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With its May 6th release date coming closer and closer, it's no surprise Marvel is ramping up the marketing for [Captain America: Civil War]. Although there's been some minor pushes in the past few months through concept art and a (singular) trailer, things have been fairly quiet for the Captain America threequel. Fortunately, it was made quite clear yesterday that the calm before the storm had passed. Civil War is about to go on a marketing blitz and there's no stopping that.
Ever since the name of the movie was revealed, it was pretty clear just what the movie was about. A civil war within the Avengers' ranks. My fears, however, began when Baron Zemo was confirmed to join the film, and as the main villain. Still, I got over it. But then, everything changed. The first bit of concept art came out. And the problem with that, you ask?
Iron Man is Being Marketed as the Main Villain
From a financial standpoint, this is an obvious move. You take your most bankable star, add him to a movie where he's going to fight your second most bankable star (along with every other star). Not only are the comic-fans guaranteed to come and watch, but you also reel in new audience members. These new audience members are a crucial part to all of this, but more on that later. All the concept art shows Captain America fighting Iron Man. All the released footage and dialogue point to Iron Man being the Big Bad. The hashtags refer to Team Iron Man and Team Captain America as separate, warring entities. The problem with that?
Baron Zemo is the Main Villain, But is Nowhere to be Seen
After one and a half trailers, dozens of promotional photos and artwork, and hundreds of forms of merchandise, we're still blind as to what Baron Zemo looks like. Now, you could chalk this up to Marvel trying to hold some surprises for the movie, a la Spider-Man (and Luke, I guess, but the time has passed), but there's a big problem with that: no one cares! And I mean that in the most general way possible, because obviously some people do care. But seriously, Zemo is far and away from the most anticipated parts of this movie. Why bother hiding him? Even if they want to keep his appearance hidden, at least advertise that he's the villain.
"But They're Just Hiding a Major Plot Twist!"
Okay, let's assume that Baron Zemo (for whatever reason), is Marvel's big twist. We already know he's the villain, but let's say that isn't heavily publicized during marketing.. At some point in the movie, they'll be all "Nah, Iron Man ain't the villain, this random German named Zemo is!". Actually, no. Let's not assume that, because it has too many flaws. First of all, Elizabeth Olsen would be in deep shit for revealing that much. Secondly, we haven't seen him outside of this movie, really minimalizing how much of a threat he really is, at least to the audience. Also, and this is more of a hypothetical (and personal) complaint, with the entire Avengers roster already in the movie, it's safe to assume they're going to go after him (and the remnants of HYDRA, presumably) altogether. But if that's the case, where does it stop being a Captain America movie and start becoming an Avengers one? Now, the biggest problem with revealing Zemo as the main villain in the movie? Well, it has to do with the general audience again:
Most People Don't Want to Trade Robert Downey Jr. In for a Second Rate Actor
Robert Downey Jr. is no doubt a major pull for this movie. He's one of the major reasons the franchise is reaching out to more people, and those people are coming to watch him (primarily, at least). But how does that work out if halfway through, these non-comic fans discover that their beloved RDJ isn't as central a character as the advertising made him seem? Essentially, it would lead to negative backlash against the studio.
Remember that time people went to see Iron Man 3 because of how positively badass the Mandarin looked, and then tons of them were disappointed because of the bait and switch that led to the butchering of an amazing villain, only to be replaced by a mediocre one? Yes, I know this wouldn't necessarily be tarnishing a character for a laugh, but it's still intentional false advertising.
Maybe (Hopefully) It All Works Out?
As cynical as I may seem throughout this article, I am very excited for this movie. Maybe it's just the marketing that seems a bit off, and maybe it's just because I've overthought the whole scenario, but let's not forget that this could very well be the best Marvel movie. We have the directors from The Winter Soldier, a large budget, an impressive cast, and Industrial Light and Magic to provide mindblowing VFX. In the end, marketing could have very little to do with the quality of the film itself (except Deadpool apparently, because that movie struck gold).