Jackie Gualtieri ’18 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Of the major complaints regarding Avengers: Age of Ultron, the one that’s the hardest to argue with is just how overstuffed the film is. Every entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far has introduced the audience to new characters, but Ultron was in a league of its own, establishing several backstories and introducing characters that we can expect to see gain more screen time in Marvel’s Phase Three films.
Ant-Man is set to finish off Phase Two this July, introducing Paul Rudd as the newest Avenger. Phase Three kicks off with the Captain America: Civil War next May. As of right now, at least seventeen actors have signed on as what would appear to be major characters. The actors introduced in Age of Ultron with characters who have joined the Avengers have already announced their return. Sebastian Stan, Emily Van Camp, and Frank Grillo are all also set to reprise their roles from the second Captain America film. Strangely enough, William Hurt, or General Thaddeus Ross, is returning to the Marvel universe after his appearance in the forgettable Incredible Hulk from 2008. David Bruhl and Martin Freeman have also been cast in unspecified roles. Civil War is also when we will be introduced to Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther. It is also expected that Spider-Man will make his first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, although the role has not been cast. Additionally, Jeremy Renner and Scarlet Johansson are set to return as Hawkeye and Black Widow repsectively.
In Civil War, the government is pushing for regulation of superhero activity, leaving Cap and Iron Man at odds. If we go all the way back to 2008’s Iron Man, we remember when Tony Stark stood at a podium to announce his secret identity to the world. He has no secret and he likes it that way and he believes that he should be supporting the ID laws. No surprise then that Robert Downey Jr. is set to be a major character in the film. Obviously we can’t have a Captain America movie without the Captain himself, who is on the other side of the spectrum of his backing of the laws. We can expect a lot of screen time of RDJ and Chris Evans going head to head.
Aside from the fact that the Civil War plot line in the comics is ultimately one of loyal fans’ least favorites, it seems that the movie itself might make it even worse. We are expected to follow the plot of the push for the sharing of superhero identity, on top of following the introduction of two new Avengers and the journey deeper into the creation of the superheroes we just met at the end of the last Avengers movie. Then there’s the continuation of the Winter Soldier plot line, including Cap’s desperate search for his best friend Bucky and the continued issue of Hydra. All in all, it seems like at least two movies could be done with this. I don’t usually push for the separation of a movie, but with this many characters, I’m doubtful that Marvel can give all the actors the proper screen time they need to establish their plots, unless it becomes a four hour movie, but please, Marvel, do not make a four hour movie.
The other option, and hopefully the route they will take, is to focus on the main plot, the Civil War itself, and make the other characters secondary. If they focus mainly on Iron Man and Captain America and leave the other Avengers as supporting characters, the audience may actually be able to follow what’s happening on screen.