Captain America: Brother Against Brother

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.


About Matthew Bowman

Matthew Bowman is a traditionally-minded Catholic convert and freelance science fiction and fantasy editor, which means that he's in high demand in a small population. Fortunately, he loves talking about stories. And Catholicism. And history. And philosophy. And lots of other stuff.
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7 Responses to Captain America: Brother Against Brother

  1. kentbook says:

    Looks pretty good to me!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shamrock31girl says:

    I really like how you mention them choosing to zoom in on Steve and Tony instead of trying to capture a huge realm of characters and events. I am so looking forward to this movie, and that trailer really does hit hard. I’m not a huge fan of Tony Stark/Iron Man (Team Captain America over here!), but oooh man, his character is portrayed so well in this trailer. In fact, I think I’ll just watch the trailer again 🙂 ~AnneMarie


    • Tony Stark is so frequently an ass that I can’t like him half the time. The other half, I see stuff like this. Just usually not as strong as this.

      Downey Jr., on the other hand, has become a great role model. I don’t often say that about celebrities. I don’t think celebrities should be held up as role models most of the time. Sometimes, though, it becomes obvious.

      Liked by 1 person

      • shamrock31girl says:

        That’s cool about Downey Jr-I pretty much never pay attention to celebrities and think about whether or not they are role models, so that’s pretty neat that you bring it up. Judging by the trailer, I’d say he’s done a fantastic job portraying some great development to the character in this film. And honestly, this trailer makes me want to go back and find more redeeming qualities in Stark from the other movies, because this trailer definitely helped me see a lot more depth in a character who I don’t look admirably on much at all.


        • Downey Jr.’s rise out of addiction, focus on family, and awareness that kids look up to him are all keeping him on “role model” status. Here’s one of my favorite videos, where he’s acting in character as Tony Stark while delivering a prosthetic arm to a seven-year-old. The best part is at 1:08, when the kid is asked if he knows who that is, and he responds “Iron Man”; Downey Jr. breaks character and looks excited, because he’s succeeded in his goal of being a hero to this kid. You can see it all over his face. But it gets even better a moment later when the kid also reveals he knows who “Iron Man” really is, and Downey Jr. looks surprised. It’s almost like he wasn’t sure he could ever be a hero to a kid under his own name.

          Anyway, as for Tony Stark himself — look at how the character has evolved over time. He went from being completely selfish and consumed with daddy issues to not just saving the world, but doing so while giving the leadership role to Captain America. He’s used to being in charge, but he steps aside both in corporate and superhero work to make sure that better people handle those things. He’s become aware of his limitations.

          That’s coming back to hit him harder, as you saw in Avengers: Age of Ultron when you saw his greatest fear: failure. He created Ultron as a way to stop that fear from coming to life. Now he’s afraid that no oversight, no checks and balances, no unity will doom them the next time. When Steve Rogers goes rogue, he feels both professionally and personally betrayed.

          So he’s an egotistical womanizing warmonger who’s learned over time that he’s not the best in the room, he’s settled down with one woman, and he’s trying to make the world a better place. He’s still deeply flawed, and those flaws cause problems for more than just him, but he’s the character who’s seen more growth than the Hulk’s pants.


  3. Civil War is by far my favorite story arc in the Marvel comic universe (maybe even of all time) so when I found out they decided to make a movie of it I was immediately ecstatic. I agree that I had my concerns about the scale of the movie versus the comics- taking out the Xmen and Spiderman left a lot of important players out of the loop. I assumed that Marvel would simply assign the roles to other characters (like Stark creating Ultron) but then they added Spiderman into the mix. He’s the character I’m most curious about, and he isn’t really shown in the trailer at all so he’s a complete wild card at this point.

    Definitely enjoyed the article, and the take on Tony vs. Cap being the major hook of a much more personal adaption. The comics definitely speak to this conflict, but I think the movie will do an even better job showing the pain of these characters, particularly with the actors portraying them being so good at what they do. Overall I was psyched before the trailer hit, and I’m just as excited about it now!


  4. Pingback: Captain America: Uncivil Behavior | Novel Ninja

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