As examined previously, Robert Downey Jr. is going to have a rather large role in ‘Captain America 3;’ the first time a major Marvel Cinematic Universe character has crossed over into another hero’s film in more than a cameo (sorry Black Widow & Nick Fury, but I’m talking the big guys with solo movies – Capt., Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, and even the Guardians of the Galaxy).
This means ‘Capt. 3’ will follow Marvel’s ‘Civil War’ storyline, also discussed previously.
Brief ‘Civil War’ review: people die as the result of reckless superheroes, the security council wants all superhumans to register their powers and identity with the government, Tony Stark / Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) supports the government, Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans) opposes the measure.
Which brings me to the issue at hand: The Do’s and Don’ts of ‘Captain America 3.’ What I want to see and what I hope Marvel Studios avoids.
Keep That ‘Winter Soldier’ Vibe
‘Winter Soldier’ is my favorite Marvel film; Marvel Studios or otherwise (the Marvel projects at Sony and Fox).
Writers Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely worked incredibly close with directors Anthony and Joe Russo. What resulted was an incredibly taut thriller reminiscent of 70’s political thrillers with a couple of superhumans and talking computers thrown in.
But ‘Winter Soldier’ isn’t sci-fi crazy; it is the most grounded film in the MCU, without being so realistic that you lose colorful costumes, living computers from WWII, and an assassin with a metal arm.
More importantly, it balances the prevalent serious aspects with the occasional lightness/comedy that defines the tone of Mavel Studios’ films, separating them from DC’s “no joke policy;” creating films that are too dark and gritty, no matter the hero.
(‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy is perfectly fantastic the darker it gets, because that’s Batman. On the other hand, ‘Man of Steel’ seemed way too dark for the lighter Superman character. A lot of other DC characters will seem out-of-place in a DC cinematic universe that carries the same tone as ‘Dark Knight’ and ‘Man of Steel.’)
I consider the film ‘The Dark Knight’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. ‘Winter Soldier’ may not be as good as Nolan’s trilogy, but it is the gold standard for Marvel Studios films as well as the darkest. Darkness is okay for some heroes, whereas others deserve a lighter tone (learn that, DC).
In Avengers: Phase 2, Marvel Studios finally got adept at separating all their solo films into different genres, making the Avengers we love more unique in both their stories and how they exemplify said genre/story.
‘Iron Man’ was a really well-done, but not highly original, superhero origin story. ‘Iron Man 2’ continued the almost generic superhero formula, but by Phase 2 ‘Iron Man 3’ had evolved into a film about Tony Stark, spending more time as “the mechanic” (as he tells the kid who saves his ass in that quiet mountain town) , using his own inventor/MacGyver skills, than in the suit. It’s an old-school action movie with superhero elements.
‘Incredible Hulk’ very much followed the superhero formula with the monster twist. ‘Thor’ & ‘Thor: The Dark World’ subverted the genre with elements of fantasy and magic (they are Norse Gods steeped in Norse mythology…). ‘The Avengers’ was pure superhero movie with the awesome gimmick of the first major team up.
Meanwhile, Captain America went from a superhero origin story / war movie with supernatural elements (the Tesseract) in ‘First Avenger,’ to full on political thriller with some real grit and relevant issues (NSA type issues) in ‘The Winter Soldier.’
Captain America makes the best movies and is my favorite character due to how he does combat compared to the other Avengers.
Iron suits, Hulks, and Gods result in a lot of action sequences with CGI versions of the characters zipping along. Capt. has less powers so his battles are on the ground involving hand-to-hand combat (with a Shield throw here or there), with lots of stunt work instead of CGI.
I love stunt work. That’s why 80’s movies are the best; it was the golden age of ‘Indiana Jones,’ ‘Lethal Weapon,’ and ‘Road Warrior;’ extreme action movies done with practical effects before the advent of CGI.
They just don’t make them like that anymore… except for in movies like ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier.’
The directing Russo brothers (who are rumored to also direct ‘Avengers 3’ and possibly ‘Avengers 4’ due to Marvel’s extreme satisfaction with the final version ‘Winter Soldier’) say they want to keep Steve Rogers grounded in the more realistic part of the MCU, with more down-to-Earth thriller action and realistic, stunt driven fight scenes. No Capt. fighting giant green monsters, Gods, or men in metal suits… unless said man in question is Tony Stark.
Adding Iron Man into the mix doesn’t change the tone / genre or make things too ridiculous (like I said, Zola isn’t exactly realistic, but he is Sci-fi working in the more realistic realm of the MCU than the expanded universe that features a talking raccoon and tree person), as besides ‘Winter Soldier,’ ‘Iron Man 1 & 2’ are the two most grounded films in the MCU (Iron Man 3 gets wacky – in a good way – with Extremis).
We (hopefully) should be good on Vibe/Tone of ‘Captain America 3,’ but what about that lil’ comment I made about Steve Rogers having to fight Tony Stark?
Steve Rogers Needs To Be The Star, Not Tony Stark
The movie is ‘Captain America 3’ (at this point). Maybe ‘Captain America: The Fallen Son’ or ‘Captain America: Civil War,’ but it’s not currently called ‘Captain America & Iron Man’ or simply ‘Civil War.’
If the 2016 film indeed remains ‘Captain America 3’ than Steve Rogers is our star and we must experience the film from his perspective. And Capt. definitely needs more screen time than RDJ’s Tony Stark. Even if RDJ is Marvel’s poster child.
Too much Iron Man would steal the movie from the title character, while a Black Widow in ‘Winter Soldier’ sized role might be the sweet spot. ‘Winter Soldier’ never felt like it was anyone’s movie but Captain America’s, even with the inclusion of Black Widow, Nick Fury (with his own badass action sequence and subplot that both kick off the events of the film), and Sam Wilson aka Falcon.
If we see the world from Capt.’s point-of-view, does that mean we are meant to be on his side of the ‘Civil War?’ Does that make Iron Man the villain? It seems like a hard task to either make fan-favorite and Marvel’s highest grosser a ‘villain’ to this plotline or to show us both sides of the argument equally without loading the film with too much RDJ.
I have several more ‘Captain America 3’ issues to tackle, but this post is getting long, so I’ll save my other points for ‘CAPTAIN AMERICA 3 With Robert Downey Jr. – The Do’s and Don’ts PART II.’
So, since there isn’t ‘Nuff Said, I’ll just leave you with this…