Here it is at last: the first official trailer for Captain America: Civil War. And I don’t know how to feel about it, guys. On the one hand, I still really enjoy the Marvel movies. I’ve liked far more of them than I’ve disliked, and with only a couple of exceptions, I think the films of Marvel Phase 2 have been some of the best yet, and even some of the best superhero movies ever made, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier being right near the top of the list. But Avengers: Age of Ultron wasn’t especially awesome (though I maintain that it wasn’t a bad movie), and it seemed as though one of the movie’s failings was that it felt overstuffed. With the first Avengers film, Marvel had the advantage of setting up every character over several movies. By the time the crossover happened, we were already quite familiar with the villain, and we’d even been introduced to Hawkeye in the first Thor (remember that?). But in Age of Ultron, we had to give every one of the main characters an arc, plus an arc for secondary characters like Black Widow and Hawkeye, and then introduce new characters like Ultron, Vision, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch on top of that. Too many cooks! So while the trailer for Civil War definitely looks badass, there appears to only be one character in it (General Ross) who isn’t a superhero. Furthermore, there’s the question of carry-over continuity. At this point, it’s clear that neither Captain America nor Iron Man will die before the big, gigantic conclusion that is The Avengers: Infinity War. This trailer seems to show War Machine all limp on the ground – is he dead? I doubt it. Will anyone die? I’d be surprised. This is the problem with the Marvel films at this point. They’ve introduced so many characters, but they’re not removing any of them. Ideally, these films should have a rotating cast of characters, but they don’t, and there’s just no tension when they all feel untouchable. Spoiler alert, but the only character of note who died in Age of Ultron was a character they introduced for that film, and nobody really cared. Age of Ultron had no consequence on the greater MCU, and that’s the problem, guys. This is why I’m hesitant to get invested in Civil War: too many characters, but no consequences. Hell, we see Black Panther in this trailer, and he looks amazing, but we know he’s getting his own movie, so of course he’ll make it out just fine.
But on the flip side, this looks like the perfect culmination to the tension that’s been developing between the characters and the world they inhabit. It’s a good follow-up to The Winter Soldier‘s plot about SHIELD keeping NSA-style tabs on everybody, about Cap and Iron Man constantly in a tug-of-war over values, about the whole Bucky plot that has been going on since 2011. The fight between Cap, Iron Man and Winter Soldier looks awesome. And it’s being directed by the guys who did The Winter Soldier, which is far and away one of the best Marvel movies yet. So there it is.
Captain America: Civil War comes out May 6, 2016.