(This article contains spoilers for the Marvel Civil War comic book, you've been warned...)
I don't know if there has been a Marvel film for which the anticipation has been as high as for [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409), perhaps not since the record-breaking The Avengers came out back in 2012.
For fans of Marvel comics though the titling of this film may have seemed a bit odd off the bat. The [Marvel: Civil War](tag:2346746) is a huge event in the universe, encompassing many individuals and superhero groups coming together and breaking apart on opposing sides over an issue which had long been brewing in narrative tensions and collateral damage. Captain America is a very important figure in it, but he's not the only one.
The two central characters - Captain America (Steve Rogers) and Iron Man (Tony Stark) - are at this point close friends, though not without their ideological clashes. Iron Man choses the registration side out of guilt after being confronted by a grieving mother (above). Captain America choses to oppose him out of a belief that super-powered beings should not be used to fulfil governmental purposes, as that power can be abused:
"Don't play politics with me, Hill. Super heroes need to stay above that stuff or Washington starts telling us who the super-villains are." Captain America (Civil War)
So, why Captain America: Civil War? Why not Iron Man: Civil War, or more likely Avengers: Civil War? 'Cause this aint primarily an [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) sequel baby, this is all about Cap.
"[We’re] bringing in some of the other players, most importantly Tony Stark, to tell that Civil War story. But it is very much a sequel to Winter Soldier." Kevin Feige
The Case for the Russo Brothers
In case you hadn't heard yet, Civil War is for all intents and purposes an end to the Captain America trilogy (take from that regarding Cap's survival what you may). With [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](tag:254973)'s overtones of cold war paranoia Civil War works well as a thematic follow-up, and with the Russo brothers at the helm again I have no doubt that Civil War will be just as finely crafted and well received as it's predecessor was.
In fact, it is largely due to the fact that Anthony and Joe Russo proved themselves on Winter Soldier that I believe they're the right directors to tackle Civil War. It's a very nuanced arc in the Marvel comics; regardless of which side you agree with, there are no real winners in the end.
Cap's side tends to be the most sympathetic but Stark's actions are understandable too. Most of the severe damage is done by outside forces like S.H.I.E.L.D. and Ragnarok (the cloned Thor); notably Goliath's death and the Spider-Man vs. Thunderbolts fight which is hard to watch and ends with a brutally beaten Spidey. When the dust settles, as Stark says when he stands over Captain America's lifeless body; "It wasn't worth it."
You can't give something like this to other Marvel directors, especially as most of them tend to land on the light hearted fun side of things. There's not much jolliness in Civil War. Shane Black (Iron Man 3) showed that he's not very good at thematics - preferring to touch upon them before tossing them out the window; James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) has the fun colourful subtly of a sledgehammer; Joss Whedon ( [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035)) stumbles with group/character development within cinematic limitations.
Not that I'm saying that any of the above are bad directors, just ones that perhaps don't have the proper touch for this subject matter. There's no humorous capers or snappy dialogue here, it's a bleak world that our heroes find themselves in this time around.
The Russo brothers are one of the few I think can pull off the polarising Civil War, and pull it off well. Kevin Feige is pretty confident that they're going to be able to do so, and he'd know better than I:
"[Civil War]'s very much, in a certain way, the completion of a Captain America trilogy. I think one day you’ll look back and watch - Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War - and it’ll be one of the most unique and different trilogies ever around a single character."
To be honest, it's not like we have a lot to compare Captain America to in terms of Marvel trilogies. There's Iron Man, of which the three films have had varying degrees of success. (Whether or not we're getting an Iron Man 4 is a matter of much contention, but at least for now we have a complete trilogy.) Then there's Thor, which had a strong start under the Shakespearean actor/director Kenneth Branagh but a weak follow-up with Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor, but the overall merit of that trilogy won't be settled until [Thor: Ragnarok](tag:956858) in a full two years time (November 2017).
Captain America: Civil War will be the next instalment in the MCU, and regardless of how close to the source material the film stays it's certainly going to be one of the most important thus far as it kicks off Phase 3, leading us down the road to the Infinity War. Surely it's going to be one hell of a trip.
Captain America: Civil War will be released in the USA on the 6th May 2016, directed by the Russo brothers and starring Chris Evans (Captain America) & Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man).
Whats your favourite Marvel Cinematic Universe film to date? Tell us in the comments below!