Marvel Studios’ highly-anticipated Phase Three of its Marvel Cinematic Universe will begin this year with Captain America: Civil War, and with the release date fast approaching, the cast and crew are busy promoting the film. Civil War will bring the big battle between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) to the big screen, accompanied by almost every other Avenger who's already part of the MCU - and some newcomers too.
Marvel has explored various genres within their superhero movies; from space operas with Guardians of the Galaxy, to spy thrillers with Captain America: the Winter Soldier. So where does Civil War fall into? While many would argue that it will be more of a war movie or even an action-thriller, co-director Joe Russo says that at least part of its a love story.
In an interview with Empire, Joe Russo shared that the story between Captain America and his longtime friend Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) in Civil War is a love story… the fraternal kind, that is. Joe Russo explained:
“What’s fascinating about the Cap-Bucky story as well is it’s a love story. These are two guys who grew up together, and so they have that same emotional connection to each other as brothers would, and even more so because Bucky was all Steve [Rogers] had growing up."
Civil War features the biggest ensemble the MCU has had so far, but it is first and foremost a Captain America movie; meaning that it will focus heavily in the relationship between Steve Rogers and his friend Bucky Barnes, who is reintegrating society after being brainwashed to serve HYDRA for decades. This will make Rogers (and the world at large) question Barnes’ morality, which according to Joe Russo, is something Bucky has to answer for himself.
Of course, as Russo put it, "there are other characters in the movie who hold the opposite point of view” on the matter than what Steve believes, further inciting conflict in the movie.
As for Bucky Barnes himself, Sebastian Stan said it’s more of a story of brotherhood than a love one, which can be easily misinterpreted – though a part of the fandom wouldn’t mind a Rogers/Barnes romantic love story. As Stan put it:
“I think it’s easy and generalising it to say that they’re lovers, when you’re forgetting that one has a lot of guilt because he swore to be the protector of the other, the father figure or older brother so to speak, and then left him behind. I have no qualms with it but I think people like to see it much more as a love story than it actually is. It’s brotherhood to me."
Captain America: Civil War will divide the MCU in two teams – Team Captain America and Team Iron Man – over the Sokovia Accords, which are a way of the government to have some control over the Avengers and the battles they fight. To make matters more complicated, the return of the Winter Soldier will bring more conflict to the already heated battle, as he was responsible for many casualties while under HYDRA’s control (including, possibly, the deaths of Howard and Maria Stark).
With Civil War exploring the story of the Winter Soldier and his comeback to society after years of torture, let's hope it will make way for a bigger participation from Barnes in future Marvel movies, such as Avengers: Infinity War.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp– July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans– July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.