ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

(Warning - possible Captain America: Civil War SPOILERS below...)

Now, in Marvel Comics' history, there have been few more divisive story-lines than 2006-2007's Civil War - with the plot's division of two of Marvel's greatest heroes similarly dividing fans, families and friends across the comic-book world. After all, when we're being forced to decide between Iron Man and Captain America, there's no telling what's going to happen...

Which, of course, is set to be a pretty major problem for millions of fans around the world over the next year, with the impending release of Captain America: Civil War inevitably set to divide opinion once again.

And, as Robert Downey Jr. just pointed out while en route to the film's set:

It's Time To

We work weekends ..for your viewing pleasure... #marvel #civilwar #pickyourside

A photo posted by Robert Downey, Jr. (@robertdowneyjr) on

And, while I'm sure RDJ would assure us that's an easy, armor-clad decision, we all know it's not that simple...

After all, we're talking about two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's greatest heroes, here - how are we supposed to decide which one of them to support?

Well, let's take a closer look...

The Plot (Thickens)

In the Comics: After a fight between inexperienced unlicensed heroes leads to a devastating explosion in Stamford Connecticut, killing hundreds of innocent people, a movement to register all superheroes emerges, with Tony Stark at its head. The Superhuman Registration Act forces heroes to register with the government, and to give up their secret identities - which many, led by Cap, oppose. This leads to all-out Civil War.

In the Movies: From the looks of it, a series of unfortunate, Hulk-related events - as well as Tony Stark's inadvertent Ultron creation - will lead the world to mistrust unlicensed superheroes. A similar (less un-masking focused) registration act'll emerge, and - it seems - Cap will oppose it, while Tony Stark will be very much on board. Our Avengers - plus a few special guests - will then divide themselves up alongside them.

Or, in Other Words: Cap represents freedom and individuality, while Tony represents responsibility and the needs of the many.


The Sides (Are Aching)

In the Comics: On one side, the likes of Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel and Black Widow take the side of the government, while numerous heroes, including Cap, Daredevil, Luke Cage, The Invisible Woman and Falcon, take up arms against the registration act. Spider-Man starts off on Iron Man's side, before being driven (by their increasingly authoritarian approach) onto Cap's team.

In the Movies: That...all becomes a little less clear. It's pretty safe to assume that War Machine'll be on Iron Man's side, and that Falcon and Scarlet Witch'll be on Cap's. Beyond that, Black Widow would seem likely - but not absolutely certain - to also join Cap, while Vision, Ant-Man and Hawkeye all seem pretty up-in-the-air. Spider-Man may or may not pick a team, but if he does, all rumors point to him starting on Tony's side...

Or, in Other Words: It'll be Cap and the cool kids versus Tony and the (occasionally) responsible adults...and possibly Spidey.

And, finally (and crucially):

Who's the Villain?

In the Comics: Despite writer Mark Millar's best efforts to keep the sides pretty equally balanced, Iron Man's pro-registration forces quickly came to be seen as being firmly in the wrong, with pre-emptive attacks on Cap, the killing of one of the anti-registration heroes, and the afore-mentioned increasing authoritarianism. In the end, though, they still won...kind of. Hearts and minds stayed firmly on the side of Cap...

In the Movies: There seems to be relatively little chance that we'll see Tony Stark go off the villainy deep end to quite the extent he did in the comic-book version - even going so far as to bug his own allies, and clone one of his closest friends - but seeing as the movie is called Captain America: Civil War, he's still pretty locked in to playing the antagonist. Expect a more anti-heroic portrayal than in the comics, though - with RDJ's natural charisma dialed up to 'lovable dictator.'

Or, in Other Words: Neither of them'll really be the villain. Hopefully. I'm not sure any of us could actually deal with hating RDJ's Iron Man...

The big question, though?


Which side are YOU on?



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