As someone who was essentially raised on comic books, I've been leaving movie theaters in an excited, punch-drunk haze ever since Marvel started the phase-based Avengers project. Things only got better when the Russo brothers got their hands on Captain America. This isn't to say that Joe Johnston did a poor job - The First Avenger was probably my favorite movie to come out of the Phase One solo films - it characterized Cap perfectly, as a weak young kid who just wanted to change the world, and when he was given the opportunity to, didn't waver in his values. A few years later, The Winter Soldier came out, and the Russo brothers, unlike another director in Marvel's employment, stayed true to the foundation that Johnston had established while still building onto it with their own fantastic ideas. Everything that the Russos have done and expanded on with Steve Rogers has been wonderful, and up until the announcement of Civil War, I was beyond excited for whatever came next.
Let's get something straight first. Civil War is one of my favorite Marvel comic book plots. And I would have been beyond pleased for it to make it into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, if only it had been done at the appropriate time. The Civil War is your standard, Earth-shattering superhero event. The government introduces a bill that would force all mutants to register their abilities and identities, secret or otherwise. Teammates and best-friends-for-life Tony Stark and Steve Rogers come to a disagreement on the matter, Iron Man lobbying in favor of it while Cap protests against it. Their disagreement splinters the fabric of the superhero community, and everyone is dragged into their domestic, choosing sides and picking fights.
This plot makes for a great read, if you're up to buying every one of the comics involved - there are a ridiculous number of tie-ins - and you're okay with spending a few hours with your door locked so you can cry in peace.
Now, they're making a movie, and although everyone's been talking about it since before Age of Ultron came out, the buzz has gotten significantly louder with Marvel's release of concept art showing the two sides of the war. I've already said that Civil War is one of my favorite storylines, so I should be super excited about the movie, right? That's just the thing. I am excited, stupidly so. I'm also incredibly worried. I can identify three elements of the film that could turn into real problems, and while I trust the Russo brothers, I really don't want to end up disappointed.
1. Who the Hell is Bucky?
The Winter Soldier has been widely acclaimed as one of the best superhero movies of all time, and one of the major plots of the film was never resolved, and has been eagerly awaited by everyone who saw it. In the film, Steve Rogers deals with growing corruption in the government agency he works for as well as the return of his best friend from the 40s, who has been brainwashed into a deadly assassin.
Up until Marvel announced the Civil War plot, it was pretty widely assumed that the next Captain America movie would focus on Steve and Sam Wilson looking for Bucky, like the end of the movie hinted. According to the Russo brothers, Bucky will be playing a "crucial" role in Civil War, but will his story be wrapped up, or will the movie's timeline skip ahead until after his rehabilitation?
2. Too Many Cooks
For about a month during pre-production for Civil War, it seemed like a new character was being confirmed for the movie every day. Ant Man, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Sharon Carter, Crossbones... the list goes on and on and on. As excited as I am to see the warrior prince of Wakanda on the big screen, I can't help but wonder if the studio is pulling a George Lucas and shoving way too much stuff into the movie purely for fan hype.
3. Brother Against Brother?
This one is definitely my biggest concern. The driving force behind the Civil War storyline is the tension between Captain America and Iron Man. They went from best friends that would have died for each other in a heartbeat to bitter enemies, each one fighting dirty to best the other. Their friendship had been established and reestablished and built up for decades by the time the Civil War storyline came around, and the sheer fact that the two were fighting was what caused all the other heroes to take sides. If Tony and Steve were arguing about something this much, it had to be something important. It's much harder to establish this kind of friendship in two movies than it is in hundreds of comic books, and I understand that. However, it's almost like they haven't tried.
Instead of establishing a friendship between the two so that the argument that leads to Civil War will be more impactful on the other heroes involved as well as the fans, Joss Whedon has been immediately building up angry tension, resentment, and general dislike between them. That's one way to go about leading up to an event like the Civil War, but it's a pretty lazy one.