Fascinatingly, the Captain America series has developed into the surprise soul of the money-printing marvel universe. The Captain scribes smartly moved the character from his origins in a fun-but-lightweight traditional first movie to give him sharply political bent in The Winter Soldier, balancing a compelling superhero story with undertones of 1970s political-paranoia thriller. Chris Evans’ stoic and forthright super-soldier has been turned into a hero with deep suspicions about the encroachment of government into society – evidenced by his (justifiably) cautious stance towards SHIELD’s measures in The Winter Soldier.
These themes will be reinforced in the next Captain America entry, as next year’s Civil War pits Captain America and his supporters (Falcon, Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, Sharon Carter) against Iron Man and his team (War Machine, Black Panther, Vision. Black Widow, Spider-Man); the latter’s squad supports something called the “Superhero Registration Act,” legislation that threatens to put the Avengers (and all superheroes) under the government’s thumb.
Of course, Cap’s team doesn’t support those laws – and the result is a colossal, Smash Brothers-style melee in the Marvel Universe. Sounds like a good bit of thoughtful fun, right? Well, in preparation for this Royal Rumble, let’s break down the teams to see who has the edge:
Team Iron Man
LEADER: Iron Man
The rock star of the Marvel galaxy. A genius, playboy billionaire with a smart-ass mouth. Potential roadblocks? Ego, a gnawing drinking problem, a propensity to create robots hell-bent on controlling the earth.
SECOND IN COMMAND: War Machine
A solid military mind clad in a suit just as powerful as Iron Man’s. Sure, he doesn’t have the wit that Tony does – but his calmer nature would probably serve as a benefit in battle. The Omar Bradley to Tony’s George Patton.
WILD CARD: Black Panther
Purely out of mystery. Panther (Chadwick Boseman) won’t have his own movie for another few years, so he’s being rolled out (alongside Spider-Man, of course) to fight on Iron Man’s team in this one. A genius fighter clad in vibranium (the material from Cap’s shield) – this should be an intriguing showdown.
SECRET WEAPON: Vision
Poor Paul Bettany was stuck doing voice work until he came to life as Vision in Ultron. His reveal was one of the movie’s highest points, and one of the most intriguing ones. He’s an all-new hero that boasts some of the best powers of anyone one the team, and he could be a potential game-changer against Captain’s strong lineup.
POTENTIAL WEAK LINK: Black Widow
Sure, she’s the world’s deadliest assassin. But she’s also super, super close to Captain America; after all, they teamed up to take down Hydra in Winter Soldier. Couldn’t that submarine her in battle?
Team Captain America
LEADER: Captain America
The steadfastly principled super-soldier fighting against the superhero registration act. He’s got all of the physical skills, but can he possibly be hamstrung by those same rigid principles that brought him into conflict with Iron Man in the first place? Something to consider going into the showdown.
SECOND IN COMMAND: The Falcon
The similarities with War Machine abound – skilled military veteran with the ability to fly around. He might not be as heavily armored as War Machine, but The Falcon’s no pushover.
WILD CARD: The Winter Soldier
Judging from the trailer, it looks like the resurrected Bucky Barnes will jump from trying to take out Captain America to fighting alongside him in Civil War. An intriguing turn, but can he be trusted in battle?
SECRET WEAPON: Scarlet Witch
Mind control, magic and crazy bursts of energy? Intriguing. That’s a powerful addition to a team that’s a bit short on the actual super in the superhero department.
POTENTIAL WEAK LINK: Ant-Man
The movie was a delightful bit of fun, and Ant-Man does seem like a wonderful utility player (if a gimmicky one) on Cap’s team – but is he going to get too starry-eyed at the prospect of serving with the Avengers to be effective?
THE VERDICT: It seems painful to admit, but going into the film, you have to consider Cap’s team a bit of an underdog – especially when you consider that Captain should have the tacit approval of the United States government and the youthful call-up of Spider-Man behind him. It can’t be too huge of an advantage, though. Let’s give Iron Man’s team the betting odds the Seahawks got in last year’s Superbowl: 2.5 points.
Who do you think will come out on top in Civil War? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.