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Wednesday, October 15, 2014 

Forbes thinks Civil War is a "logical" choice for Marvel movies

Some poorly informed writer at Forbes thinks one of Marvel's worst company wide crossovers would make a great movie premise:
If Variety is to be believed, there’s trouble coming to the world of Marvel. According to Marc Graser, Robert Downey Jr. is in the process of closing the deal that make him and Tony Stark, essentially, the villains of Captain America 3, bringing the fan favorite “Civil War” storyline to the big screen. So when Downey Jr. said that he had no plans to do Iron Man 4, it would appear that he meant that only in the most literal sense. It’s not confirmed, but it would be the right move. And not just because this particular rivalry will bring in audiences when it hits theaters. Remember, Marvel plays the long game.
If they go ahead with a story based on Civil War, they're playing it short, and worse, they're using a storyline that was little more than an attack on post-9/11 politics like the Patriot Act as movie material. That's not what any sane person would find appealing.

I also take issue with their description of this story as a "fan favorite". The only kind of people it appealed to were the mindless collectors who lack objectivity, and speculators. If anything, it was definitely overrated. I'm a fan of Marvel's famous creations, but it does not include atrocities like Civil War, which make Secret Wars look like classic Shakespeare.

I'm also not sure why the writer isn't surprised Tony Stark's being turned into a villain. What, doesn't he like Iron Man? I thought we were supposed to be rooting for Tony, not hoping he gets clobbered as though he'd always been a villain! Just like Batman vs. Superman, this too reeks of "fanboy service", which hardly sounds like an idea with widespread appeal.
Scott Mendelson talked a little bit about how this is a perfect move for the summer of 2016, when Captain America 3 is going to have to go to head to head with Batman vs. Superman. He’s right: in that instance, Civil War is the perfect way to leverage the idea of our favorite superheroes fighting each other using its own powerful arsenal. But Marvel and Disney aren’t just trying to make $1 billion off of one movie. They’re trying to repeat that, in theory, forever. That’s why Civil War is truly important, not as a way to establish dominance in a hotly contested summer of superheroes, but as a way to ensure that the Marvel Universe as a whole stays vibrant for years.
I don't think it's going to if politicized tales that only existed to see heroes turning on each other become source material for films. Until now, that hasn't sounded like something audiences really wanted. What they did like about these movies was an unambiguous good-vs-evil premise, not seeing heroes-vs-heroes with little emphasis on fighting the actual villains. Good-vs-evil is becoming badly blurred in today's comicdom, and if this is what the moviemakers have in mind for their newest ventures, then fortunes may not last long.
Consider what we have to work with at the moment: we have our initially reluctant band of heroes who came together to fight what is understood as the beginning of a larger fight against Thanos, and we have the distant but still very much connected and profitable Guardians of The Galaxy. We have the impossible charm of Robert Downey Jr., which has served as the focal point for the Marvel Universe since Iron Man 1. We have the unifying thru-line of S.H.I.E.L.D and the Avengers. These extant plots have room to support a good number more movies, but they won’t last forever. Marvel is going to need some new blood and, more importantly, a new central conflict to make sure that the universe moves forward while holding together, and that’s where Civil War comes in.
And that's where I'll want to go out. I'm reminded of Tron: Legacy, sequel to one of the weakest movies about technology from 1982, where the only adversary seemed to be a younger computerized clone of Jeff Bridges himself. Only this time, the good guys-vs-each other theme would be more apparent. Some conflict alright. As for Downey's charm, he spoiled everything with the last Iron Man sequel.
Fracturing the world by pitting heroes against each other is the perfect way to re-invent the universe while keeping every character’s momentum intact. Captain America 3 will likely stay close to the Iron Man vs. Captain America conflict, but the concept of fighting superheroes also gives the opportunity for a whole suite of characters old and new to get involved, all with the potential for alliances and rivalries. It allows Chris Evans to take the reigns from Robert Downey Jr., at least until his contract is up. Most importantly, it gives us a new central conflict that can serve as a foundation for any number of spin-off movies, not to mention the possible integration of the X-Men and Spider Man, Sony willing.
At this point, I'm not sure many care about the Spidey movies. How would a clash between superheroes all for the sake of it keep their momentum intact? It could have the effect of putting the audience in the unpleasant position of siding against heroes they never wanted to dislike, and it won't make much difference if said hero was brainwashed by a villain; the whole hero-vs-hero theme is embarrassing and awkward.
The Marvel Universe has done very little but expand since its inception, and Civil War offers the perfect way to keep doing that while giving the audience the context in which to keep it all straight. Disney and Marvel will have to figure a way to shake things up again in eight years or so, but by then, this storyline will have given them the opportunity to introduce some new heroes to do just that.
Gee, I"m not sure how pitting heroes against each other is keeping things straight. It's just a recent theme by pretentious modern comics writers finding its way onto celluloid. Weren't we supposed to be rooting for both heroes alike and not wondering why we're supposed to side with one against the other? And "shaking things up" has become a poor substitute for character drama. I wasn't impressed by the plot offered up in Batman vs. Superman and a Captain America vs. Iron Man plot sounds no better. It only sounds like what I've noted before - the filmmakers have suddenly decided hero-vs-villain isn't their forte anymore and want to concentrate more on the heroes. Iron Man's been suffering from some very bad ideas in the comics lately, and this is no improvement.

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The whole "hero vs. hero" shtick was already a cliche' with Marvel by the 1970's. It's really only interesting to hard core fanboys, the kind of geeks who argue for hours on end about whether the Hulk is stronger than Thor, or whether Captain America could beat Wolverine. And a big-budget movie has to appeal to a much broader audience than just a few hundred thousand geeky fanboys.

Civil War might have had some potential, and might have been interesting, if it had acknowledged valid arguments on both sides of the registration controversy. Instead, it was just an anti-Bush, anti-Patriot Act allegory. Of course, now that Obama is president, the government is suddenly the Good Guys, and any dissidents are crazy, Tea Party, gun-owning, militia wingnuts.

Another problem with a Civil War movie: Marvel doesn't have the movie rights to all of their characters. Obviously, not every crossover has to include every single character, but a crossover event on the scale of Civil War or Secret Wars will seem incomplete without Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Fantastic Four.

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