There will be consequences.
The eventful two-minute, 27-second clip lays out the high stakes of the film, which threatens to obliterate the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and which is so laden with heroes that insiders dubbed it Almost Avengers.
Our story opens with a scene familiar from the end credits of Ant-Man: Captain America, a.k.a Steve Rogers (Evans), and his trusty sidekick Falcon (Anthony Mackie), confront a trapped Bucky Barnes, Cap’s former BFF transformed by HYDRA into the formidable Winter Soldier. The Captain is trying to figure out if Bucky has renounced his evil ways and is truly back to his old self. Bucky swears he is — and sounds pretty convincing — but there’s this whole problem of an exploded building, and it seems the powers that be believe Bucky was complicit in the bombing.
Over the protestations of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and eventually Iron Man himself (Downey), Cap goes with his heart and decides to repatriate Bucky. “Sorry, Tony,” Cap says at one point. “You know I wouldn’t do this if there was any other choice. But he’s my friend.”
Dramatic beat before Stark’s reply: “So was I.”
And that’s how things go kablooey.
While the ultimate showdown between Captain American and Iron Man is the main event — more on that below — the real heavy is set up to be William Hurt, reprising his role as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (last seen in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk). He’s a world-class weenie who outlines the central conflict via monologue:
“Captain, while a great many people see you as a hero, there are some who prefer the word ‘vigilante.’ You’ve operated with unlimited power and no supervision. That’s something the world can no longer tolerate… There will be consequences.”
The idea is that Ross will establish government oversight for the supers, which splits the Avengers into two factions: those who want to stay in the fed’s good graces and comply (Iron Man, Black Widow, Don Cheadle’s War Machine), and those who believe that such regulation is tantamount to an infringement on civil liberties (Captain America, Falcon, Bucky, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch).
Or as Downey’s Tony Stark says: “If we can’t accept limitations, we’re no better than the bad guys,” prompting Cap to retort: “That’s not how I see it.” Which doesn’t go over to well with Stark, who snaps, “Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth.”
As the trailer unfolds, the battle lines become clearer. Most notably, we get our first glimpse of the new hero Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), an African warrior prince who looks like he borrowed his mask from Lucha Libre.
The Panther quickly establishes himself as anti-Cap, taking down Bucky with a roundhouse kick straight out of Lucha Libre.
Remember those consequences Ross mentioned? As the Avengers are torn asunder, we witness powerful heroes in epic fights with friends turned foes.
We see possible casualties.
And finally that main event. Captain America, with an assist from Bucky, trades vicious blows with Iron Man in a sequence that will be tough for Avengers fans to stomach.
Yikes, this is going to be one devastating civil war (#DividedWeFall).
Yet while filmmakers Anthony and Joe Russo (who previously tag-teamed on Captain America: The Winter Soldier) have loaded the trailer with equal parts exposition and action, they have omitted some key characters from the initial preview for the sake of streamlining.
When Evans and Mackie turned up at Disney’s D23 Expo in August, they introduced a sizzle reel that contained comic relief in the form of Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man (who is Team Cap) and the fan-pleasing addition of Falcon’s “pet” Redwing — in the comics, the faithful companion is a real raptor, but the cinematic Redwing has been reimagined as a drone. The D23 clip also contained a fleeting glimpse of a flag-draped coffin borne through a church, presumably a nod to the Civil War comic-book story that ends tragically for one of Marvel’s top do-gooders.
Also missing from the trailer is Paul Bettany’s Vision, who is Team Iron Man, and, more importantly, the new Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, whose allegiance it not yet known and whose reveal will no doubt be withheld as long as the Disney-Marvel marketing machine sees fit, perhaps right up to the film’s May 6 release.