Why Marvel’s ‘Captain America: Civil War’ May Confuse Audiences

Throughout the next five years, there’s going to be no shortage of superhero movies to see between Marvel and DC. Perhaps the most anticipated release though is the next Captain America movie, following the Civil War storyline from the comics that pits Avenger mainstays Captain America and Iron Man against each other. Armed with a cast list that includes virtually every major (and minor) character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’ll be the most ambitious undertaking for the studio since the first Avengers movie back in 2012.

The list of heroes and villains includes (but is not limited to): Captain America, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Agent 13, Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, Baron Zemo, Crossbones, Black Panther, Vision, Thunderbolt Ross, Falcon, and War Machine. Rumors have also flown around about the small possibility of Mark Ruffalo reprising his role as the Hulk, although Chris Hemsworth’s Thor will almost definitely remain decidedly absent.

But will this clutter work for or against Civil War? On one hand, some of the better sequences in the two Avengers films have been the ones where our heroes do battle with each other. There’s an innate sense of curiosity within all fans that always leads us to wonder: Who would win in a fight? In a movie that divides all our favorite heroes right down the middle, that question will finally get a definitive answer. Even so, we’re left to wonder if that’s a question in need of answering. On one hand, it’ll be a battle royale of beloved characters. On the other, it’s a whole lot to pack into one feature film, especially with DC having released a similar concept with a much simpler premise months before Civil War‘s May 6 premiere.

That DC/Warner release is of course Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, giving us an even bigger superhero throw-down in the form of the Dark Knight taking on the Man of Steel. While Civil War will bill itself as a Super Smash Brothers melee of every Marvel character, Dawn of Justice is in many ways the heavyweight prizefight. Ask yourself, would you rather watch a mess of characters go at each other for two hours over Congressional legislation (read up on Civil War, that’s literally the central point of conflict), or see two of the most iconic heroes of any comic in a much more focused and nuanced fight? Playing devil’s advocate though, the sub-par reception for Batman v Superman also might have left the door wide open for Civil War. 

Of course if history tells us anything, it’s that more superheroes has never not worked. Just look at the record-breaking box office numbers for both Avengers movies, and we can see that comic book clutter has never been a problem before with audiences. For every pump of air into the bubble though, we can only wonder when it’ll eventually pop. Civil War‘s sheer ambition could very well make it the one that does just that, with Dawn of Justice setting them up just a couple months in advance.

Even so, it’s not inconceivable that both films will succeed once the dust settles. People want one thing right now, and that thing is superheroes. Come May, this’ll be put to the test in a big way, giving them what they’ve been clamoring for in spades. It could backfire horribly, or simply be the next logical step in an ever-growing franchise that will only get bigger in the next year. Regardless of the outcome, Civil War‘s release will be pivotal to say the very least.

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