Today I saw the worldwide release of the trailer for the third, and potentially final*, instalment in the stand-alone Captain America series, Civil War. Except this time he’s not standing alone. Joining him for this climactic romp are Black Widow and Falcon, returning from Winter Soldier, as well as (breathes) Hawkeye, Ant-Man, War Machine, Black Panther, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man and Iron-Man. Many films before have fallen foul of ‘too many villains’, especially Spider-Man 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Here, I have to admit I’m worried about there being too many heroes for a change – and worried that Spider-Man will bring his apparent curse to the series.
There are also villains here, with Crossbones, Helmut Zero and Hulk antagonist, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross – as well as Martin Freeman in an unspecified role, perhaps as himself getting mixed up in affairs after an attack on the set of Sherlock. Oh, and The Winter Soldier himself, Bucky Barnes, is back too. Now I don’t know about you, but this list of names feels a little overwhelming to me. And I’m not entirely sure who everyone is, and this is a big problem the film faces – making me care about a massive group of people and a whole bunch of crap I don’t care about. But if anyone can pull this off, it’s Anthony and Joe Russo. The First Avenger was a bit pants, and Captain America was a bit pants himself in the first Avengers film, but somehow The Winter Soldier (in my opinion) is the best Marvel film yet.
It was a tense, spy-thriller with a great story, top acting, and actually made Black Widow a really well-rounded and integral character, not just a bundle of clichés there to flirt with the men and look hot. The film utilised a large number of characters, but did so well by focusing in on only a few – and that’s what Civil War needs to do. Keep The Cap at the heart of everything, and please keep Black Widow a main player. As the trailer reveals, the film’s central conflict is between Cap and Iron-Man, a conflict that has been building with decreasing subtlety through these films, climaxing in a large chunk of Avengers: The Long Weekend of Ultron essentially being a trailer for this film. This conflict centres around regulating heroes, but thankfully the Russos have woven in the resolution of Bucky. So we have four potential leads in Captain America, Iron-Man, Black Widow and Bucky Barnes. Hopefully the rest of this burgeoning cast will be supporting players, or even just glorified cameos.
The biggest reveal in the trailer is arguably the Bucky seems to have regained some of his personality and memories, as he recognises The Cap. The Bucky Barnes-Steve Rogers story has been the spine.running through this series, and here we will find its closure – but not without plenty of collateral damage, as the trailer suggests The Cap will have to fight Iron-Man to protect his friend. There’s huge potential for high stakes emotional drama, illustrated at the end of the trailer where the Cap stresses to Iron-Man that Bucky is his friend, and Iron-Man replies, quite simply, “So was I.” We also see Iron-Man cradling the body of a seemingly defeated War Machine in a (Tony) stark scene.
There’s going to be an awful lot going on in this film, but the evidence from this trailer and the previous form of the Russos is enough to keep me optimistic that it’s going to be a real treat. If you haven’t seen the trailer, or the first two Captain America films, go check them out because it’s all well worth a watch:
*It is likely that after Avengers 3 Part 2 (I’m hoping that the two parts are for more awesome and not more dollar) Chris Evans will hang up the cowl. I expect that it will be taken up by someone else, most likely Sebastian Stan.