MovieBob - Intermission
The Unanswered Questions of Age of Ultron, Part 2

Bob Chipman | 23 Jan 2015 12:00
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Captain America: Civil War will be the first Marvel movie to directly follow Age of Ultron (Ant-Man is technically coming out first, but is apparently going to be doing its own thing.) All anyone knows about it is that it's loosely based on the Civil War storyline from the comics, will carry said storyline's main through-line of Cap and Iron Man being newfound enemies leading ideologically-opposed teams of superheroes, that its events are directly tied to the already announced arrival of a new Avengers lineup for Avengers: Infinity War Part I and is apparently big enough in scope that at one point Marvel wanted to make Spider-Man's first appearance in the MCU (and thus another reboot of the Spider-Man franchise) merely one of its subplots.

We also know what it won't be: A direct adaptation of the comic series, where the story launched from the Superhero Community disagreeing over the suggestion that their activities fall under government regulation amid the fallout from an incident where a hero/villain battle spun out of control and destroyed a school full of children. But if not that, what are these guys going to war over? Sure, it looks like Ultron's existence is largely Iron Man's "fault" in Age, that doesn't really seem like something that'd win him his own set of followers. So what's going to go down to break-up The Avengers?

Well, that leads to another obvious question:

The second episode of a genre franchise is typically "the dark one," and Marvel has been pretty well married to that trope as witnessed in the Cap and Thor sequels. And since the MCU is already crawling with (literal) death-defiers, there aren't many ways to raise the stakes than knocking off some of the principal cast. Plus, it's a way to make things "real" for certain characters, perhaps leading them to make the kind of life-changing decisions that could lead to a Civil War among super-pals.

Oh, one more thing? It's as good a way as any for anyone looking to get out (or be gotten out) of their contracts. With that in mind, here's the scenarios I can most easily imagine:

SCENARIO #1: Hawkeye Is Dead Meat
I actually really like the fact that the Marvel movies preserve the unique logic of comics whereby any skill is useful if the character wielding it is sufficiently "cool" and well-liked. That said... Hawkeye just isn't that interesting, even beyond the arrow gimmick, mainly because they elected to use the boring Ultimate version of the character whose just a S.H.I.E.L.D guy rather than the reformed-supervillain of the mainstream Marvel Universe. One snag: He's also not-interesting enough for his death not to carry much weight. (P.S. Black Widow is in Civil War, so she's probably safe.)

SCENARIO #2: The Hulk is "Dead" Meat
The Hulk can't die, but he can be neutralized - at one point, they tried putting him on a spaceship and shooting him offworld. If something like that were the end-result of the Hulk vs. Iron Man fight (i.e. if Stark appears to have "killed" The Hulk) that would almost-certainly be something worth fighting over. Conversely, if The Hulk did something unthinkable while in his enraged state, that could be the sort of thing that'd make Stark support something like the Civil War comics' "Registration Act" conceit. But what could Hulk (accidentally) do to cause this?

SCENARIO #3: Pepper Potts is Dead Meat
(See Scenario #2.)

SCENARIO #4: Thor is "Dead" Meat
Thor's presence as an Avenger presents a minor story-problem for the entire Marvel Universe: It's reasonable that Captain America might think twice about summoning The Hulk for backup against HYDRA, but if the God of Thunder is out and about why wouldn't he be your first pick for every mission?

Straight to the point: Thor needs to be taken off the table in terms of regular access to the rest of the Universe, and "killing" him would serve that purpose nicely - with the added bonus of establishing whoever or whatever might do the deed as supremely dangerous. "Killing," of course, is in quotation marks because in traditional Marvel terms Asgardians "die" by going to (literal) Viking Hell; an attempt to escape from which would be as good a starting-point as any for Thor Ragnarok and still allow for him to return for Avengers: Infinity War Part II.



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