The United States Civil War is often described as being a conflict wherein brother fought brother. It’s a poetic description, but as accurate as only poetry can be. It is both literally and metaphorically true.
Marvel Comics’ Civil War event, a cross-title storyline in comics that hit mainstream attention even before Marvel movies became household commodities, was a massive event involving a staggering number of characters. It was grand, sweeping, had unprecedented consequences, and is completely impossible to duplicate in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even if they stop ignoring the events of the Agents of SHIELD TV show and mention the Inhuman outbreak, they just don’t have enough established characters to duplicate the storyline. Civil War was only possible because of decades of events and stories for Marvel to draw on.
So how do you cover the same idea in two hours of screen time, with only a few movies to draw on? Well, the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War is out, and we have our answer. When you can’t draw back the camera for a cast of thousands, you get up close and personal with a gut punch.
Holy cannoli. Did you feel that gut punch? I did.
The trailer is under two and a half minutes long. Over two minutes are straight-up Marvel action movie goodness. Explosions, powers, intrigue, moral quandaries — it’s all there. Then you get to that line. Three words that change your perspective on the whole film.
Steve Rogers: “I’m sorry, Tony. You know I wouldn’t do this if I had any other choice. But he’s my friend.”
Tony Stark: “So was I.”
Just when I thought Robert Downey Jr. couldn’t impress me more . . . this happens. You have literally less than a second to look at his face, and yet you can’t miss the pain, anguish, and betrayal written all over it.
Suddenly, every argument they’ve ever had has been cast into a new light. The trailer itself has another one, earlier than this point, where Tony says he wants to punch Steve in his “perfect teeth.” They bicker like only brothers can.
And then, right after those three words, the words that turn this action movie into something far deeper, we see Captain America and the Winter Soldier savagely beating Iron Man to the ground.
So we have our answer. How will Captain America: Civil War bring that feeling of terrible, heart-wrenching disaster and change to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the way that Civil War did for the original comic book continuity?
Brother against brother. We don’t just see friends take sides. We zoom right in and see the pain up close, and oh so very personal.