It can mean 'vil' when the subject clearly does not have any will of the event, or in formal contexts.
"Det vil komme et jordskjelv" = "There will be an earthquake"
The subject clearly cannot want an earthquake.
"Reaksjonen vil forårsake en fargeendring" = "The reaction will cause a change of colour"
Formal texts, such as chemistry textbooks, commonly uses 'vil' instead of 'kommer til å'
"Han vil dø viss han ikke får hjelp" = "He will die if he doesn't get aid".
The person in question clearly doesn't want to die, but he himself is not in charge of the choice.
"Hun vil miste hjemmet sitt" = "She will lose her home"
Without context, some sentences could be ambiguous, but it's likely that she is going to lose her home because of some event that is likely to happen in the future, such as landslide.
It could also be used in poetic texts, but then again, anything is allowed in poetic texts...
The sentences above could easily be written differently to avoid ambiguity, and 'kommer til å' would be more common in some instances:
"Han kommer til å dø viss han ikke får hjelp"
"Hun kommer til å miste hjemmet sitt"
In most cases, 'vil' will translate to 'want(s)', which is anytime the subject clearly has a choice in the situation:
"Han vil spise is" = "He wants to eat ice cream"
But he could choose not to.
"Hun vil ikke hoppe i fallskjerm" = "She doesn't want to skydive"
But she could want to.
"De vil ta over verden" = "They want to/will take over the world". This could be ambiguous, but again, contexts will clearly tell you the difference. Is it the mad scientists who wants to take over the earth, or the fact that cell phones will take over the lives of everyone in the world.