The big complaint after Man of Steel was that Superman basically laid waste to Smallville and Metropolis and yet somehow found himself agonizing over whether to take Zod's life. It looked, to many viewers, like Superman had just been in a battle that could have killed thousands, so what's the one guy's neck against those numbers? This started an ongoing internet war (which will likely rage in these comments) about the collateral damage issue. Many DC partisans wondered why Marvelites didn't make the same complainst about The Avengers, which saw big parts of New York City destroyed. The answer, of course, was that The Avengers took the time to show the heroes saving civilians (in fact I'd argue one of the film's most classic moments is Cap and the cops, where they go from blowing him off to taking his orders on evacuation plans).
But worry not, people who think that no matter the comic book universe the destruction is too damn high: Captain America: Civill War will be addressing your concerns. Robert Downey Jr tells Empire:
"There’s always the bigger overarching question, that Joss [Whedon] brings up all the time – it’s kind of weird that these guys would have all these throw downs all over planet Earth and it looked like a little collateral damage happened over there, and yet when the movie’s over, it’s like nobody minds. You have to figure, were you to ask the question, what would the American government do if this were real? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Tony doing something you wouldn’t imagine?"
This will all grow out of Age of Ultron, which will have a climax that will be the most comic book-y battle we have ever seen in a movie - which means it will also be profoundly destructive.
"The main thing to me is, and this is where I think the Russos are quite brilliant and where Kevin backed the play, is what sort of incident could occur and what sort of framework could we find Tony in? The clues are in “Ultron” about where we might find (Tony) next. But what would it take for Tony to completely turn around everything he’s stood for, quote-unquote, because he was the right-wing guy who could still do his own thing."
Boy, this sounds an awful lot like Captain America: Civil War is just going to be Tony's story, huh? RDJ says not quite.
"Ultimately it’s Steve’s story; it doesn’t say ‘Iron Man 4: Civil War’. I think that’s great too. I think Chris [Evans] has been hungry to bring even more of an underside and some shadow to that. I remember the comics – on the surface you got the sense that Cap was baseball and apple pie, but underneath there was all this churning stuff of being a man out of time. Now we know he’s made his peace with that. What’s the bigger issue? It can have a little something to do with the past, but it can be about someone becoming more modernized in their own conflict."
Downey's not wrong! In the comics Cap has dealt with some dark moments of the soul, including an arc where he watched President Nixon kill himself before he gave up the Captain America identity to become Nomad! But there's something I remember being thrown around a lot at the Captain America: The Winter Soldier junket, which was that Cap doesn't change, he forces those around him to change. That's why having Iron Man as a major player in this film makes sense and yet keeps it Cap's story - Steve isn't budging from his beliefs, but that means he has to come into conflict with his ally as a result.
Backing up what Downey has said, my sources close to Civil War have assured me, again and again, that this is truly a Captain America movie. While Winter Soldier was very much an ensemble piece it still felt like a Cap film, and that is going to be the case here. It will also deal with the fallout of The WInter Soldier - Bucky isn't being left to hang in the wind just because Spider-Man is showing up.
I can't wait for Civil War. Just as The Winter Soldier showed that Marvel was playing a long game with their SHIELD stuff, i think this movie will show they've been playing a long game with the tone and feel of the universe. They're not going to suddenly start cranking out The Dark Knight or anything, but I think they're gonna start escalating the stakes in big, personal ways.