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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Shawn’s thoughts & Observations On The Captain America: Civil War Trailer

I meant to write this blog a week ago when I saw the Captain America: Civil War trailer at the library. But in between Black Friday book promotion, uploading videos, editing four books, and preparing for next year’s cover Kickstarter, I have been SUPER busy. But after seeing the trailer for Captain America: Civil War I’m definitely counting down the days until the movie opens. This one looks like another great one from Marvel Studios. 

Yeah, Marvel Studios isn’t directly adapting the Comic storyline Civil War from the comics. And that’s a good thing. Marvel’s Civil War storyline from the comics just isn’t adaptable to the screen. There’s no way Disney can sell a movie where the inciting incident of the story is supervillian murdering a school filled with children to the core audience of families and children. That’s just not gonna get a PG-13 rating from the MPAA.

And it’s not gonna sell to the audiences of moms and kids who spent over $1 billion dollars all over the world who made the original Avengers movie the top movie at the box office. Nor will it sell with the audiences of families and children who made Avengers: Age of Ultron a billion dollar hit this year. Marvel Stuidios parent company Disney knows who’s paying all the money for all those movie tickets and they don’t want to alienate that big audience.

So we get an adaptation based on original ideas. Like the possibility of Winter Soldier a.k.a Bucky being framed for a crime he possibly didn’t commit. And Cap trying to get to the bottom of it.

And Black Panther. Black Panther onscreen was just AWESOME.

I know some comic fans are griping about the change in story, but the original Marvel Civil War was a creative and PR disaster for Marvel. It split the declining comic book audience and made many long time comic fans stop buying Marvel Comics altogether. Worse, it turned the once fun Marvel Universe from a black and white world into a dark angry place filled with shades of gray. The inciting incident of the comic book Civil War is a supervillian named Nitro murdering a school filled with small children just to kill the New Warriors, a team of superheroes filming a reality show. And in response to this tragedy the government wants to control superheroes with the proposed Superhuman Registration Act. As the heroes take sides in this re-hash of the Mutant Registration Act storyline of 1986, Cap says the heroes should remain independent while Tony Stark sides with the government.

And as the heroes debate their ideologies, Tony Stark and his illuminati friends make a clone of the missing Thor that kills Ben Foster aka Giant Man, and the man behind the Iron man starts making the kinds of unethical compromises that would make the TV version of Oliver Queen look like a saint in comparison. And instead of heroes fighting the good fight against evil, they start fighing against each other to prove whose idea of doing the right thing is the actual right thing. Is the government right for wanting to regulate heroes? Or should heroes remain free to fight the good fight against what’s truly evil?

Now I thought this question was settled back in comics in 1986 after that horrendous Mutant Registration Act storyline in the X-men comics, but after 9/11 some dimbulb at Marvel decided to re-hash it to make a commentary about the Bush Administration and its war on terror.

Unfortunately while the heroes debated this ideology they wound up making the kinds of moral and ethical compromises that show what evil they’re capable of. Making us all question what “good” truly is and if the “good guys” are really doing what’s good for us or what’s good for them. Now that may be deep stuff that makes people think, but it doesn’t make for fun comic book reading.

Especially when the final climax of the story is the death of Captain America.

Yeah, that’s the kind of ending that’ll make those Moms want to take their kids to see that next Marvel Studios movie next year. While a couple of thousand comic fans may love them some Bucky Cap from the Brubaker/Epting run of comics but he doesn’t sell millions of action figures like Steve Rogers does. Just head over to a Toys R’ Us or a Target where he still clogs the pegs to this day.

So I understand why the story was drastically changed. Disney knows it’s a long road to Avengers: Infinity War Parts I and II and all it takes is one bad movie to sour the moviegoing public on Marvel Stuidos films. A Captain America: Civil War based on the Comic book version of Civil War would have split the movie audience just like the comic audience and cost Disney the billion dollar budget they’re planning for that film before a single penny is spent.

Disney and Marvel Studios knows it can’t risk alienating their core audience of families and children with so much at stake. They spend more on movie tickets and merchandise than any other group. So Civil War is basically gonna be heroes fighting heroes with a bad guy being the puppet master, not some super dark allegory about the morality of what is truly good. If anything all we may get at the end of the story is someone like Sikorsky being the U.N.liason between the Avengers and the government like in the oldschool comics.

And I’d be happy to pay money to see that. 

I hated that whole government regulating superheores story back in 1986 when they ran it in the X-men with the Mutant Registation Act and I hated it when they re-hashed it in Civil War. With comics being America’s mythology it just seems unpatriotic to run a story about superheroes needing government regulation. One would think those who fight to protect the freedom and rights of others would want the right to have that freedom to operate independent of any government control.

After all, that’s the difference between the Avengers and the Marvel’s old Soviet Super Soldiers. The Avengers were an independent organization with support from the government, the UN, and nations all over the world, While the Soviet Super Soldiers were a government controlled and government funded superteam. Heck, Crimson Dynamo was a just an employee who was paid by the government to wear his armor. No one pays Tony Stark or Steve Rogers to be superheroes, they fight the good fight because they believe they’re doing the right thing.

I’m really looking forward to seeing Captian America: Civil War. From the trailer I watched, it looks like a great movie. Yeah, the story has been changed from the comics, but comic fans need to understand that Superhero movies are adaptations of comic book characters and comic book stories. And while a superhero in the movie may be named Captain America and Steve Rogers, he’s a completely different entity than the character in the comic books. They may look the same and sound the same but they’re two different people. That’s why this Captian America is part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not the 616 one in the comics.

And in the Cinematic universe where things are adapted, not copied, sometimes plot points and story elements are changed from the source material to make them work onscreen and to sell to a larger audience like those moms and children who spend billions of dollars on movie tickets and action figures. The changes in Captain America: Civil War do not mean a return to the horrible storytelling of the Joel Schumacher Batman films of the 1990’s, it just means that Disney and Marvel Studios are trying to create the best quality film experience for the largest audience possible.

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