Here's what 'Captain America: Civil War' needs to be good

Commentary: Anyone else biting their nails over the latest Marvel movie? CNET's Kelsey Adams is trying to stay cool here, but if "Civil War" doesn't meet the following demands, she will FREAK.

Kelsey Adams Senior copy editor / Reviews
CNET senior copy editor and contributor Kelsey Adams was raised by computer programmers and writers, so she communicates best by keyboard. Loves genre fiction, RPGs, action movies; has long, fraught relationship with comics. Come talk to her on Twitter.
Kelsey Adams
3 min read
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"I've been hoping not to die before May 6," I told my aunt last year.

"Not die or go blind or deaf," she immediately said.

Yeah...we're a little invested.

Some of the Marvel sequels have been letdowns -- "Thor: The Dark Elves Are Romulans" comes to mind -- but the Captain America movies went from good to great. Can that streak continue? Please?

Sharp action isn't enough. "The Winter Soldier" carried on Steve Rogers as a person: the same scrappy little guy underneath, but affected by his experiences. "Civil War" is packing in an awful lot of characters (and that group showdown looks a little silly; there wasn't a better way to settle this than jogging straight at each other?). The trailers have kept the focus on Steve's friendships, and Bucky's clearly important. Still, this could be like "Age of Ultron" where everyone gets a scene but there isn't enough time for things to sink in and feel like they matter.

Demand No. 1: Steve and Bucky need to have some properly reunited time, and preferably not pull any business at the end of the film along the lines of Farewell, Bucky Has Things to Prove On His Own. Don't do that to us, movie. That's not cool.

Also, how dark is the plot going to get? While the comic book series by this name starts from a reasonable question -- should superheroes be registered with the government? -- it twists characters pretty far, and the story's a bummer overall. You can get away with that in comic book continuity, but for these movies it would be a mistake.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is popular because it's fun, and, as Loki said, it's "got heart." There's a certain thrill to watching the team members turn on each other -- I could watch that GIF of Cap and Bucky beating up Tony all day -- but does anyone really want to break up Strike Team Delta? They're BFFs!

So, Demand No. 2: Don't make it so ugly the band can't get back together someday. Though there are one or two parts of the comics story I'd kind of like to see, just for Tony Stark's face when it sinks in what he's done. Speaking of which:

Demand No. 3: Fine, someone had to go against Cap. And the movies have been setting up Stark's combination of irresponsible responsibility since "Iron Man," to where he was practically the villain of "Age of Ultron" -- but enough! He's a smart guy! He's capable of learning from mistakes! By the end of this movie, let him.

I've got some lesser demands. I won't cry if the following don't happen. They'd be cool though.

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A. Give Scarlet Witch enough screen time to start a version of the epic love affair in the comics. That poor girl's had such a rough life, in the movies as well, and she deserves more happiness than you can squeeze into a 10-second subplot.

B. The trailers introduce Black Panther similarly to the Winter Soldier, with stylish physicality rather than dialogue. Which is cool, but I want to see how they'll fit his personality into the MCU. Going by interviews, we should get to find out.

C. Spider-Man's just so young. Younger than most of the Avengers ever were. How will having him around affect their perspectives? There's potential in that, don't waste it.

Bonus extra mini-demand: the post-credits sequence. I think it's been long enough that we've gotten over the loss, the sense of betrayal, the boredom, the resistance to hype, the uneasy realization that he's actually pretty hot...where was I going with this? Oh, right. Couldn't they let Coulson back in the movies? Just for a cameo? Maybe?

And here is CNET's spoiler-free first review of the movie.

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