Monday, July 15, 2024

OK, let’s discuss it: a (very different) 2nd trailer for Marvel’s Civil War

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Finally, another trailer for Civil War premieres! One that has already elicited some strong reactions. Maybe this isn’t surprising; Marvel did a good job of Beyonce-ing us fans and giving even more hype material…actually, most of the material in general…from their upcoming film. But I figured I’d add my own thoughts and analysis, because apparently talking about trailers is what I do. Plus I’ve got that comic book insight for you.

A quick recap for those who watched and then blacked out from excitement, or need a refresher on the comic: Two men whose superhero personas were born from warfare argue two sides of the same coin. On one hand you have Cap, the embodiment of the American Way, against the treatment of superheroes as an everyday service akin to firefighters and police officers.

And then you have Iron Man, haunted by the unprecedented carnage of his and his compatriots’ endeavors to save the world. The aftermath of the destruction caused from the last few movies will be felt for generations, and he feels that checks and balances must be enforced in the superhero community lest they lose control completely.

All in all, I appreciate the style of this trailer much more than the last one. It’s Civil War; I already know that there will be action scenes galore. No need to inundate me with those, I want to see more. Perhaps the purposeful early release was to gain excitement, lull us into a state of anticipation, and then smack us with a plot and a surprise. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first trailer’s approach in comparison. In fact, I was actually complaining to my boyfriend not even a week ago that the first trailer was lacking, so I’m glad this one swooped in to save some fears I had.

As someone who has read the Civil War individual comics as well as the graphic novel compilation (thanks college classes), it’s good to finally see the entire conflict brewing amongst the MCU characters in the trailer. I honestly thought that Marvel was taking this into a whole other direction from the looks of the first trailer, making it World War Bucky instead of the multi-faceted series we were given.

Even now, we are not explicitly given the word “registration,” which was almost a trigger word, and used frequently in the graphic novel. This would have been something of a small shock to me, as Marvel has been taking care to give us plot lines that at least resembled the serials. Maybe it was done to build suspense, but after too many plays in the theaters and on TV, the lack of plot or context was frustrating. Okay, Cap and Tony are fighting. About WHAT THOUGH? Somehow they made the mistake of centering the plot on Bucky and Tony’s hunt for him, which just confused me.

It’s not all about you, Bucky. You’re still cute though.

To affirm the notion I had, I asked my peers. One coworker who did not read the comics told me that trailer #1 looks like purely a hype video- something to make the general audience excited about what is to come rather than substance. And while I am not the “general audience” in this case (mostly because I was not super excited on the first go around) I must agree. The cinematic value was well-executed, but not enough for me and others to ignore that trailer #1 had no plot. Another coworker was almost too excited to respond, but did commend the second trailer for actually giving us fans something to explain without just spoiling everything.

Excuse me for not hopping on the hype train immediately, but I love an epic series, fraught with conflict and context. Civil War did that with some of my favorite Marvel characters, already established and then pitted against each other over the fundamental value of accountability in the superhero world. This movie should serve as an exaggerated parallel to real problems in our world today, rather than solely be a plethora of fighting scenes. I mentioned before that trailers can be known today to show too revealing, but this can be an opportunity for Marvel to once again prove that they can be progressive, and give us just enough to keep us interested while giving substance. 

Of course I understand that it cannot be the exact Civil War that many have grown to love. The X-Men and Fantastic Four cannot be included, firstly. That either allocates most of Reed Richards’ inventions to Spidey, Tony, or Hank Pym, or makes them disappear completely. For example, Thor (spoiler for the novels) will not be recreated as a murderous droid that changes the state of the war completely, as that would first require Ragnarok events to unfold. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage won’t be joining in on the fun either, although they are featured originally. That difference especially saddens me, as Netflix gave us a fantastic first season, but still have a ways to go before any potential movie gigs for the duo.

To top it off, the original destruction that started this is not the same featured in the movie, although that is justified (and kind of a relief- not sure if I wanted to see that kind of environment blown up again by immature metahumans). But unlike certain adaptations we know and love to critique here, I actually praise Marvel for rolling with the punches and making it their own. My biggest wish would be for this to be a series of its own- 2 or 3 movies, maybe. Considering the much smaller scale and their already leaked filming schedule, I’ve already accepted that it would be unlikely at best.

What is a little disappointing is Black Panther’s role in this film still being under wraps. Considering the involvement of Wakanda in Avengers 2, I know that Bucky cannot be the entire reason that our prince dragged himself from halfway across the world. Yet, all we see is him chasing Bucky down. If I see this movie for nothing else, it will be my Wakandan prince, but the only clue I have for his presence is what looks like a government building (the U.N.?) blowing up and a black man crawling out of the rubble. So this may be personal, and possibly includes the former Winter Soldier.

And last but not least, everyone’s freaking out about Spider-Man’s fourth wall shattering appearance, somewhat released from Sony’s clutches. I definitely smiled for a few minutes straight, and rewound even after I was told he was in it. Thank goodness, honestly. If I saw one more reboot attempt that didn’t at least involve one other superhero OR team, I and probably most of the fandom would explode.

He’s also a notable part of Civil War, acting as Iron Man’s #2 on the political foreground. Judging from his intro at Tony’s call, it does not seem too different here but hey, Marvel seems to handle differences with grace. I’m hoping that Sony will just take Spidey from this point on, and show that his involvement can be much more than the science nerd with spider powers and various, disposable villains. Plus, we just don’t need to see Uncle Ben dying again. Ever. Again.

What’s up, Underoos!!

Well, that’s it for my analysis. It looks like this second trailer is giving us a lot to think about, and even more to look forward to. And we don’t even have a main villain intro yet! While it is not the spectacle that it would be with the addition of more heroes (looking at you, Sony) I have much higher hopes than I did three months ago, and apparently higher hopes than my colleague (or fewer worries, perhaps).

With only one movie to encapsulate it all, this it can raise the stakes for Marvel if they pull it off correctly. Marvel’s keeping us in the dark about a lot of things that non-reading viewers will probably love reveal wise, but still giving us the intensity of Civil War to pull people familiar with the series in. 

And let’s be honest, would we really not see this film regardless of the trailer quality? Please. I’ll see most of you in May.

All images courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

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