The ‘Civil War’ trailer set to ‘Hello’ is everything we ever wanted

1 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A big clue about Spider-Man’s allegiances in Captain America: Civil War.

Last week, Marvel gave us a glimpse of Captain America: Civil War with the release of the movie’s first official trailer — a big, bold tease featuring a gasp-inducing fight scene that will stick in fans’ minds until the movie comes out in May.We knew Captain America was a real stickler when it comes to watching the language, but when he really cracks down to the point of censoring words allowed in PG-13 movies, his third film becomes a very different movie.

Lost in the shuffle of the trailer and the impending Thanksgiving weekend was an interview in which Tom Holland, the actor who will play Spider-Man in Civil War, may have revealed Spider-Man’s allegiances in the film. “I think one of the most interesting things about Peter Parker for us is that he’s the only person in the MCU now that has a secret identity, so we all know who everyone else is. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. Actor Chadwick Boseman attends the world premiere of Marvel’s “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” at the Dolby Theatre on April 13, 2015 in Hollywood, California. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability. However, Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier is really the pivotal character of the whole war in the trailer, as the former brainwashed HYDRA assassin regains his memories and his old best friend Steve Rogers – who declares war with his newer friends just to keep Bucky safe.

But there is something else at work here, something that has drawn self-described geeks and nerds to comic books for nearly a century, and that is an idealisation of the aggressive hyper-masculine superhero archetype. Returning to the trailer, it was the last 10 seconds – a protracted fight scene in which beloved superheroes Iron Man and Captain America are shown beating the crap out of each other – that drew a sense of palpable excitement among fans. A staple of the superhero genre is the tendency to concoct these elaborate scenarios where “good guys” end up having to fight each other for some reason. One way or another, it’s a safe bet that somebody else will be holding the shield in that one (it could be Bucky Barnes, which would be the logical progression from the comics Civil War takes inspiration from, or the Falcon, as we’ve seen in more recent comics). Inevitably, it hasn’t all been incredibly positive (some blinkered DC Fanboys only have social media so they can be first to dampen expectations on every Marvel marketing release), but broadly, it looks like Marvel are going to have the billion dollar movie event they presumably hoped for.

And while there’s no doubt that Downey is the heart of this entire franchise, guys like Chris Evans and Hemsworth have carved out a nice chunk of the fanbase for themselves. Back before The Avengers were household names, superheroes were the domain of geekdom, and particularly “geek guys” who, to some degree, felt personally ostracised and disillusioned by the ideals of stereotypical tough-guy manhood in mainstream culture.

Despite being made to feel subordinate to concepts of hypermasculinity, many geek guys have nonetheless embraced superheroes that embody hypermasculine traits and values. The particular brand of superhero masculinity represents a popular conception of what it means to be a “real man,” a conception that is not relegated solely to the realms of fantasy. Hypermasculinity manifests everywhere in our culture and can be seen reflected in politics, international conflict, municipal policing, domestic violence and interpersonal relationships. All you have to do is look at global leaders who routinely pound their chests while advocating for the use of deadly force as a solution to complex social problems, as if they aren’t talking about delicate matters of international diplomacy but rather boasting about taking down a super villain like Ultron.

One common reaction I encounter whenever I bring up these questions is the concern that there’s no way to create exciting dramatic tension or conflict in movies, other than resorting to violence as the ultimate resolution. Given the current state of the world, we could certainly do with a hell of a lot more heroes who solve complex problems with innovation and ingenuity rather than by punching each other in the face.

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