DISCLAIMER: Before reading this draft, I implore you to read the one I posted for the first ‘Captain Britain’ film.
In 1982, during the closing days of the Falklands War, Willard Scott, a Member of Parliament and Foreign Secretary, is killed in a car explosion after he gives a BBC interview (which conveys many of the events that have transpired in between the first film and this one).
Brian Braddock has worked hard for the betterment of Britain over the past year in his capacity as the public hero Captain Britain and head of MI-13’s Excalibur Task Force. Braddock, however, has an uneasy relationship with the government through his refusal to be their lapdog and his animosity for the Prime Minister, James “Mad Jim” Jaspers (for his past abuse of boys at Falsworth College, numerous crimes, and ensuring Joshua Stragg’s trial ended with him being sentenced to death by hanging). Tensions only increased with Braddock’s decision to enter Northern Ireland as a peace-maker instead of, as ordered to by the government, a conqueror. Presently, however, Braddock, along with Dane Whitman (the Black Knight) and Slaymaster, is working with the government and British Army to bring an end to the Falklands War. After successfully defeating one of the last pockets of Argentinian resistance (where Brian’s leadership skills, the moral he inspires as Captain Britain, and concern for lives (British and Argentinean alike) is on full display), Brian, in his fury, puts a stop to a war crime: Slaymaster and his men executing prisoners of war. Having Slaymaster detained, the British begin their withdrawal from the Falklands.
Returning to London, and after having bitter words with Jaspers, Brian expresses his fury over Slaymaster’s actions to his uncle and MI-13 Director, Aldwyn Braddock, who refuses to make his right-hand and enforcer within MI-13 face justice, and whose increasingly tyrannical rule of MI-13, abuses of power, protection of the Prime Minister, and hatred of Brian’s deceased father, James, has further divided nephew and uncle and led to a bitter feud. Brian does, however, have Slaymaster removed from the Excalibur Task Force and vows that he, along with Jaspers, must face justice eventually. Brian then makes a trip to Darkmoor, where, for the past year, he has been trying to communicate with Roma in order to get answers about why she mapped out his destiny years before he became Captain Britain and about the mysterious visions he has been having of a burning manor; she does not answer. Merlyn, however, does. When Brian questions him about the mythical Excalibur, which he has become fixated on as a tool to better the world, Merlyn replies cryptically before returning to Avalon.
Braddock then visits the imprisoned Joshua Stragg, whose execution is nigh. The two former enemies have made peace, with Stragg accepting the folly of the bloody campaign he intended to wage and admiring the way in which Brian has bettered their country. Meanwhile, Dr. Hussain is sifting through MI-13 archives to find the research she conducted on the Amulet of Right (which had mysteriously disappeared soon after Stragg was defeated); she accidentally finds a sanitized file for a Project FURY, which was approved in the late 50’s as Aldwyn’s first act as Director. Aldwyn reveals nothing when pressed. Hussain, suspicious, brings this mystery to the attention of Brian and Whitman. The following day is Stragg’s execution. Dai Thomas, now an outstanding detective at Scotland Yard, visits his old friend. They have an emotional, cathartic goodbye. Simultaneously, Brian returns to his Central London apartment and mulls over the Project FURY mystery. Stragg is led to the gallows as “Mad Jim” Jaspers sadistically taunts his former victim and watches on. Joshua Stragg, the first film’s villain, former Scotland Yard detective and MI-13 agent, the leader of the Reavers, the man that once wielded the Sword of Might, Britain’s most infamous war criminal, and now a redeemed man at peace, is hung and dies. As this happens, an MI-13 task force, led by Slaymaster, burst into Brian’s apartment and attack him. After barely escaping with his life, Brian, wounded and limping through the alleyways of London, watches, horror struck, a BBC news report: he is now a wanted man, having been framed for the war crime Slaymaster committed in the Falklands and for having Willard Scott assassinated. Braddock later seeks the aid of Courtney Ross, whose Romanichal community is camped on the outskirts of London.
Dai Thomas is approached by Aldwyn Braddock, who convinces Dai that Brian really is guilty of the crimes (and more) he has been accused of and compares Brian’s “fall” to Stragg’s. Aldwyn wants Dai to once more take up the mantle of Union Jack and, along with Slaymaster, lead a task force that will bring his nephew to “justice”. Dai, vowing that he must not let a repeat of what happened with Stragg and the Reavers occur, accepts Aldwyn’s offer. At MI-13’s HQ, after the hunt for Braddock is announced, Whitman is suspended from duty after speaking out against Aldwyn. Whitman and Dr. Hussain are later intercepted by Courtney Ross and taken to meet with the fugitive Brian at a discreet location; both of them believe in his innocence. They deduce Jim Jaspers is involved in the plot against Brian and reluctantly accept Aldwyn may be too; the three agree that the mysterious Project FURY may be the key to understanding the conspiracy. They plan to have Brian and Whitman infiltrate MI-13 HQ with Dr. Hussain’s discreet help to search of answers.
Braddock and Whitman infiltrate MI-13 as Aldwyn convenes a meeting with Dai Thomas, Slaymaster, and Jaspers, in which Jaspers threatens Dai with his telekinetic abilities during a furious row. Unable to find specifics about Project FURY within the paper archives, Braddock, Whitman, and Hussain consult Mastermind, MI-13’s artificial intelligence (and something I dearly hope would be voiced by Stephen Fry). Mastermind reveals to the three that Project FURY was a plan drawn up by a fifth column, known as the Hellfire Club, within the British intelligence community (led by Aldwyn and Jaspers) to restore Britain’s Empire and supremacy through a weapon powerful enough to invade and burn the rest of the world into submission with a mass-scorched earth policy. Only through Dr. Hussain’s research on the Amulet of Right and Stragg’s meddling with Avalon last year has Aldwyn been able to harness the limitless, extra-dimensional energy necessary to power the Draigwyrdd, a terrifying aerial war vehicle capable of truly burning the world down (which looks like something of a hellish cross between a Helicarrier and something from a Iron Maiden cover; indeed, the Draigwyrdd is framed as a predecessor to SHIELD’s Helicarrier projects). The launch of the Draigwyrdd and a coup within Parliament is imminent.
Mastermind, however, is an A.I. with a directive to serve MI-13, thus it, with regret, has had to betray Brian by altering MI-13 of his presence. Brian realises the task force is on its way. Hussain escapes through a secret passage in the walls whilst Brian and Whitman opt to split up to divide the task force and escape separately. As Brian is evading MI-13 and making his escape, he encounters Aldwyn. After a brief skirmish, Brian is desperately pleading and trying to reason with uncle and understand why he is doing something so monstrous. Aldwyn cryptically states how he must “make it right”. This confrontation is cut short when the task force arrive and begin firing on Brian. Brain escapes MI-13 HQ and flees into a nearby construction site, with Dai Thomas and Slaymaster leading the pursuit. After being shot several times by Dai, Slaymaster catches up to Brian and they engage in a battle in which Brian is shot, stabbed, cut, brutally beaten, and loses. Dai arrives and realises that this is an execution, not justice for the crimes Brian has supposedly committed. Sensing a conspiracy at play, Dai turns on Slaymaster. Dai and Brian are able to beat Slaymaster back, who then flees. Dai, Whitman, and a wounded Brian escape together.
Brian is adamant they must rendezvous with Dr. Hussain (at Hampstead Heath) as planned instead of seeking medical attention from Ross’ Romani community. Hussain, already waiting at Hampstead, is confronted by Aldwyn Braddock, who had her tracked there and now dons high-tech Anglo-Saxon-esque armor. It slowly dawns on Hussain that Aldwyn is there to execute her, for she knows far too much as her research on the Amulet was crucial to making the Draigwyrdd’s success possible. Aldwyn slashes her throat with his sword and leaves her to die as Braddock, Dai, and Whitman arrive. Faiza Hussain dies; the wounded and furious Brian pursues Aldwyn. After being brutally beaten down, Aldwyn tells Brian he should have killed him when he had the chance like how he killed Brian’s father. Brian’s friends arrive and are able to save and escape with the unconscious Brian before Aldwyn can deliver the killing blow.
Meanwhile, Project FURY has begun. Jaspers, through a sinister speech and chilling sequence, announces that the terror threat is critical (with it being spun that Captain Britain is the causes of this), calls for an emergency Parliamentary meeting, British Army troops loyal to Aldwyn flood into London, and preparations for the Draigwyrdd launch at Dover have begun.
Brian regains consciousness with his wounds being tended to by Courtney Ross; he and his friends are now safe among the Romani travelers on the outskirts of London in Essex. With the film taking a moment to breath with this peaceful segment in the countryside, Brian knows they are close to the ruins of Braddock Manor, his ancestral home. Haunted by Aldwyn’s words and having had painful visions of a manor burning throughout the film, Brian decides that he must go there. As Brian returns to the manor and as the visions grow more vivid and painful, Roma finally reappears to Brian after a year of silence. Brian knows something happened in his past that is connected to why Roma chose him; he demands answers. Roma explains and shows Brian how Aldwyn was suffocating in his brother’s shadow. Obsessed with achieving greatness, Aldwyn sought Roma’s counsel; instead, she foresaw that the great Braddock of the era would thwart Aldwyn’s ambitions and leave him a broken man.
Distraught and interpreting this great Braddock to be his brother (then the current Captain Britain), Aldwyn, along with Slaymaster and his other men, slaughtered every other Braddock at a family gathering when Brian was a baby (including Brian’s mother, brother and sister, etc.) and burned the ancestral home. After Aldwyn killed James himself, he was going to kill the infant Brian before Roma’s apparition appeared to plead with him that James was dead and killing the only other person of his blood would have been needless butchery. Aldwyn relented, spared the infant Brian, and resolved to raise him at a distance. It is conveyed through this scene and others later in the film that Aldwyn’s ambition of burning and conquering the rest of the world in order to restore the British Empire is his way of filling the emptiness within himself, dulling the pain that has consumed him, and ensuring that slaughtering his family and burning the ancestral home was worth something in the end; that it was a necessary sacrifice to fulfill a great destiny. Project FURY is how he will “make it right”. Like with Joshua Stragg, these grand plans and ambitions stem from a deeply personal and tragic place.
Roma’s unintentional role in James Braddock’s murder and Brian’s tragic past filled her with guilt, and that is why she chose Brian to inherit the Amulet of Right; it was her way of righting a terrible wrong. These revelations leave Brian distraught, but he accepts what happened, knows that tragedy no longer defines who he is, and is reinvigorated with the determination to stop Aldwyn and Jaspers in order to save his country and the world. Simultaneously, in London, MI-13 agents loyal to Aldwyn murder opponents within the intelligence community (as if Britain’s own version of ‘The Night of the Long Knives’). Aldwyn explains to his loyal lieutenants how the Draigwyrdd, protected by an impervious shield of energy, will first sweep into Western Europe before parts of it detach to then burn Africa, the Soviet Union, and Asia to the ground whilst Jaspers cements a new totalitarian rule in Britain by wiping out the British political class he has assembled for this emergency meeting. Aldwyn and his inner circle drink to his horrific plan.
Meanwhile, in Essex, and having gained backup and new information in the form of Peggy Carter, Alystaire and Alysande Stuart, and British Army soldiers and MI-13 agents still loyal to Captain Britain, Brian and his allies draw up their plan of attack; they realise they cannot focus all of their effort on either Aldwyn (who will lead the invasion of the rest of the world from the bridge of Draigwyrdd) or Jaspers, as to focus solely on one means that either the world at large will be devastated and countless lives lost or that Britain will fall to tyranny under Jaspers. Deciding that both must be stopped simultaneously, Brian, Whitman, and the MI-13 agents resolve to thwart Aldwyn; Dai, Peggy Carter, the Stuarts, Ross, and the soldiers will go to London to stop Jaspers’ coup. Brian gives a speech to his friends and allies, they suit up, and part ways.
Aldwyn, still in his Anglo-Saxon-esque armor, embracing ‘The Saxon’ moniker, and with his sword now enhanced by the same energy properties the Amulet has, is overseeing the Draigwyrdd’s launch at the White Cliffs of Dover. He is confronted by an apparition of Roma, who desperately tries to dissuade Aldwyn from going down this destructive path. Aldwyn, of course, will not stop, as he feels he is too far gone and must make the atrocities he has committed and everything he worked for mean something.
The third act has both the sequence in London and the Draigwyrdd’s take place simultaneously and intercut with each other. But, for the sake of this synopsis, they will be detailed separately.
As Parliament convenes, Jasper slowly reveals his plan to kill Britain’s assembled political class. Before he go through with the massacre, Dai’s team attacks, with Carter’s soldiers holding down the ones loyal to Aldwyn and storming Parliament. Dai, after defeating Slaymaster, confronts Jaspers. In this highly personal encounter, Jaspers is able to effortlessly pin Dai down through his telekinetic abilities and proceeds to mentally and physically torture him. Dai, however, is stalling and encouraging this whilst edging closer to a window so that Jaspers would be within the cross hairs of Alstaire Stuart, who, through a well placed shot, hits him a serum that temporarily suppresses his powers. Despite Stuart begging Dai not to take revenge over radio, Dai silences it, places one bullet within a revolver, and ponders whether Jaspers can power through the serum and stop the bullet in time with a line that echoes what Jaspers said to Stragg on his way to the gallows. When the gun finally does fire its single bullet, Jaspers is able to stop it but the strain and resulting seizure kills him, and this is the culmination of the Dai Thomas (and Joshua Stragg) and Jim Jaspers story arc. The heroes have won the London front.
Meanwhile, at Dover, Braddock and Whitman arrive too late; the Draigwyrdd has begun its ascent, and many of the loyal MI-13 agents are either killed or unable to board it and are left behind, including Whitman. Only Brian, through his relationship with the Amulet of Right, which is powered by the same energy that powers the Draigwyrdd, can penetrate its shield and infiltrate it. As the Draigwyrdd reaches France, it unleashes its terrible wrath on the land in a display of how devastating a weapon it truly is; everything in its path is burned as if a concentrated nuclear holocaust. Several French villages are quickly decimated and the French armed forces are easily swept aside by the Draigwyrdd’s weaponry.
Brian, after being caught, battles Aldwyn and his men on the Draigwyrdd’s bridge and then deck whilst it continues devastating the land beneath them. With only Aldwyn left, the two continue fighting. Aldwyn eventually gains the upper hand and stab Brian with his sword; Brian is able to hold the blade to prevent it from going through him, steadily pushes it back as it cut into his hands and then his cheek, and screams furiously at Aldwyn.
Aldwyn is shaken by his nephew’s strength, fury, and determination. Aldwyn orders one of the deck’s weapons fire on Brian, which, after reacting with the Amulet, sends him flying off the deck and into the French wetlands looming in the distance. Defeated and with the Draigwyrdd and all its destructive weapons bearing down on him, the hopeless Brian looks down at the Amulet of Right. Merlyn’s words about Excalibur in the first act finally make sense to Brian; he realises how he proved himself worthy of wielding it the moment he chose to the path of peace and calm (the Amulet) over the path of violence and power (the Sword of Might), and that stone he must pull the Excalibur from is the Amulet itself. Whispering for Roma to forgive him, Brian shatters the Amulet and pulls Excalibur from it, and, with it, destroys the Draigwyrdd’s weapons, disables it, and defeats his uncle (though Excalibur is shattered in half in the process). When Aldwyn comes to in the smoking ruins of the Draigwyrdd’s as the sun rises, he and Brian talk, reflect, and lament. Aldwyn wants Brian to kill him; Brian refuses to end their conflict that way, and offers Aldwyn redemption by telling him what truly matters in that moment is what he decides to do now. Aldwyn attacks Brian, with murderous intent, but inadvertently kills himself by causing the Draigwyrdd’s unstable core to explode; before being killed, Aldwyn calmly accepts his fate.
In the aftermath, Jack “Jacko” Tanner, Brian’s old friend, and Peggy Carter have begun to stabilise the situation in Britain and deal with the international uproar the Draigwyrdd’s invasion of Western Europe has caused; MI-13, the army, Parliament, etc. is cleared of the fifth column loyal to Aldwyn and Jaspers; Brian’s name is cleared of the crimes he was accused of; Whitman appears before a Parliamentary hearing to recount recent events to the world; Brian, after returning what remains of Excalibur to Darkmoor, making his peace with Roma, and entering a romantic relationship with Courtney Ross, assumes control of MI-13 as its new Director in order to reform it from its shadowy, corrupt self into what it should be, rebuild Braddock Manor as its new HQ, and continue to be the hero his country needs, and has, as Captain Britain.
Captain Britain will return in the trilogy’s final outing: ‘Captain Britain Corps’.