ByWilliam Avitt, writer at

I have to start off by saying that I have no idea what Mark Millar's political leanings are, or Joe Quesada's for that matter. I'm sure I could probably Google it and find out, but the simple fact is, I don't care. I know what Denny O'Neil's political leanings are far too well, because he can't seem to write a comic without injecting his own politics into it. Whether you agree with Mr. O'Neil's politics or not, projecting his own views on to characters who shouldn't hold those views just comes off as out of character and you end up with a man-hating Lois Lane who is so b*tchy that Superman would never, ever love her. Or you end up with a pants-suit-wearing Wonder Woman who is altogether uninteresting. In short, it doesn't work. Dennis O'Neil also gave us the left-wing crusader that Green Arrow became, and that worked, but that was because Green Arrow was mostly a clean slate. He HAD no personality before O'Neil and Adams got ahold of him, so whatever they did would have fit. That said, the fact that I don't know what the politics of the writer and Editor-in-Chief of the comic in question are is a testament to them and to the work they created. Civil War is a very politically charged story and it is impossible to really look at it and not keep the politics intact, and what makes it great is that every character has their own politics and the story itself didn't seem to be pushing an agenda. It was just interested in telling a good story and letting the characters act the way they would in the situation given. The makings of any great story.

Right now, regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, Civil War has the potential to speak to you politically. The comic book Civil War, and quite probably the movie version as well, is basically the story of two characters, Iron Man and Captain America, and how they each deal with the idea that the US government is pursuing the idea that superheroes, like everything else in the country that moves, should be regulated by the all-supreme government. Iron Man, whose heart is softened by a tragedy involving a team of amateur superheroes filming a reality television series, starts to believe that with all of the awesome power superhumans have, they should be trained and regulated. There should be some kind of oversight, forcing those with great abilities who choose to put on a mask and use their abilities in public to take responsibility for whatever repercussions arise from their actions. Sounds legit, right? Then you have Captain America. Captain America is originally approached by S.H.I.E.L.D. to head the team that would track down and apprehend any superbeing who refuses to get with the new Superhero Registration Act once it passes. Captain America refuses. He argues that forcing superheroes to reveal their secret identities and register, even if the government intends to keep those identities secret, is a violation of their right to privacy. What if the information is stolen by hackers? What if some unscrupulous government official uses the information for nefarious means? Captain America's arguments also seem legit, right?

Civil War, while being a very politically charged tale, did a fantastic job of presenting both sides of the argument and allowing the reader to decide for themselves who is the bad guy and who is the good guy. Admittedly, Iron Man does kind of come off a little like the villain, but it is very subtle and I can't say that I'm not just reading that into it because, as a mostly libertarian myself, I sided with Captain America through this whole thing. While Captain America 3: Civil War is going to be quite different than the comics (with Spider-Man not being under the Marvel Films banner, when he was a main character in the book, it will have to be) this is one thing that the movie needs to take away from the comic. It needs to remain a deeply political story. That worked so well in the comics, and it is really the only way the story works well at all. They also need to keep the narrative neutral like it is in the comics. We don't need this picture to become some preachy thing that tries to tell us how we are supposed to feel about it. The comic seemed to understand that there are Liberal comic book fans, there are Conservative comic book fans and there are Libertarian comic book fans. The comic did a great job of not alienating any members of the audience based on politics, and the movie would do well to keep that in mind as well. There are comic fans of every ideology, and none of us want to go to a movie and feel alienated. Do what the comic book did, just tell us the story and let us decide whose side we are on.

Another thing the movie needs to take from the comic is that it needs to have lasting repercussions on the other films in the MCU. If this movie ends with the status quo restored, it is going to be a huge disappointment. The Civil War comic ended with Captain America surrendering his Secret Avengers to Iron Man and being taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D. The Superhero Registration Act is enacted and there is a 50 state initiative put in place that places a superhero team in every state in the union. There is Avengers Academy, a training facility for super powered beings who are aspiring superheroes, and Captain America is assassinated before he can go to court for his "crimes." Several superheroes, who refused to register, went underground and S.H.I.E.L.D. was tasked with bringing them to justice. Admittedly, the aftermath of the Civil War wasn't really handled that well, and I sincerely hope the films do it better, but Captain America 3: Civil War needs to be a universe-altering event. This needs to be the turning point in the MCU where nothing will ever be the same again. Or, at the very least, until Avengers: The Infinity Gauntlet, when our heroes will once again need to come together and save the world. Civil War has the potential of making Phase 3 an amazing movie-going experience. Maybe even better than the supreme experience Phase 1 was, chomping at the bit for every movie in the anticipation that The Avengers was getting ever closer. Phase 2 has been severely lacking in the anticipation department. The biggest thing that [Captain America: Civil War](movie:994409) needs to do, it needs to make us leave the theater impatient for the next MCU movie.


So... Whose Side Are You On?


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