'Captain America: Civil War': Where does Marvel go from here?

'Civil' stars Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. and the movie marks a new part of Marvel's movie plan. Can the massively successful movie studio maintain its momentum?

Zade Rosenthal/Disney/AP
'Captain America: Civil War' stars Chris Evans (l.) and Robert Downey Jr. (r.).

Comic book movie fans are steadily finding out a bit more about the upcoming Marvel production “Captain America: Civil War.”

“Captain” features the return of Chris Evans as the title hero, Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, and many others. Cap and Iron Man work closely as a team as part of the Avengers group, but they soon find themselves disagreeing over the question of whether those with superpowers should be regulated.

As indicated by the title, the question soon divides those who previously fought together, and other Marvel superheroes like Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and others return as well.

The phrase “phase” is often used when discussing Marvel movies. With “Civil,” the hugely successful company is now entering what is called “phase 3.” “Civil” will kick it off and the movie will be followed by films about the individual superheroes Dr. Strange, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel as well as sequels to existing characters like Thor and Ant-Man.

It will be interesting, to say the least, to see where Marvel goes from here. Anticipation for “Civil” itself is high, with the recently-released trailer breaking the record for amount of views for a Marvel trailer in the first 24 hours of its release.

The Civil War storyline is divisive and well-known to comic book fans, so those who are familiar with the source material are no doubt curious to see how the studio will adapt it for the screen.

Marvel is on top of the world right now with its recent successes, having become one of the biggest forces in Hollywood. (It’s owned by Disney.) Its current era kicked off with 2008’s “Iron Man” and since then, it’s barely had a financial failure. Some movies did better than others – the 2012 “Avengers” movie and this year’s “Avengers” tale are the two highest-grossing movies released by the studio – but a low performer by Marvel standards is most likely the dream of another studio, with the lowest-grossing Marvel movie ever, 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk,” still grossing far more than, for example, this summer’s underperformers “Terminator Genisys” and “Fantastic Four.”

Can Marvel maintain this success? Some critics complained of too many characters in this summer’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” and “Civil” is set to include a boatload of Marvel personalities. The studio is set to only add more to their roster, with those new Dr. Strange, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther movies. Will audiences be able to keep track of all the stories they need to? 

At this point, it’s Marvel’s movie business to lose.

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