So it’s pretty clear that gone are the days of a single superhero and a single story. Captain America Civil War was no less than Avengers 3, with all our beloved superhero characters appearing side by side.
But is it all getting too much?
In the last few years alone, the returnable characters have doubled or perhaps tripled, with new costumes, powers and catchy names.
Let’s look at the original Avengers team:
Captain America – Selected for a scientific experiment that changed the course of history, Steve Rogers was a World War II supersoldier frozen in time to reappear in the twenty-first century.
Iron Man – A millionaire genius, Tony Stark created the Iron Man persona as a weapon of escape when he was kidnapped, powered by an electromagnet in his chest which was keeping him alive.
The Hulk – Caught in a radioactive explosion, Bruce Banner is the sweet curly haired teddy bear (thanks to Ruffalo) who involuntarily turns into an enormous green monster when provoked.
Thor – Banished from his ‘other world’, Thor is a god of thunder who wound up in modern America with control of his super strength hammer and a certain god-like power over Earth.
Hawkeye – An orphan who grew up in the circus, Clint Barton used his archery skills as a performer until he joined Nick Fury’s team of ninja-like assassins for SHIELD. Now a family man, he’s a firm member of the Avengers and friend of fellow assassin Romanov.
Black Widow – Deadly and seductive SHIELD Assassin Natasha Romanov was trained as a soviet spy from a small child with a dark past. She’s worked on all sides of conflict, including alone, but has found a place with the Avengers with her best friend Clint Barton.
Sporting three Iron Man films, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark is the obvious ringleader, even stealing the spotlight from Captain America in his own franchise with the new Civil War film seeming to give an equal amount of screen time to both heroes.
But Stark is old news, because since the last solo Iron Man was released, a whole trilogy of Captain America films have been made, making the Cap the new go-to man.
And with this new box office rocket, we possibly see the two leading men fight for the prime spot on the team – an interesting development in the plot that gives a thrilling tension to the Avengers saga.
So then who the heck is this guy with wings, that other iron man dude, a creepy witch girl, Captain America’s metal-handed friend, the Jarvis ghost, some Jamaican-Nigerian black cat and now Mike from Friends?
Of course dedicated Marvel comic fans will know and love these characters but it is important to note that a large percentage of viewers and indeed fans of the Marvel movies will have no idea who many of these new characters are and where they came from.
And unlike series and series of comics, one individual movie cannot securely hold so many different characters without proper development. Age of Ultron was simply overwhelming and there doesn’t seem to have been any more justification to the new faces with Civil War.
Now that superheroes are multiplying by the second, they seem much more insignificant. Before long we’ll all be inhaling gamma rays and building iron suits – everyone else seems to be able to do it.
But it seems the introduction of so many new characters does not go without consequence since there was not one single appearance from Thor, The Hulk, and even Nick Fury.
If they are going to leave out any of the original Avengers cast, they chose the right ones – Hemsworth’s Thor bears the least charismatic weight in the team and Ruffalo’s Hulk perhaps diminishes the one-on-one personal aspect of the superhero fights.
But I’d have rather seen the rest of the original group than these new crew. Let’s have a look at the fresh meat:
Falcon: first appearing in the second Captain America, he’s not really a new face but he’s definitely an insignificant one. He has quite a bio on IMDB, suggesting a prominent role in the comics, but none of this is explained in the films. He just kind of appears. Now he just follows Cap around like his faithful pet bird but his ‘do-the-right-thing’ character adds nothing new to the team of avengers.
War Machine: What is even the point in him? He’s just another iron man, making The Iron Man like nothing of a big deal. Tony Stark being a unique superhero is far more interesting than being part of a double-act.
Scarlet Witch: Crossing over from X-men films, Scarlet Witch and her brother Quick-Silver were villains in Age of Ultron. They worked well as villains, but no need to keep them on. Just like Loki was a master villain in the original Avengers but having great one-off characters is an essential part of superhero success. It doesn’t mean you have to hang on to every single one of them. Yes, another female to the team is a great move but not one that seems weak, emotional and over-shadowed. Just leave it to Scarlet, my love.
Bucky Barnes: The whole trying-to-save-the-friend-brainwashed-to-do-evil was great, but it’s starting to get old. As a superhero, he’s not got much to offer. Just a metal hand – but when was that new?
Ant-Man: Finally an original idea, Ant-man is an okay addition to the team but Paul Rudd is a bit of a wet lettuce. His light-hearted comedy is nothing compared to the classic sarcastic (or should I say ironic) commentary from Downey Jr’s Stark. I’m a big fan of Rudd in his other roles, but his Scott Lang just doesn’t cut it. Interestingly we saw Lang’s story in full before he joined the team but he’s still a bit out of their league with the likes of Rogers and Stark.
Blank Panther: Again, as a superhero Black Panther’s cat like powers and his diplomatic-turned-vengeance character offer a slightly different stance on the conflict. Although, that accent will turn a few questioning glances. It seems we’ll be getting detail of his backstory too.
Vision: Created in Age of Ultron when Stark’s trustworthy Jarvis was made into a synthetic human being, Vision is a sort of the R2-D2 of the Avengers franchise. It’s an interesting addition but I’m not sure he works as an Avengers fighter, more of a side-character.
It seems Emily Thorne has made it out of that terrible E4 series, Revenge, as Sharon Carter played by Emily Vancamp. Martin Freeman also wanted some of the Marvel action… although he seems to be in it just for the sake of it, without much attention given to his story or character.
What everyone has been waiting for.
The draw-dropper addition that was Spiderman.
Our lovely Peter Parker will be properly immersed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to collaboration with Sony. Next we’ll be teaming batman and superman against Iron man and Cap America.
It was a brilliant move for Marvel because love or hate, of which many people did both, it was a bombshell. And if Marvel were running out of new ideas, they’ve just resurrected some surprise for the viewers.
Most were disappointed at the release of Andrew Garfield whose dawky teenager act brought him many dedicated followers. But it seems that they’ve topped this with fresh-faced teen Tom Holland. Bringing in his character was done right because everyone knows his story and he was just brought in for the fight, not for the political and emotional disputes of the team.
In fact, I am all for reining in all the superheroes for the big fight at the end. For me the fights are the necessary but not too interesting part of the story, the grabbing part is the progression of the characters. But it is too much to deal with when all these unknown characters are dropped into this at once. I say keep the original avengers team as the first movie, let the others drop in and out but don’t keep them too involved.
And For Christ’s Sake before bothering with these less charismatic characters getting solo films like Black Panther, Ant-man and now Spiderman with spin-offs coming from each one no doubt, give our original characters their say.
Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, Thor and Bruce Banner (with Edward Norton) have all had their chance to shine. But arguably the two most loveable characters Hawkeye and Black Widow are still floating about with no real grounding to their stories. It is only things picked up from a range of films that piece their story together.
I guarantee that a Natasha Romanov film will rake in at least as many viewers as any Captain America or Iron Man film, and certainly more than any other Thor film. Scarlett Johansson as the SHIELD Assassin is a love affair for both men and women as she is so incredibly sexy and has an insanely likeable and humble presence.
Or perhaps a SHIELD film, before things went crazy. I would definitely love to see the backstory to Nick Fury and Agent Coulson’s recruitment of Hawkeye and Romanov.
So please, Marvel, stop getting carried away with all your new little ideas and pay some attention to the original details that need addressing.
Remember, sometimes less is more.