Next May we will see the Marvel Cinematic Universe divided, specifically over the “edicts” which is some variation of the Superhuman Registration Act from the comics. In part, that requires revealing your secret identity. It’s an ideological divide, a political battle of safety and security over freedom and civil liberty. Last week my fellow scribe Militant Ginger brought you the line-up of heroes on each side (see his post and the fantastic teaser art here), and I’m going to try and break down the teams and the expected match-ups.
Team Iron Man: Pro-“edict”
Iron Man. Tony Stark may be arrogant and anti-authority but he’s also scared that he can’t protect the ones he loves. The Battle of New York deeply rattled him (The Avengers, Iron Man 3) and he saw a vision of the Avengers dead at the feet of Thanos (Age of Ultron). And he’s been philosophically at odds with Steve Rogers since they first met about super-powered people. Tony wants to see such people under government control.
War Machine. He’s an active U.S. soldier, so no surprise that James Rhodes sides with the government and his long-time friend/armor-supplier Tony.
Black Widow. A little surprising Natasha Romanoff chooses Tony Stark over Steve Rogers. She has no secrets anymore after releasing all SHIELD and HYDRA files to the world (Captain America: Winter Soldier), but she does believe spies need to operate in the shadows. Is she actually a spy for Captain America?
Vision. The Vision is an innocent and idealist, who may not see the complexity of freedoms and rights over protection and safety.
Black Panther. Civil War will see the debut of T’Challa, the ruler of African nation Wakanda, as the Black Panther. Until the recent teaser art, it was assumed that Black Panther would be on the sidelines of this fight. After all, why would a foreign king get involved with “the edicts”? More likely he would be seeking the vibranium stolen by Ulysses Klaw and used to create the Vision (Age of Ultron). But there is history between Wakanda and Stark, as Tony’s father Howard Stark clearly obtained vibranium for Cap’s shield from Wakanda during WWII. And this may be a hint that the edicts aren’t limited to the U.S.—after all, Ultron tried to destroy the world in Slobovia or Elbonia or wherever that was.
Captain America. Winter Soldier established that Cap’s stars and stripes stand for the American ideal not the American government. Cap is a great warrior but this is a political battle.
Falcon. Sam Wilson goes where Cap goes. End of story.
Winter Soldier. Bucky Barnes is a brain-washed murderous enemy agent. But I suppose he gets better, and will follow Steve Rogers as his childhood friend and former commander.
Hawkeye. We saw in Age of Ultron that Clint Barton goes to great lengths to protect his family. This father of three will stop at nothing to keep them hidden and protected.
Ant-Man. Like Hawkeye, Scott Lang needs to protect his family after the events of his solo film. But more important, will we see Ant-Man ride one of Hawkeye’s arrows? Fingers are crossed.
Iron Man vs. Cap: I give Cap the edge because of the combat experience. And it’s his movie.
Winter Soldier vs. Black Panther: Tough one. I give the edge to T’Challa. But we might see this fight end as a draw.
Hawkeye vs. Black Widow: I give this to Hawkeye if he can choose the ground and get some distance. In close combat, Natasha already took him down once (The Avengers).
Ant-Man vs. Vision: The Vision over-matches Ant-Man by a long shot. Unless Scott Lang pulls off some genius invention to shut down the Vision.
Falcon vs. War Machine: War Machine takes this one, with the superior firepower.
Of course, there could be a lot of mix and match. Even tag-teaming. Or running and hiding. Not sure where Sharon Carter will jump in. And somewhere in this melee, they need to go after the bad guys Crossbones and Baron Zemo.
Thor. Won’t be in the film, he’s off dealing with the doom of the gods known in Norse mythology as Ragnarok.
Hulk. Probably not in the film, although Mark Ruffalo was seen on the set. Likely only a cameo as Bruce Banner.
Scarlet Witch. Hmmm, now that’s interesting as she is definitely in the film and part of the New Avengers. And she may have been the spark that set this all aflame.
Aunt May. It’s confirmed that this film will see Marisa Tomei’s debut as Aunt May. Will the plot center around each side trying to win her allegiance? She will be wagging her finger accusingly at one team, and feeding warm cookies to the other team, which could tip the scales of the battle.
Spider-Man. Another Marvel character debut for Civil War. The comics put Peter Parker at the heart of this dispute and he even unmasked to support Tony Stark before switching sides to Captain America. As his first appearance in the cinematic universe, the unmasking isn’t likely. We may only see him as conflicted, the wishbone Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are pulling apart as symbolism that the teams on each side are tearing each apart.
The battles start May 6, 2016.