying into the exploding building that sets everything into motion.
Some tense conversation between Romanova and Stark.You can barely see it, but he’s got the sling on. They’ve already fought Cap’s faction once.
In a private conversation at what appears to be the new Avengers headquarters, Tony tells Romanova that ‘They’re coming for you’, to which she replies ‘I’m not the one who needs to watch their back’. This is a very interesting scene, to say the least.
Next we have Cap, apparently having holed up somewhere – you can see that the windows have newspapers over them – trying to avert conflict, saying ‘This doesn’t have to end in a fight Tony’. Sorry Cap, but the script demands it. Spare us your false platitudes and just do it ;)!
As they’re speaking, the camera then cuts to a strange, indoor place, and Iron Man actually strikes Captain America! It looks like this may be the part where things finally begin to boil over.
He’s already gotten a black eye, so it looks like they’ve already clashed. And from how angry he is, it seems something bad has happened. Perhaps War Machine DID die?
Interestingly enough, Stark doesn’t have his helmet on when he strikes Rogers, but as Rogers is knocked away, the helmet appears.
Helmet on. Also there’s someone in the chamber to the right, or that is one weird chair.
You can see also that on the right, there looks like there’s someone in a chair; the chamber really looks like it could be the same one shown housing the Winter Soldier in figure 2. This may well be the part where Tony is soon ganged up on by Cap and Bucky, as shown at the end of the first trailer. Enraged, Iron Man then declares ‘You just started a war!’.
We’re then reminded of Bucky’s fugitive status by the trailer pitting him back up against the Black Panther. As Black Panther kicks Bucky away, a helicopter ends up firing at both of them. The aesthetic here tells us that this is before the two factions go into all out war against each other; it’s clearly set in the middle of a city, and not the airport. And speaking of the airport, it looks like everything has gone to hell (figure 29).
Looks like Black Panther and Winter Soldier get into plenty of fights.
Did you suspect for even a second that your pathetic bullets could harm me? I am the Black Panther, and your bullets matter to me no more than do an insect.
That’s rather strange actually, whoever is firing on them is shooting at a head of state. Unless they knew beforehand that the Black Panther couldn’t be harmed…still, in my headcanon I imagine Black Panther is giving them this look. ‘You thought that could hurt me? Really?’
Black Widow just chilling and watching the destruction unfold.
Then we have Scarlet Witch, who seems to be at Avengers HQ and is trying to take out Vision.
Someone’s on the floor at Scarlet Witch’s feet, but I can’t tell who it is.
CGI for the shot looks pretty cool – notice also how the floor is cracking around Vision. Is she trying to grind it to a pulp, or just trying to shove it through the floor?
Back to the airport. Hawkeye fires a cluster shot. Speaking of trick arrows, I believe it was mentioned somewhere that he’d be sporting a whole lot more trick arrows…I hope so, can’t let have Arrow have all the fun!
And then we have one of the greatest scenes of the entire trailer. I’ll let it speak for itself.
Now compare it with this:
Amazing homage to the comics. Though I do wonder somewhat how they could have such synergy when they only just meet in this movie. Let’s not get bogged down in overanalysis.
Some neat acrobatics here by Ant-Man…jumping off the arrow and slipping past Stark’s fingers…
…rolling upright and probably about to give the man an unexpected beating.
After what Ant-Man did to Yellowjacket in his debut movie, I’m seriously wondering if Stark is about to get a nasty shock. Perhaps even…the highly anticipated Giant-Man reveal is about to take place?
Cut back to somewhere near the beginning of the movie, with Captain America facing against Crossbones.
Cap seems to be outmatched.
Notice also how there are a lot of civilians around – could Cap have tried to take him out, knowing civilians were around? It seems extremely unlikely, and I personally doubt that, but, well…cameras are everywhere. There’s always someone sticking around to film the **** going down. It’s rather likely that the governments of the world won’t see it that way when they see/hear about this.
Almost done, I promise. At what looks like the place where Cap and Bucky team up against Iron Man at the end of the first trailer, Cap looks to be a little rundown.
Not looking good there Cap.
Iron Man is asking him to stay down, not wishing to harm him further. Unfortunately, in one of the greatest lines of the trailer, Cap says ‘I can do this all day’, bringing us full circle back to his roots as a bullied asthmatic young man in Brooklyn. As if having a big showdown in Germany wasn’t enough ;). And for the sake of completeness, I’m 100% certain that this is where Bucky intervenes, just like he did nearly ninety years ago. I would bet…nothing on it, because I don’t gamble. If I was a betting man though, I would wager…still nothing, because I’m a poor uni student.
Just saying though, Cap clearly could not do this all day.
He unleashes a can of whoopass on Iron Man. This is probably before he gets his face smashed in.
Regardless of whether Bucky intervenes or not, we still have an amazing beatdown on Iron Man – who probably barely feels it through the armour, but it’s a beautifully choreographed sequence.
Nearly at the end. We see the factions run at each other, in a manner that reminds me of a big splash page from comics.
Epic run ups are epic.
Epic superhero long shot is epic.
Fade to black. Title card. And one of the greatest entrances in history.
‘Alright, I’ve run out of patience’ Stark says before shouting ‘Underoos!’
Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly…
Trailer ends with a simple ‘Hey, everyone!’
Hello to you too, Spidey. Welcome home.
Thoughts + Speculation
As the subline above implies, all this is my own speculation, and likely won’t actually end up being true. For the sake of thoroughness…
Disclaimer: No one has ever accused me of being Sherlock Holmes. I may well be wrong. This is pure conjecture.
I loved the trailer, and it was definitely one of the best I’ve seen in a while, but here are my thoughts and what I feel are the big questions raised. In no particular order…
- What the hell is Stark doing, bringing Spider-Man – a 15 year old kid – overseas to Germany? How did he manage to convince his aunt? Why is she OK with him just going off on his own?
- I love how Tom Holland’s youth really shines through, with his voice and how eager you can tell he is to see what are basically his childhood heroes standing in front of him. Remember that he’s 15 or so in this universe, so he was born in about 2001. It goes without saying then that he was 7 when Iron Man entered the world, and 11 when the Avengers assembled. There’ll definitely a lot of hero worship going around from Spidey, and I definitely hope that carries through in his performance. And his youth will definitely serve to set him apart from the other Spideys we’ve seen on-screen.
- Will Spider-Man turn on Iron Man? There is precedent in the Civil War comics , but as Civil War is the debutante film for this incarnation of Spidey, the audience won’t be as emotionally invested and thus him changing sides wouldn’t have the same emotional gutpunching power. But while Spider-Man may have been the most famous turncoat of the pro-Registration side, he wasn’t the only one to turn traitor…The other turncoat of whom I speak is of course, the Invisible Woman from the Fantastic Four. Now, the rights for her character are tied up at Fox, so all they can do is draw inspiration from her part in the Civil War comics. About halfway through the miniseries, there was a major death, that of Goliath (Bill Foster), aligned with Captain America. Killed by accident by a cyborg clone of Thor, his death changed the game entirely and escalated it from a heated disagreement to full out war. Members of both sides jumped ship.A parallel then could be drawn by killing off a pre-existing hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.Let’s look at the team sides:Team Iron Man: Iron Man, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Vision, War MachineTeam Cap: Captain America, Falcon, Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Hawkeye.
War Machine has been hinted to die, but I feel that such a pivotal moment would be kept off a trailer, so it’s quite possibly a red herring, though we can’t rule it out. Spider-Man, Black Panther and Ant-Man can’t die, period, since they headline their own films later in the Phase 3 slate. Neither leader can die in the midpoint battle. Vision is an android…so I’m going to go out on a limb and say it doesn’t matter if it ‘dies’. Scarlet Witch is a powerhouse that Team Cap sorely needs, so she can’t die midway either. Black Widow won’t die, as the midway battle at the airport definitely would take place before the conversation shown in figure 23.So it seems that the only possible candidates for death are…Falcon and Hawkeye. Falcon hasn’t been around as long as Hawkeye, so being a well-respected, founding member of the Avengers, Hawkeye would be my personal pick to die in the midway battle.Furthermore, this would provide an impetus for the Black Widow to turn against Stark. In the scene shown in figure 23, Stark says ‘they’ are coming for her, to which Natalia replies ‘I’m not the one who has to watch their back’. The reports of the D23 footage shown last year have all said that Widow was fighting Hawkeye. Which leads me to wonder, did…did Black Widow kill Hawkeye?It seems unlikely that they’ll go that far, but perhaps he was caught in the collateral damage from someone. Refer to images 29, 31 and 32.
Co-director Joe Russo has said with Collider that they’ve made some ‘strong choices’ with Natalia and that ‘it’s something that…You always want to surprise people, you don’t want to make choices hat are easy. I always said what I loved about Breaking Bad is that Vince Gilligan always wrote himself into the hardest corner. I would watch an episode and go ‘I have no fucking idea how he’s going to solve this next week,’ and he would solve it’.
The death of her partner, best (and perhaps only) friend by her hands, or a teammate, would definitely fit that. Her warning to Iron Man could be interpreted as saying that his allies are fracturing after seeing how far he will go to ensure the Accords are upheld.
- Is Black Widow going to change sides? figure 43 certainly shows her to be rather relaxed, but I think that she’s going to stay with Iron Man, at least in that moment. Right before the shot of figure 43, we see Iron Man with his helmet off. Now would he have his helmet off unless he felt like he had Cap beat? It seems that they’re simply surrounding the rebel Captain. Then again, that is a very, very relaxed method of surrounding…could they have taken out everyone else on Team Cap? At this point in time, it seems that Widow is still on Iron Man’s side, since she talks to him later in person.
- Who is behind the helicopter trying to take down Black Panther and Winter Soldier? Someone is clearly completely OK with shooting down a head of state, causing a potential international incident…unless they knew that Panther would survive? It could be Baron Zemo at work, but from his lack of presence in the trailers, I’m envisioning him to be more of a behind-the-scenes mastermind.
- James Gunn, director of hit film Guardians of the Galaxy and currently in the process of directing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has gone on the record saying that Tom Holland is THE Spider-Man we’ve long awaited, to Spider-Man just as RDJ is to Iron Man, just as heath Ledger was to the Joker, as Chris Pratt to Star-Lord. So having said that, a lot of people are going to be coming into the movie with very, VERY high expectations. Lower amount of screentime due to late casting or not, Spider-Man has to be one of THE moments people are talking about after they see this movie. He looks off to a great start though.
- Bucky tried to shoot Stark in the face. Is there some kind of brainwashing at play here? It seems to go against Bucky’s claim that he ‘doesn’t do that anymore’.
- Is Iron Man speaking to Bucky when he says ‘I was wrong about you. The whole world was wrong about you’? He doesn’t seem particularly agitated, so I’m not leaning towards him saying that to Cap. It would be fitting if he was to get a much larger role – to be the new Captain America – since in the comics after Rogers’ ‘death’, he actually did take up the shield for a while. Iron Man reconciling with him would go a long way towards that. Let’s also not forget that the actor Sebastian Stan has a nine picture contract, and Civil War is only his third appearance. Odds are good that he’ll get the shield passed on to him.
- I think that, contrary to the comics, Captain America does not die, but is merely imprisoned. In the images of the prison, we see that Tony actually has his arm in a sling. Now, given that he definitely starts the movie uninjured when he appears at Avengers HQ, stunning everyone there (no sling! Just a snazzy suit), why then is he suddenly injured when he appears inside the prison? Perhaps he’s already fought with Captain America, and – by ignoring the specifics – ended up imprisoning the former soldier! This too could explain why he is there – because he’s visiting his fellow comrade, America’s fallen son (interestingly, Captain America: Fallen Son was actually in contention for the title of the movie).From a logistical viewpoint, this would make sense too – Captain America: Civil War is currently the second last film on Chris Evans’ reportedly six film contract, making his last appearance for this contract be one of the Infinity War halves.Although, he’s recently said that he’s open to a renegotiation and extension of his contract, so he might well continue on in the role. Regardless, imprisoning him would serve to remove him nicely from the rest of the Earth-based films until all hands are called on deck to battle Thanos in Infinity War, where he (and probably a lot of the old guard of Avengers as well) can go out in a blaze of glory.Having an irreparably fractured friendship and imprisoning the man he once had so much respect for would serve to do just as well for a tearjerking, emotional moment. Perhaps even more, because since he’s kept alive, both of them are embittered. To be crude, dead people don’t feel.However, it is indeed entirely possible that the Russo brothers could kill off Captain America at the end of this movie and bring him back using one of the MacGuffins Marvel has built their entire cinematic universe so far around – the Infinity Gems. The Eye of Agamotto wielded by Doctor Strange, for example, has been heavily hinted to be the Time Gem, which Strange could use to bring a dead Captain America back to life temporarily by taking an earlier version of Cap from the timestream.Alternatively, the Soul Gem, which has yet to be introduced, could come into play, literally resurrecting Captain America from the dead. At this stage, with the information currently available, anything goes.
As I said before though, Chris Evans has openly stated that he’s now open to extending his contract, and only an idiot would remove an actor of Chris Evans’ calibre if they didn’t have to. The movie, while taking a lot of themes from the Civil War comics, is NOT a direct adaptation. And…Captain America technically didn’t even die during the Civil War! In fact, he died a while afterwards whilst being taken to trial (but not really, because comics).
In the end, the question on all the fans’ minds remains: will Captain America die in this film?
I could go on, but that would be another 1000-3000 words, so I will end it here for now. Part Two is coming
soon never. Thank you for bearing with me, and leave your thoughts in the comments!
If you look at the top of this screenshot, we see that Winter Soldier’s arm is gone! Looks like Tony either blasted it off or Black Panther slashed off the arm with his claws.