Dear Marvel: Literally No One Wants a Civil War Movie

captain america shield, feature image,

During NYCC, Marvel flashed a teaser for a new Civil War series in 2015, by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic. The following Monday, rumors started flying that Robert Downey, Jr. had signed on to be in Captain America 3, and the internet put the puzzle together: oh God, they’re going to make a Civil War movie.

Civil War. W: Jonathan Hickman. A: Esad Ribic. Marvel Comics, 2015.
Image from CBR.

Civil War, for those not in the know, was a 2006 crossover event primarily written by Mark Millar that put Captain America and Iron Man at odds over a proposed Superhero Registration Act, which would force superheroes to go public with their identities and essentially become agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Let’s be real: Civil War was a hamfistedly allegorical post-9/11 pseudo-intellectual machoist posturing slapfight between Tony and Steve.

Okay, maybe I’m editorializing a bit. But it is true that Civil War has long been one of the most contested and disliked events in Marvel history, with the major critique being that the behavior of all the characters involved was way off the map and that it dismantled years of continuity for what ultimately was not that compelling of a story. In my experience as both a fan and a retailer, Civil War is often cited as the reason a lifelong reader dropped Marvel for a while.

Once the movie rumor gained traction, the Internet exploded:

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There is, of course, another side to this story: people who liked Civil War. There are many who stand up for the concept of the event and overlook its sloppy execution. Since my Twitter dash has been an unending barrage of hatred since the announcement was made, I asked, directly, who enjoyed the event and why:

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There is also the point that Black Widow’s actions at the end of Winter Soldier (SPOILERISH) undo the idea of Civil War as she comes forward and basically shoves the Avengers in everyone’s faces—and a Captain America movie is going to stay faithful to the MCU timelines first and foremost. If Marvel does do an adaptation, it’s likely we won’t see one that is entirely faithful to the original event; it could be different altogether, possibly based more on this upcoming Hickman title than the Millar books of old. Either way, it’s a hotly contested announcement that will definitely be forgotten about in a few hours.

Ivy Noelle Weir

Ivy Noelle Weir

Ivy Noelle Weir is a Librarian, Writer, Photographer, and feminist geek out to ruin everything you love. She tweets excessively at @ivynoelle.

4 thoughts on “Dear Marvel: Literally No One Wants a Civil War Movie

  1. Civil War, the comic, was a mess, but I’ve been happy with the MCU storytelling so far. I don’t expect them to take the story to the scope the comic did, but I think they could do something interesting with it all, especially with what has been set up with the Hydra business (assuming Agents doesn’t exhaust that storyline).

  2. I think the Civil War plan is a great idea. The Winter Soldier storyline was changed quite a bit for the film and the same can be said for Civil War. I find it weird that fans who get upset when films take some liberties with characters of storylines would be upset that Marvel Cinematic Universe will be adapting this particular storyline. I haven’t read Civil War. I trust people when they say it’s terrible but wouldn’t it be nice to see Marvel take on a cool premise and finally make it the event we all deserve? Marvel has yet to have a flop and they’ve been making smart decisions. I don’t think Feige would just chuck in Civil War for the hell of it and I’m sure he’s been planning this for a while especially when we saw what happened at the end of Cap 2. This won’t be the Civil War we know. We need to stop thinking that it will be just like we need to understand that the characters/storylines that we DO enjoy will not be exactly the same on screen either. This is a completely different medium.

    Anyways, I think Civil War would add really great conflict to the movie universe. I just hope that we also see Thanos/Infinity Gauntlet battle too (preferably after Civil War).

    1. Well, ultimately Winter Soldier was Bucky coming back as an amnesiac assassin. The core of the story still occurred. Same with origin stories for most characters – they were tweaked and updated, but the cores remained. The core of Civil War is heroes fighting heroes. In general don’t like it in comics, and Civil War was a particularly heinous example, both in the extent of the personal betrayals and the harm caused, and in the poorness of the justification of it. It’s possible that by rewriting 90% of it, they could justify the MCU Avengers tearing into each other, make it plausible, but I still wouldn’t want to see it because I like my superheroes, in the main, fighting bad guys and not each other. (And if they don’t fight each other, it’s not Civil War at all.)

      1. I suppose I wouldn’t mind heros fighting if both sides were portrayed as rational and thoughtful. Two good people fighting because they can’t agree on a principle can be interesting — two good people fighting because one turned evil *isn’t*.

        But I think that begins to take us away from the superhero genre, into something else entirely. Not to slam the genre but it’s not great at the subtler nuances of morality and ethics. It’s a genre in which conflicts tend to be heightened.

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