Friday, May 6, 2016

Sami on Captain America : Civil War


Okay, so I went into Civil War worried about several things: 
  • The movie being too grim
  • How they were going to handle the divide in the team and how annoying and contrived it was going to be
  • How much boring and depressing politics was going to be in the discussions about that bill
  • Why Nat wasn't on Cap's side
  • How they were going to handle having so many people in a movie that's supposed to be about Cap
But I really don't think I needed to worry. Captain America : Civil War is not a perfect movie, and not as fantastic as Winter Soldier, but it's still really good and better than Age of Ultron. Spoilers ahead, so don't keep reading if you don't want them!



I really hated the marketing that kept trying to force everyone to pick sides. I think it was unneccessary for the fans to be divided as well as the team, and my favs were spread out across both sides. So that was part of why I wasn't super happy about the idea of everyone splitting down the middle, but in the actual moment of the movie--though I still don't like the advertising--it didn't matter that much. Everyone was just doing what they thought was right, and Cap and Tony actually were forcing everyone's hands, so it was in-line with the theme and the feel of the film itself.

Also, one of my least favorite things about the way this Phase has been going is Tony being more and more afraid of everything. It's fully understandable, and I think it was handled well in his own third movie, but in Ultron it was making him make really stupid decisions, and in Civil War, though he was dealing with it by trying to atone for those stupid decisions, it made him come across as an asshole, manipulating the people he was trying to protect.

The part of that that struck home the best, for me, was where he considered the Avengers his family and just wanted to keep his family together--because his original family hadn't stayed together very well at all. They could have played up the idea of family a little more and not the idea of government oversight--which is distasteful, the way the real world is, but I guess that is why it's there to begin with--but whatever. When Tony was a broken kid looking for a home, that's when he didn't seem like a jerk, and that's when I liked his half of the story best.

I didn't like that all his reasoning was so small--you want to pinion your own wings because you have no self control and you want to keep your girlfriend from dumping you? That was handled better in Ironman 3, and I thought it was resolved. The family angle was bigger and more grand, if you ask me.

Cap's half of the story was more emotionally true, I feel. He'd been looking for Bucky since he lost him, and now he finally had the lead he'd been searching for, only to get it at exactly the worst possible time to be associated with the Winter Soldier. And he did anyway, because Bucky needed him. I like Steve as a rebel for good--he saw exactly how corrupt the government had become last movie and he didn't want a part of that this time...but all his talk about taking your own blame? How exactly was he going to do that for all the literal and emotional damage he has helped cause? Come on, Cap. You gonna go and rebuild those dozens of buildings yourself?*

Bucky is where the heart of the movie was. Sebastian Stan did such an amazing job with all the variations on a character that barely talks--creepy, brainwashed Winter Soldier; shell-shocked survivor trying to lay low and disappear; almost-Bucky trying to deal with what he'd done and figure out how much blame he should get, since he's aware that he's been controlled, but also that it was literally him who did those things. In the reveal scene with Tony's parents, that came to a head: he knew Howard before all this. They had friends in common even if they weren't friends themselves. And he killed him because he was told to and as Winter Soldier, he couldn't not.

Hearbreaking.

It would have been nice to see what Bucky would have done with four other Winter Soldiers, but it was clever how that was side-stepped, and it showed the villain's deviousness really well: he knew exactly how to push all their buttons, and they all fell for it. Now they're all divided and it seems like most of them don't even know just how manipulated they were.

It's a movie about manipulation, I guess.


All the really fun stuff came from everyone else, and there was lots of everyone else involved. Almost too many, but they were handled pretty well, with everyone getting a few moments to shine.

Wanda being still too untrained to really do this super-hero stuff, and her being so upset about her mistakes was a good sign on how her character is going. I really liked how Steve took her under his wind as sort of a little sister. And I liked how totally smitten Vision is with her, but how they didn't force her to like him back the same way, yet. The fact that she's the only one who has a chance against him is encouraging that they're equals if they go with the romance angle, but it also sets them up against each other if they go with comic-stories for either of them about being overpowered. Because damn is Vision unstoppable, and if she can match him, that means she's unstoppable, too. In the big airport-faceoff, both of them were pretty alarming.

Nat actually made sense being on the side of signing the Accords, but I was so much more happy when she switched sides like I'd hoped she would. And it was refreshing not having to have her be the stand-in for missing love interests...though the whole Sharon Carter thing was weird. I loved Nat and Clint basically playing along and not actually fighting each other when everyone else was being super serious about the fight. Clint is a gift, and why don't the two of them have their own movie yet?**

Ant-Man was so much fun, even though his mask made him look like a weird robot baby. I love Scott, and I can't wait until his second movie. All the current fun in the MCU is in these side heroes, and he brings a lot of it here where it's needed to balance the tragedy that is Bucky Barnes. 

Spiderman was GREAT, but not how Tony went and paid him off and threatened to expose his identity to get him to work on Team Ironman. Like. The kid is still in high school. He's an infant compared to these guys you're setting him against, and that's crazy irresponsible and potentially dangerous. Good thing he's damn near indestructible.

Rhodey did not deserve any of this.

Sam Wilson's "I really hate you" was probably his best line in the movie, but my fav part with him was when he and Bucky, both pretty large dudes, were crammed into that tiny car, waiting on Steve. Oh, my god, so much fun, both the argument over seats, and the bro-nod after that weird Steve-Sharon kiss. So great.

And Black Panther! Considering how most of his screentime was devoted to kicking Bucky's ass, he did really well with an enlightened revenge arc--he really seemed to be learning the lessons that everyone else was sort of not learning; he pays attention and lets other people make mistakes instead of making them himself, and that's really interesting in a superhero story. Also, it's amazing that both sides basically respected that he's an actual king and kept his honors.

I think Civil War actually wrapped up the Steve-and-Bucky trilogy more than the Captain America trilogy we thought we were watching up till now, and the main purpose was to mix up the teams more than to tell either Steve or Bucky's stories, but it's a pretty good movie for all that. This obsession the MCU has with everything being OMG THERE'S TWO--yeah, I got tired of that with the two SHIELDs and two HYDRAs, and I'll be glad when they get that out of their system and stop with it already, but it'll be interesting to see how a UN-sanctioned Avengers team and a rogue Avengers team will interact. 

Which one is going to recruit each of the new heroes as they pop up? Which team will Hulk and Thor side with when they get back***, assuming they're not going to just be problems for the teams to deal with? If they are problems to deal with, how will that go with half the team being their friends and half being people who came after they disappeared?

I love that so much of this movie was about the absolute damage these people cause, but it would have been nice if they'd maybe not caused more and proved the point that they do need to be kept in check--it would have made Cap's view stronger if he'd told his team NOT to destroy that airport, those planes, all that cargo and people's belongings, all those cars...Like, did you not listen at all to that totally basic part of the UN powerpoint? 

I also love that Bucky's "I'm not going to kill anyone" became like a theme for the movie. The badguys killed people, but the goodguys made a point not to...though they were totally destroying property, still, and probably breaking a lot of bones.

Things I really want to know now:
  • What is going to happen to Bucky? Who can help him--both with his arm and with all the Hydra mess inside his head?
  • What happened to That Book? Are there other copies of it, or is that the only one? 
  • Just how freaking awesome IS Wakanda? I'm really looking forward to Black Panther now! I wanna see that one lady actually get to kick someone's butt.
  • Will Seb get his wish and get a love story with Nat?
  • Can we trust whoever is in charge of Zemo now? And what's going on with his plan, all creepily alluded to?
  • Where are Steve and Co going to set up shop now that they're technically criminals, even if they're still acting as heroes? What resources will they have?****
  • Who else was at that mid-ocean supermax? Did they get out, too?
  • Are the new Avengers going to get their own movies? I mean, I want Nat and Clint to get one first, but then, can we get Wanda and Vision?
  • Also Falcon. Doesn't that nerd deserve a movie of his own after all he's been through?
Still lingering stories I want to see come back:
  • I mean, Zola can't just be gone, right? Am I really supposed to believe that he uploaded his brain to thousands of too-early-tech computers and survived for decades developing an algorithm to track very specific people, and then he'd just let himself get exploded like that?
  • Hulk. Like, where. What's he doing? Also Fury. Also Thor. Also, where the heck was Maria Hill--doesn't she work for Tony's security firm they've not done much with now?
  • How does any of this affect or interact with SHIELD? Because that show is practically in an alternate universe, it has so little effect on the mainstream, and it's getting annoying. Are we going to have to have three more seasons of this before the Inhumans movie forces them to just admit that Coulson is alive and everything is really stupid with his agency? Come on, this is exactly what SHIELD is supposed to be dealing with, and the Avengers have been without backup for YEARS now because of all this fuckery on the show.
  • Are the Secret Avengers / whatever the heck the Inhuman team on the show is called ever going to have anything to do with the other Avengers?
  • Why are they not making shorts anymore? Because seriously, they could do a lot with these movies that don't exist as shorts--a few Nat and Clint side-missions, Rhodey and Falcon and Wasp and randoms crossovers that they can't work into the movies, etc could all do great things in the shorts. Hell, they could made a whole series based on those who who were recruited after Avegners by Sitwell, and what they've been doing since SHIELD fell!
So, overall, I really enjoyed the movie (despite any complaining above), and I'm excited to see what happens next! I just wish that there had been more actual attempt not to destroy every single thing everywhere, when that was one of the points of the Accords half the movie was fighting. It's going to be super interesting to see how a world that technically doesn't have a superpowered Avengers team anymore--since one half is in hiding and the other half has to get permission--is going to deal with all the weird stuff coming up in the next few movies. 

And I'm super-interested in what's going to lead up to the Infinity Wars and the union of the cosmic MCU and the earth-MCU.


*I would, however, pay good money to see a movie where some ex-Shield nobodies who were used to the grunt work set up a massive construction firm dedicated to cleaning up after superhero fights. You listening, Feige? I'd write that for you.
**I'd write that movie, too, though I'd probably wind up writing them as a triad with Clint's wife, and get shot down on that.
***Weird that the Avengers don't know where either of them are for what could be two years? When will Hulk get his own movie? Weren't they looking for them the way Steve's been looking for Bucky?
****Hank Pym really doesn't like Starks, so maybe he'll foot the bill?

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