You’re probably starting to wonder, when is our resident Marvel fangirl going to write a Marvel post? I think this is my first one this year! It’s not really a huge deal, as far as posts go. However, this is a post about the ways in which Scott Lang, the MCU’s Ant-Man, is actually a big player.
This is Part 1 of the three-part Road to Civil War series.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, ANT-MAN, AND CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR INCLUDED BELOW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
I would have been perfectly happy if Marvel hadn’t announced anything and we had no idea who was on who’s side until next May. But now that we have the names, it’s only fair to speculate. I don’t know much about the comics so this is entirely based on the movies, the discussions of other online fans, and what we know so far.
Team Iron Man
Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes is Tony Stark’s best friend and sidekick. I did ask a fan website what else would motivate him to take Tony’s side in this controversy. The response was that Rhodey works for the U.S. government, so he will support whatever the government decides. This didn’t make sense to me, but then I remembered the scene in Iron Man 2 where Rhodey took the stolen armor to the Air Force Base. If that doesn’t speak volumes about Rhodey’s priorities, little else will.
I have never liked Spider-Man, but when they announced that Marvel had bought the rights from Sony to include him in Civil War and reboot him within the existing universe, I decided to deal with it. In the comics, Spider-Man plays an important part in the Civil War story. The film version, however, will differ since we are seeing Peter Parker at the outset of his career. Tom Holland was cast as the teenage webslinger based on how he performed with Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, so Parker’s relationship with the heads of these two factions, specifically with Iron Man, might be crucial. There was also a mock news interview with Scott Lang released as a promo for Ant-Man, and someone on Tumblr mentioned that in the crawl on the bottom of the screen said Tony Stark had established a scholarship for inner-city students. Peter Parker probably looks to Stark as a patron. Given Tony’s relationship with Harley in Iron Man 3, Tony Stark looking for a protege makes sense.
Vision used to be JARVIS, but I have to scratch my head because Age of Ultron did little to establish how much of JARVIS is left inside of the android. As Vision, however, he might have good personal reasons for siding with Iron Man. Vision states in Age of Ultron, “I am on the side of life.” Perhaps Captain America is doing something he finds morally reprehensible.
In the comics, Vision is in a relationship with the Scarlet Witch, but since they are on different sides I wonder if that relationship is ever going to occur, if it hasn’t already.
Natasha Romanoff making Team Iron Man was certainly a shock. The fandom is disappointed because after everything that she and Steve went through together in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they seemed to have earned their mutual trust. I for one would have expected her to at least fight on the same team as Hawkeye. We may have to wait and see what Natasha’s motivations are more than for the other characters.
Team Captain America
Scarlet Witch was not involved in Civil War in the comics, and her presence alone indicates that the film is going to be very different, Wanda Maximoff was my new favorite character in Age of Ultron, so I am really happy that she is on Steve’s side. It’s not surprising, though, because if you remember in Age of Ultron she and Pietro volunteered for Hydra’s experiments in the first place because of their grudge against Tony Stark. A part of me says that Wanda hasn’t gotten over that. And the twins, if you remember, were close to Clint Barton, it’s no surprise that Wanda is sticking with him.
Sam Wilson, of course, is extremely loyal to Steve Rogers. Considering his role in Ant-Man, Sam will be the one recruiting Scott Lang and he may be the one pulling other people to Cap’s side. He might even be considered a co-leader of the team. I am interested to see how he will interact with Hawkeye/Clint Barton. They both have superhero names based on birds of prey and so naturally the fandom thinks they belong together. In-between all of the other shenanigans there is a chance we might get to see the “bird bros” bonding onscreen.
If you haven’t seen Ant-Man yet, go see it! Those of you who have, you know he’ll be called in to do Steve the ultimate favor. Scott Lang is a huge Avengers fan to start with. But what’s interesting is that in Ant-Man, Hank Pym mentioned to Scott that he could never trust Howard Stark with his technology and he doesn’t want Tony anywhere near it either. That impression probably stuck with Scott. I think Scott Lang will be Steve’s new go-to man for equipment, since he is burning bridges with Tony, and heaven knows Steve and his teammates are going to need some tech to compete with Stark.
This was the surprise for Cap’s team. I mean, he is a really loyal friend to Natasha so I am surprised and disappointed they weren’t on the same side, but that’s what’s going to raise the stakes, right? At the end of Age of Ultron, Clint went back to his family at least for a little while, so I wonder what might get him to go back into the field. The registration act from the comics storyline is not going to work out, but in Age of Ultron the other Avengers except Natasha did not know about his family, so he still had at least some degree of privacy. Something may be threatening his family and he is siding with Steve in order to protect them.
The Winter Soldier
All signs indicate that Bucky will be getting at least some of his memory and personality back, but his external circumstances will remain less than ideal. Other people aren’t going to care that he’s no longer Hydra’s brainwashed assassin, and in fact if you saw the Ant-Man post-credit scene you KNOW that he’s vulnerable for it. The more I hear, the more I think that the resolution of the Winter Soldier’s storyline will be the pin on which everyone hinges. Steve might take his stance based on how people respond to Bucky, and Steve may or may not trust certain people based on who agrees with him.
The Double Agent
When the team lineups were announced, it was also rumored that one of the superheroes was going to be a double agent. Everyone thinks (and wants) it to be Natasha, but I think we need to give the other character a look. To be brutally honest, Bucky fighting at Steve’s side is almost too good to be true. Spider Man is a new character and his motivations are unknown, but if he’s a young teenager who looks up to Tony Stark I doubt he would do anything that gutsy. Scott Lang/Ant-Man might become disillusioned with his superhero idols after watching them fight each other. Maybe Tony does something that Vision disagrees with, but once Vision makes a decision I doubt he would go back on it: he is too much pure goodness.
I would say that Team Iron Man has the advantage as far as technology, but for powers I think they might be even. As for the characters I like I think Captain America’s team took the vast majority of the cool people. However, much remains to be seen about what the actual conflict is and what will really motivate these characters we know and love to take sides.
The year was 2008, and there wasn’t much good going on in the world of Marvel movies. Spider-Man 3 had soured the franchise, the Fantastic Four movies were definitely not fantastic, and Hulk was lousy at best. It seemed that Marvel was doomed to have lackluster movies produced by third parties.
Then came Iron Man.
Everything felt right with this movie. The costume was spot-on, Robert Downey Jr.’s performance was spectacular, and the post-credits scene revealed that a larger, connected universe was on its way. Marvel was a David in the world of movie producing, and it showed that it could compete with all the Goliaths in the industry.
Even with some of their most popular characters, such as Spider-Man and the X-Men, in the hands of other companies, Marvel began building an incredible, connected universe in the movies that followed Iron Man. There could be little that was more exciting than the idea of seeing individual heroes coming together and Phase One culminated in The Avengers. Marvel continued strong during Phase Two, with Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy being huge hits. While not every movie has been a shining example of greatness and fantastic storytelling, all of them have been financially successful. Even the movie that people seem to complain about most, Thor: The Dark World, did financially well at a little over 200 million.
Marvel has bulked up and is no longer a heroic David, but rather a hulking Goliath, (pun intended), and I think people are getting tired of it.
When Age of Ultron came out, I read dozens of articles that pointed out every flaw and shortcoming. It seemed like everyone was wanting to bring Marvel down from their now legendary status. This only increased when Ant-Man was getting close to release. With the Edgar Wright problems and Ant-Man considered a B-list hero people were anticipating an Evel Knievel style crash and burn. But Ant-Man did well both financially and critically, and Age of Ultron was still well received even with all the nitpicking people have done.
At some point Marvel will have a flop, since no franchise or company can have success infinitely. But until that flop happens people are going to be looking and waiting for it. Watching a Goliath win again and again gets tiring, and so many people hope to see it fail. And maybe a single fail would be beneficial, since right now people are so anxious to find flaws that they’ll tear apart good movies and magnify any flaws disproportionately. Despite the financial and overall critical success of Age of Ultron, there have been a huge number of complaints about things ranging from stereotypical storylines to nitpicking whether or not Black Widow’s portrayal is anti-feminist.
I recognize that Marvel’s movies aren’t perfect. There are a number of different ways that the movies can be improved, but that’s true for almost any movie out there. The difference is that with Marvel being so incredibly successful with their movies, people love to cry out “See! They’re not so great! Look at all of their flaws!” All because people hate to see a Goliath go so long without losing at least once.
I don’t know when Marvel will finally have a failure. Their lineup for the next few years seems pretty strong, so I can’t pick anything out in particular as the next target. But I honestly think that a flop can only help them, because instead of saying “look at the strained relationship between Banner and Black Widow”, we can finally say “that movie may have had some rough spots, but at least it wasn’t another Howard the Duck.”