We’ve gotten off to a bit of a slow start at the cinema in 2016, but there’s still a busy year ahead. And there’s probably no single project that’s going to be a bigger deal that Captain America: Civil War, the latest effort from Marvel Studios due out this May. As the third film in the Captain America franchise, but one that looks more like a collaboration akin to the Avengers projects, this looks like one of the studio’s biggest films to date. Here are five reasons you’ll want to go see it.
*disclaimer: this is a guest post*
1. New Characters
Let’s get the most obvious reason out of the way right off the bat. While Marvel has done a pretty good job of keeping fans interested by introducing one or two minor characters with pretty much each new film, Civil War appears to be kicking things up a notch. In fact, looking through the official IMDB page for the film, it looks like we’ll be seeing a whole host of new characters.
To begin with, we’ll see roles for both Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), each of whom has only been in one Marvel movie to date. We’ll also see Martin Freeman taking on a mysterious role, Daniel Bruhl as Baron Zemo, and possibly even Marisa Tomei as Peter Parker’s Aunt May. But taking center stage will be two brand new heroes Marvel’s tossing into the fray in Civil War. The first will be T’Challa, aka Black Panther, who’s set to be played by Chadwick Boseman both now and in a future standalone Black Panther film. And the second (and by far the biggest headline) will be Spider-Man, re-cast yet again but making his way into the Cinematic Universe for the first time. Promising young actor Tom Holland will play Peter Parker this time around in what’s certainly one of the most anticipated roles of 2016.
2. The Story Is Fascinating
Unless you’re a particularly avid comic reader, you may not actually be familiar with the general story we’re going to see in Captain America: Civil War. It’s a relatively recent line of comics, having been written primarily between 2006 and 2007. However, it’s also one of the most fascinating stories in Marvel history. This outline tells the full story, which extends well beyond the Cinematic Universe and involves characters like Mr. Fantastic, the X-Men, and others we won’t be seeing. But the general idea still shines through: basically, the government puts together a Superhuman Registration Act designed to identify superheroes and hold them accountable for their actions. Captain America refuses to comply, whereas Iron Man – spooked by his own destructive potential and that of his friends – signs on. Thus, two factions emerge and the Avengers begin to struggle against one another, backed by their respective teams. It’s going to be a refreshing new look for Marvel movies that won’t simply pit superheroes against some new, all-powerful villain.
3. War Machine May Have A Coming Out Party
If you’ve been paying attention to the hype cycle for Civil War, you may have noticed a popular theory that Lt. Rhodes, aka War Machine, might die. Indeed, the previews certainly make it look like he’s in trouble, and he’s an expendable character for a franchise that probably needs to kill someone off to maintain anything close to a realistic plot progression.
But forget about all that for a second. War Machine is Marvel’s biggest, baddest number two man, and it’s actually been that way for a while. He’s been in three Iron Man movies, earning his Iron Man-like suit in Iron Man 2 and playing a pretty major role in Iron Man 3. In fact, he’s even been a prominent sidekick on the video game front! This site prides itself on a variety of bingo rooms that include television-inspired games, but it also has film-inspired casino gaming options – and among the Marvel games, War Machine gets about as much attention as Iron Man himself. Plus, screen time and casino gaming appearances aside, War Machine is played by Don Cheadle. He’s a bigger deal than most other supporting characters in Marvel, and it’s about time he got his due. Given that he’s the natural counterpart to Captain America’s buddy Winter Soldier, we may well see a coming out party this time around.
4. You’ll Need To Know It
This is a smaller, simpler point, but a vital one nonetheless. Occasionally, a Marvel project is released that a casual fan can happily skip without worrying about any sort of gap in understanding. For instance, Guardians Of The Galaxy has yet to factor into the Cinematic Universe in any way, and Ant-Man was essentially a side project. Even the popular Netflix series Daredevil and Jessica Jones aren’t really vital to understanding cinematic events, despite the fact that they take place in the same entertainment “universe.” But this isn’t one of those movies. Even if you hold only a passing interest in Marvel, this is a vital piece of the puzzle. You’ll need to see it to understand what’s going on in the films to be released in the coming years.
5. The Possibility Of Surprise
Marvel loves to drop in unexpected characters, and with a pretty big cast of characters in Civil War, it might actually be pretty easy for them to sprinkle in one or two we haven’t heard about. That could mean an appearance of an existing character like Daredevil or the Hulk, neither of whom is expected to appear. But it could also mean the subtle introduction of a new character who might factor into future films – like we’ll see with Black Panther or Spider-Man, but unannounced. The fun of this idea is the surprise of it all, though if you’re intent on speculation, you may want to keep an eye on this game, where Marvel will sometimes feature characters in accordance with their immediate relevance on TV or in film.
Aside from all these reasons, this actually looks like a very enjoyable film. But if you’re looking for the specific factors that might set it apart from any old superhero movie, these are certainly some to consider.
This is a guest post by Los Angeles-based writer Jordan Milsap.
A lifelong Marvel fan, Jordan cannot wait to see how Captain America: Civil War changes things in the MCU.