[SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War ahead.]
Captain America: Civil War made big waves at the U.S. box office with its opening weekend, as Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and his allies squared off against Iron Man/Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) and his own supporters. The thirteenth film installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has generated numerous talking points, not least the complexities and emotions of Paul Bettany’s character Vision.
Vision emerged from his big screen debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron as one of the Avengers’ MVPs; not only did he have an Infinity Stone lodged in his head that gave him life as well as a wealth of unimaginable power, he was the only one who could – and with relative ease, might it be said – lift Thor’s hammer, implying he was indeed ‘worthy’.
Vision’s relationship with Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson) in Civil War is something Bettany expanded on when talking to EW about the choices that his character makes in the film – most notably, when he strikes down War Machine (Don Cheadle) and almost kills him in the film’s key second act Berlin Airport battle.
Aside from his sudden interest in block colored, fitted jumpers and a penchant for experimenting in the kitchen, Vision’s developed a clear bond with Scarlet Witch, and Bettany’s keen to go into their relationship:
“I think he has a real connection with Scarlet Witch. They both have these new burgeoning powers that they don’t understand, and they don’t know how powerful they are, and that must be kind of scary. And so I think he’s worried that they’re both dangerous. So he feels this real connection with her. And she’s a bit of a depressive at the moment so he’s just trying to cook for her.”
There’s certainly an intriguing chemistry between Scarlet Witch and Vision in Civil War (even if their screen time together is fairly limited) and the pair do in fact form a relationship in the Marvel comic books, as noted by Bettany. When asked about Vision’s understanding of the term ‘love’, especially when it comes to allegiances, the actor’s just as vocal:
“He has logic in abundance. And logic does not afford any room for loyalty. New information could come to light and he might flip to Captain America’s side. But love solidifies things and provides loyalty. So if he’s there to protect mankind – or frankly, the universe – he needs to figure out what’s good about these creatures, and I think that’s the quest that you find him on. And, of course, in the comics, the relationship becomes romantic. We’ll see moving forward what happens for Vision and Wanda.”
As Bettany reminds us, we are seeing a progressive and stark development in Vision over the Marvel Studios that he’s in, as he learns more and more about human nature:
“You see him in the first movie, he’s born. He’s omnipotent, but he’s incredibly naïve. And in this movie he’s kind of beginning to take a more paternal role in the superhero family, and he’s growing at an exponential rate, and by the end of the movie he has a real emotion and real human reaction and he makes first mistake that he’s ever made.”
Of course, the mention of the ‘mistake’ is him referring to almost killing War Machine when he means to incapacitate Falcon (Anthony Mackie). Is his mind elsewhere? Is he paying too much attention (and affection) towards Scarlet Witch? It’s certainly a side of the character we’ve not seen, and Bettany noted so much:
“What happened there is that his judgement was clouded there by real love and affection. And he responded in a quick and thoughtless way.… I really love that the moral compass of the movie is this synthetic person who’s trying to figure out what it means to be human. It’s a neat idea, you know?”
If fans needed any more reason to take a shine to Vision, surely his gradual learning of how the human psyche works adds layers to his character and makes for one of the more interesting of the film’s heroic personas. One theory floating around actually suggests Vision intentionally took down War Machine as payback for earlier harming Scarlet Witch, which again adds some intriguing depth to his already intriguing character. It also means that, far from the impartial, ethical hero we see in Age of Ultron, Vision could go down a darker path if he allows feelings and emotions to cloud his judgement in the future.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018;Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.