** SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War lurk within **
What do you get when you take a newly-born android created from a Vibranium-based body and the artificial intelligence of J.A.R.V.I.S., and cross it with a troubled young woman who could grow to become one of the most powerful enhanced beings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? You get the budding romance which is the potential power couple of the MCU — Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany).
There's a lot to love about Captain America: Civil War, but Olsen's Scarlet Witch was definitely one of the breakout characters of the ensemble piece. Her long-running romance with fellow Avenger Vision — a staple of their comic book counterparts — was heavily hinted at, if not officially introduced, but it's only a small part of the reason why we love her in Civil War. Here's a snippet from her most recent TV spot:
On the other side of the super-powered coin, Vision was another high point of the movie. Even though he didn't get very much screen time when compared to the other members of Team Iron Man, there's already a very clear character arc being set in motion for him, and a lot of it has to do with his interactions with Wanda.
Both Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany spoke a little about his dynamic prior to the release of the film. Bettany explained to Collider that Vision is now interested in love, loyalty and what it means to be human, while Olsen says they bond over their powers, both of which originate from the Mind Gem embedded in Vision's forehead.
And Vision's interests conflict with his duty during Civil War — as he tries to balance doing what he believes is the right thing based on his algorithm regarding the rise of enhanced humans and the rise in global conflict — with exploring his own humanity. And it's this humanity which trips him up during the battle at Leipzig Airport.
During the end of the fight Vision attempts to bring down Falcon who is in pursuit of Iron Man but, distracted, he instead hits War Machine in the chest plate with an energy beam, shorting out his suit. Rhodey falls to Earth and — despite the efforts of both Iron Man and Falcon to reach him — hits the ground hard enough to fracture his spine, causing long-lasting damage that we see later in the movie.
This recalls two incidents from the Civil War comics — both the martyring of Goliath and Vision's big panel scene from the final battle where he phases through Iron Man's chest plate to disable his armor momentarily, allowing Cap to gain the upper hand and turn the battle in his favor.
But that's not all this moment does, as we see highlighted in a later conversation between Tony Stark and Vision:
Tony Stark: "How did this happen?"
Vision: "I became distracted."
Tony Stark: "I didn't think that was possible."
Vision: "Neither did I."
Vision was, of course, distracted by Wanda, who he was holding as she strained to stop the wreckage from falling down upon Cap, Bucky and Black Panther.
Bettany has expanded upon this in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, and the pattern of behavior which lead to that Big Mistake, costing Rhodey the use of his legs (hopefully only temporarily). This mistake, Bettany explains, was the price to pay for Vision's first "real emotion and real human reaction."
"What happened there is that [Vision's] judgment was clouded there by real love and affection. And he responded in a quick and thoughtless way.…I really love that the moral compass of the movie is this synthetic person who’s trying to figure out what it means to be human. It’s a neat idea, you know?"
Throughout the entirely of Civil War we're seeing this friendship developing between Vision and Wanda, and clearly there's some romantic feelings mixed in there too. But to Vision — whom Bettany describes as "incredibly naïve" — there's a degree of a lack of understanding about what these feelings are, because he's a being born of pure logic.
When the drama kicks off and Vision is given the task of confining Wanda to the Avengers Facility, he's still trying to protect her logically without letting his feelings towards her influence his judgement and actions, or get in the way of his loyalty to Tony.
But then during the battle at Leipzig, despite the fact that they're standing on opposite sides, he goes to her immediately when she falters, supporting her even though she overpowered him and put him through several floors the last time they met.
According to Bettany, that's the moment when he has his first real human emotion, and it might not necessarily be love, but it's as close as Vision has ever been. And it's because of that sudden rush of emotion that he makes the Big Emotional Mistake and ends up really hurting one of his allies.
There's a certain note of irony about it, as in the comics Scarlet Witch infamously made the Big Emotional Mistake prior to and during Avengers Disassembled and House of M, when her emotional breakdown cased a reality-altering event and killed some members of the Avengers, including Vision and Hawkeye.
And what of Vision now? This event will obviously influence things for him going forward, since now he's going to be hesitant to let his emotions influence him in future. We don't know when he and Scarlet Witch will meet again, but likely it won't be until Avengers: Infinity War rolls around.
Will the two be able to reconcile their feelings towards each other after all that has passed between them? There's a long road until we find out for sure. And sadly this means we'll probably never get to see Vision in a bathing suit which, in retrospect, might actually be a good thing.