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Sandbox / Broken Base Captain America Civil War

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With a title like Civil War, this comes as no surprise.

  • Due to the controversial nature of the comic series upon which this is loosely based, many fans naturally think it's a huge mistake for the movies to touch it, with others hoping for it to be In Name Only, or thinking the film could do more justice to the story this time around, with a single creative vision.note  Fans of Civil War have been happy from the beginning.
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  • After Winter Soldier, a lot of fans were expecting a movie about Steve, Sam, and Bucky, not Steve, Tony, and all the other superheroes — in other words, Avengers 3. Many fans aren't happy that so many other heroes are going to be included in what is most likely the last Captain America solo film. Other fans are pleased by the inclusion of the other heroes, preferring them to Cap's cast or feeling that the search for Bucky isn't an interesting enough plotline to be the focus of an entire film.
  • Iron Man's involvement. Some are excited about him, while others think he's had the most character focus and screen time of the entire franchise and will steal the spotlight away from other characters. A third group is also afraid that this film will destroy all his likability, just as comics Iron Man did during this arc.
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  • With the film's huge cast, debates have started up over whether or not the movie needs less characters, or even more characters so it's a more direct adaptation of the comic; in particular, fans of Pepper Potts, Maria Hill, Nick Fury and Daredevil (and Daredevil's actor Charlie Cox) were quite disappointed that they won't be involved.
  • Some are disappointed that the film will not follow up on The Amazing Spider-Man Series, as well as Spidey having been recast. Others believe that it's better that the series doesn't have to deal with the baggage of the increasingly-complex storyline and are happy to ignore those films entirely. There's also a division between those that want an older Peter Parker in college/as an employed adult (since Peter as a high-schooler was covered in the previous movies) and those that are happy to have him being a high schooler and feel that Spider-Man starting out as a Kid Hero is important within any setting.
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  • Black Widow siding with Iron Man on registration has caused outcry within the fandom. Some accuse the film of using Conflict Ball, given that she spent the entirety of Winter Soldier working with and becoming friends with Steve, and that her character development in that film pointed in an anti-registration direction, whereas she spent the entirety of Iron Man 2 and Age of Ultron in conflict with Tony. Others are fine with it, citing that it would create interesting dynamic and story, that she is free to choose her own path regardless of where her friends are, and the fact that she did the same in the source material. Another group is neutral about this, reserving judgment until seeing the movie and/or suspecting she is a Double Agent. Shipping may or may not play a role in opinions, as all three of Natasha's most common shipping partners (Steve, Clint, and Bucky) are on the same side opposite her. (Ultimately, Black Widow takes the middle road on this, helping both sides.)
  • The absence of Scarlet Witch and from the promo art has also caused some outcry, with Scarlet Witch fans attacking Sharon Carter, who unexpectedly appeared as a member of Captain America's team. Scarlet Witch fans claim that Sharon was given Wanda's spot in order to have a Token Romance with Cap. Others point to Sharon being a longtime and major Captain America supporting character, and as it is supposed to be a Captain America movie, the possibility of there being a romance for him isn't really untoward. Elizabeth Olsen explained in an interview that Scarlet Witch is considered neutral as opposed to unambiguously on Cap's side, which would indeed indicate that the promo art isn't really representative of the finished movie. As it turns out, Sharon is mostly an Advertised Extra.
  • The presence of Spider-Man in the film. Before the film came out, any discussion of him would result in fans being split between those who love the character and want him to be a Tritagonist or at least have a very important role in the film, and those who are upset he's going to appear at all, or would prefer him to have as minimal a role as possible out of fear he might steal screentime from more deserving characters, or general fatigue towards the character in general. Statements from the Russos that Spider-Man would be more of a Comic Relief figure not directly tied to the main plot reignited some of the debate. His absence from early promo art and the D23 trailer was taken by some as proof that he's an Advertised Extra and won't have as big as role as some fans are hoping, while others argued that it may just be a case of Marvel wanting his role in the film and his new look to be a surprise. Word of God is that Executive Meddling is the main reason for his exclusion from promotional materials. A lot of the debate over him died down a bit when the second trailer finally showed him in action — but as it showed him on Iron Man's side, fans immediately began to argue if he should stay on that side or switch to Cap's. Once the film actually came out, many viewers considered him the best part of the movie.
  • Regarding teams and the like, there's also Black Panther, who was shown by leaked promotional material to be on Iron Man's side. Some are upset that he's on a team at all, since he was said to be a neutral party in the matter. Others are excited to see and welcome the resulting increased screen time he'll get. This has mellowed out after promo pieces emphasized that T'Challa is decidedly not on anyone's side, instead playing the role of a neutral third party working with Tony for personal reasons, which seems like the only logical role for the king of isolationist Wakanda.
  • Daniel Bruhl's confirmation that Zemo will not wear his mask or costume from the comics. Some fans understand the decision and recognize that like Hawkeye's comic outfit, some costume elements don't translate well to live-action, while others argue that if Marvel thought Baron Zemo was too silly to accurately portray onscreen, then they should have just used another villain. Also, some fans are taking a wait and see attitude, arguing that the film could set him up to don the mask in a future installment.
  • The lack of marketing for the film. Some are annoyed and even worried that the lack of trailers or posters mean something might be wrong with the film, while other think Marvel taking a more subdued approach to the marketing is a welcome change from the sheer ubiquity of the promotional campaign for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Some have thought that, with the major push for the seventh Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, bringing out anything at this point by Disney would be drowned out by the push. Thankfully, this has been averted as of 11/25/2015 with the first actual trailer and poster.
  • Whether or not Steve and Tony have a strong enough relationship that the "betrayed friendship" conflict the trailer touches on would carry any weight. Supporters believe that after two films where the two fight side by side it's perfectly believable that they would consider each other friends, and that despite the bickering there's a strong sense of mutual respect between the two. Detractors state that there's no real evidence that the two are friends outside of their work with the Avengers, that they still spend the majority of the two Avengers movies arguing, and it's ludicrous to think that Steve would seriously consider choosing a man who's mostly a colleague over a highly traumatized childhood friend on the run from false accusations. A third group agrees with the latter conclusion, but is fine with the line believing that it fits with Tony's previous characterization.
  • Whether or not Steve is justified in helping Bucky. Supporters of his decision say that Bucky was Brainwashed and Crazy and thus would not be responsible for what had happened to him. Detractors, on the other hand, draw attention to the fact that regardless of the reasons, he did commit acts of terror for decades and should in the very least stand some form of trial (though certainly not execution by a strike team), even if it is to bring the idea of HYDRA brainwashing up as a matter for the courts. In addition, there's the matter that Hawkeye and Selvig appeared to have no trouble getting a pardon for everything they did under Loki's mind control. The actual film has him wanted for a recent crime, and one he's framed for at that. Crimes committed under HYDRA's brainwashing only become important in a single It's Personal case at the end.
  • Anthony and Joe Russo returning to direct the film. Many are already excited for the movie alone after the reception for their work on Winter Soldier, but some are worried how after both Jon Favreau's and Joss Whedon's own respective second outings in the MCU had greater cases of Executive Meddling leading to their status each as a Contested Sequel that the Russos could face a similar problem on their second installment. In relation to that is the aforementioned large cast which was regarded as one of the biggest problems of both Iron Man 2 and Age Of Ultron: both films had the difficulty of juggling huge casts and several plotlines, and some fans are unsure of how well Civil War will be able to do that since not only will it continue from the plot of Winter Soldier but at the very least is also going to be setting up plot points for the team's starting roster in the first part of Avengers: Infinity War and the solo Black Panther and MCU Spider-Man films.
  • A strange case with General Ross being confirmed to appear in the movie. No one is technically angry at the character himself appearing (in fact, many are pleasantly surprised something from The Incredible Hulk is being acknowledged) but between this and the Bruce/Natasha romance in Age of Ultron, a lot of fans are pissed off at the continued absence of Betty Ross, who has grown quite the fanbase in the years to come with how neglected she is. Other fans however, either don't care about Betty, or are fine with her not appearing but are optimistic for a mention of Betty at least.
  • When Alfre Woodard who plays Mariah Dillard in the Netflix shows, was first announced to be in the film, fans were excited as this would make her the first character from the Netflix corner of the MCU to appear in the movies, but all went down when it was confirmed that she was playing a different unrelated character, with fans expressing concern on this being further proof of the huge separation with the movies and the TV shows. Others pointed out that Marvel has reused actors to play other characters without it affecting continuity (ex: Matt Gerald playing Melvin Potter in the Netflix shows, but White Power Dave in the One-Shots, or Laura Haddock who played Star-Lord's mother in Guardians of the Galaxy and an Autograph Seeker in Captain America: The First Avenger or Enver Gjokaj playing Agent Sousa in Agent Carter and as a police officer in The Avengers).
  • Cap and Bucky defeating War Machine and Iron Man. Fans are divided on whether it's justified or that it is simply a result of the duo's upcoming Popularity Power and/or being the Russo brothers' Creator's Favorite.
  • Bucky's decision to go back into cryo and hide out in Wakanda until he can be cured. Some fans like it and consider it a fittingly Bittersweet Ending, but a lot of Bucky fans consider this an unnecessarily harsh Downer Ending and Anti-Climax conclusion to the Winter Soldier arc, and are holding out hope that he'll appear in the upcoming Black Panther movie.
  • The amount of humor and one-liners in the largest set-piece in the film, the 6v6 fight at the Airport. Is it mitigated by all characters involved only trying to subdue each other without serious harm, or a Mood Whiplash?
  • Scott agreeing to help Cap and Bucky, despite having recently been released from prison and with a job that may prove unstable. Is it a chance for him to make it up to Falcon for beating him up while acknowledging he can't clear his image, or an Out-of-Character Moment considering how hard he was working to be able to spend time with Cassie? Others argue that he joined because of Cassie, out of fear that his enemies would target her if he signed up.
  • The developing relationship between Steve and Sharon, specifically the kiss they share. Out of nowhere and improper (especially as it happens very shortly after Peggy's death), or a cute rare bright moment for Iron Woobie Steve Rogers. There is considerable shipper bias either way.
  • Is Helmut Zemo one of the best MCU villains after Loki, Kingpin and Kilgrave or yet another underdeveloped villain? While the character is one of the movie's Ensemble Darkhorses and is generally agreed to be a cut above most of the other MCU villains in terms of characterization, the real dividing point is whether he deserves to be compared to the above three, not unlike Ultron. There's also a sizeable portion of the fanbase decrying him as an In Name Only adaptation, having none of the traits of the comic book character, while others feel he embraced comic Zemo's most important character trait, being The Chessmaster (as well as his motivation to avenge the death of his father). There's also a lot of disagreement on if his plan is a well-thought-out, brilliant master plan that makes sense and works for the plot, or a convoluted mess that only works because the writers make it so and relies too much on coincidences. If you accept that these aren't coincidences, but actually events he deliberately planned for or orchestrated, does this make Zemo a Magnificent Bastard on par or even surpassing Loki, or just an Ass Pull-laden Villain Sue who the writers bend-over-backwards to ensure he wins? Given he's a non-flashy, non-costumed villain with no powers who never directly fights the Avengers themselves, it's unclear how much of this is down to fans with Hype Backlash who wanted a more physical threat and are nitpicking his plan out of annoyance, or legitimate issues they find with his plan that could have been avoided if he was a more physical threat instead of just a chessmaster.

    In particular, Zemo's master stroke involves showing Tony Stark footage of the Winter Soldier killing his parents so that he turns against Steve, which for some is an Ass Pull since it's not explained how Zemo knew about it or that Tony himself didn't, and if he was wrong his plan would have fallen apart. For others, the fact that HYDRA and SHIELD's secrets are now on the public record so anyone could know about it, but Tony and Steve's ability to work together after the events of Winter Soldier would indicate Tony himself didn't.
  • The blast that caused Rhodey to be paralyzed is generating some controversy. Was it simply a tragic accident? Was it Team Cap or Team Iron Man's fault for being so obstinate? Was it a crappy writing choice for Vision? Would the blast really have disabled Falcon only, as ordered, or is it more likely it would have killed him? Alongside these questions, there's also Tony shooting Sam when the latter lands and offers an apology. Was Tony understandably lashing out, or being an idiot by shooting the guy who not only tried to save Rhodey, but is a trained military paramedic and could have helped?
  • The romantic scenes with Wanda and the Vision. Either they're sweet, heartwarming scenes where Bettany and Olsen show genuine chemistry, or forced and unconvincing romance scenes that are unconnected and therefore take focus away from the other subplots in the film. And there's a third camp who just finds the relationship plain weird.
  • Was it a smart decision to stay faithful to the Civil War storyline from the comics, with Tony supporting the Registration Act and Steve opposing it, or would it have been more believable to reverse their roles instead? Some fans and critics feel that it would have made more sense for Tony to be against registration, since he's spent so much time opposing government bureaucracy and fighting for the right to decide how his technology is used; likewise, they think that Steve should have supported registration, partly because he's a veteran soldier who believes in serving a higher cause, and partly because he's a working-class "Man of the People" who believes that superheroes have an obligation to help the masses. Others, however, believe that both men have had enough Character Development since the first Avengers movie to make their roles believable, with Tony seeing one of his inventions grow beyond his control, and Steve uncovering a massive government conspiracy within the ranks of SHIELD After all they've gone through together, some people feel that it makes perfect sense that Tony would become more willing to submit to authority, with Steve becoming more willing to question it.
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