Captain America: Civil War Review

I normally do marketing posts on Mondays, but I’m a little behind schedule, and I’ve got a couple movies to review, so enter Movie Monday instead!

Let’s begin:

So I had a date. He took me to see Captain America: Civil War late-ish on a Tuesday.

I knew (from the trailers) that I would want to be Team Cap because of the reason for the split. If it could be said that I was a member of any particular political party, I would say I was a Libertarian, the party that is ostensibly the party of freedom. Libertarians believe in as much freedom as possible. Want guns? You’re free to own them so long as you’re not using them to take freedom away from other people.

Side note, the Tea Party crazies are part of the Libertarian party, but just as all Catholics are Christian but not all Christians are Catholic, not all Libertarians are crazy Tea Partiers. Also, though the title of this blog involves tea, I am decidedly NOT a member of the Tea Party!

Now that we’ve cleared that up…

The way the issue is presented in the trailers (and basically how it is in the movie as well), Tony Stark wants the Avengers to give up their freedom to choose how and when to step in and handle an issue. Meanwhile, Cap won’t sign for it because he feels strongly that it’s wrong. Thus, I had to be Team Cap because giving up your freedoms in the hopes of gaining security IS wrong!

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So the movie discussed some of the basic ideas of freedom versus security that have obviously (if that quote is any indication) been a topic of importance since the founding of this country. Team Iron Man represents security, while Team Captain America represents Freedom.

I have a student who was very angry at the direction they took the story because he felt they didn’t let Captain America stay true to his Boy Scout nature. He’s right, to a point, but the reason is because he was maintaining American ideals and sometimes that means going against popular opinion. Furthermore (just found out today) that there is a speech that is in the movie that comes from the comics about standing one’s ground and telling the other guy to move.

As such, this movie made me a Captain America fan! Up til now, I’ve disliked him because he was too good. It’s unbelievable in this day and age that anyone could be truly THAT good. Even the new evolution of Superman has him killing people if necessary. He killed Zod not once but twice now… sort of.

An edgier Captain America was kind of necessary. And the movie was really good!

Before we continue, be aware that past this point there will probably be spoilers.

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So my usual criteria for judging movies is based on it’s appropriateness as a date movie. This one makes the cut. Mostly because it covers a great deal of issues. It talks about choices and consequences, friendship, loyalty, vengeance, and, of course, liberty vs. security.

Not a lot of romance in this one… though there is a nice (and well overdue) kiss between Cap and Sharon Carter, played by Emily VanCamp, the niece of his love from the 40’s, Peggy Carter.

Somehow it’s just wrong that he’d get together with the niece. I mean he’s got to be like 60 years older than her… but how else do we appeal to those who crave romance if there isn’t at least one bit of romantic tension?

Romantic tension that could have also been a bit of a trap. Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, insinuates that she knows how they can find Cap because she knows at least one person who knows where he is, and then it cuts over to the scene where Sharon is meeting with Cap to give him his weapons and stuff back. And the kiss.

I’m getting ahead of myself…

The biggest spoiler is that none of the characters dies. So let’s get that out of the way right now.

There had been rumors that this would be the end of Captain America because his contract was over or some such, or that because they’d killed him off in the comic books, they’d have to kill him off in this movie. Plus, it is the completion of the trilogy, which kind of suggests this is the end of his character arc.

But no, no one dies. Well, none of the Avengers anyway. Peggy’s death is a turning point for Cap and the scene of the aforementioned speech about standing one’s ground. It’s also slightly symbolic, seeing as ABC did not renew Agent Carter for another season.

But again, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The movie begins with Cap, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow and Falcon following a lead to capture that one Hydra guy that (as he says in the movie) Cap dropped a building on his face, Crossbones, played by Frank Grillo.

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This guy really hates Captain America, played by Chris Evans, and is willing to die to take Cap out with him. Instead, Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen, moves the explosion out of the crowded street. There, is of course, some collateral damage, but the majority of the people are saved. They took out one floor of a building instead of an entire crowded street.

I was very frustrated when this “catastrophe” was listed as the tipping factor to get the government, or governments plural, to take action against the Avengers. These people obviously never saw Star Trek 2, the Wrath of Kahn: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

But it was a recurring theme. People were frustrated with the Avengers for not saving the world without killing some people. Hence, now we have to see the consequences of their actions. And Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr. has a lot of guilt for people  to manipulate…

Hence when Alfre Woodard, as Miriam, shows up to guilt him about the death of her son at Sokovia (the place where Ultron tried to take out the whole world by pulling a city out of the ground! And the Avengers saved the WHOLE world by taking him out, and subsequently letting the city fall back to earth and kill a large number of people) Tony takes the bait hook line and sinker. He becomes the number one supporter for the Sokovia Accords.

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Too bad he didn’t think about the consequences of his choice further down the line.

One of the things that has always made Tony Stark relatable is that he makes mistakes, like normal people. The man has impulse control issues. But, because he’s a multi-billionaire or whatever, his mistakes tend to be the types that destroy countries. Remember, Ultron only existed because Tony was trying to make things better…

I saw an image somewhere online about how all of these messes were because of Tony, so the rest of the Avengers shouldn’t have to pay for Tony’s mistakes. Or clean up after them…

But that’s not addressed in the movie.

It would, however, make for a great post movie cocktail discussion. There are several things that would make for a great discussions, if you’re lucky enough to have a date who is sapiosexual.

Such as, do you agree that it is okay for them to make Captain America something of a criminal? As he refuses to sign, and furthermore goes to save his pal Bucky, played by Sebastian Stan, Cap makes the decision to go against the law. Are his actions justifiable? Or does it go against the nature of who Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, is?

Oh Bucky…

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So, while everyone is trying to decide what they’re going to do about the Avengers, since they keep *ahem* causing all this destruction and mayhem, a bomb goes off, and a really crappy image that looks like Bucky is shown. It’s released to the public. There’s a manhunt. Cap goes to bring his friend in safely, because there are orders to shoot to kill, and he doesn’t want that to happen.

The bomb that went off killed the King of Wakanda, and so, taking his father’s place as king, enter T’Challa, aka Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman. Also known as the guy with the coolest costume thus far in the MCU.

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Not only does it look cool, but it has retractable claws, and it’s bulletproof. He also seems to have super human speed and dexterity, which makes sense given the name, but if you’re not a comic book person (which I’m honestly not), then it requires some suspension of disbelief.

T’Challa wants revenge for the death of his father, and is so blinded by vengeance that he will not stop until he has found Bucky. Putting him and Cap at odds from the word “go.”

But the twist, that we as the audience are pretty aware of, is that there’s someone else framing Bucky, someone who is very devious and has the cunning of some of the DC villains, who are noted for their dastardly plans and darker demeanor.

My date had to explain to me who he was, but the guy behind everything is Zemo, played by Daniel Brühl, who also lost his family in Sokovia.

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It makes for an interesting framing a little bit. Tony decides to sign the Sokovia Accords because he feels guilty for the death of an innocent, and it was the death of some innocents who send this guy spiraling over the edge and almost destroys the Avengers because of his need for revenge.

Tony is faced with that, and almost destroys Cap and Bucky because the lynch pin to Zemo’s whole plan is Tony finding out that Bucky is the one who killed his parents.

The entire plan is designed to get Tony and Cap and Bucky to a secluded location that Bucky knows about, where there are more like him, so that Cap and Tony can duke it out wild west style and destroy each other, killing the Avengers, avenging the death of Zemo’s family.

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Whew! It’s a complex story!

But with tons of action that balance out the heaviness of the subject matter. Of course, there’s the Ant-Man to Giant-Man reveal, which is awesome! Tony’s big secret weapon was Spiderman, which the best scenes with him were shown in the trailers, so I hope they give him some more soon. But because that was his big secret, when Ant-Man becomes Giant-Man, Tony asking if anyone on their team has any giant surprises, is great!

As always, the MCU didn’t disappoint. There was a lot, but unlike the travesty that was Batman V. Superman, it wasn’t too much, or too hard to follow. You didn’t have to know all the back stories in order to understand what was going on, but it helped. The action wasn’t overpowering, nor did it feel gratuitous. If there was a fight scene, it was because there needed to be a fight scene. Explosion? Was it necessary? Absolutely! It was a thinking person’s action film with a balance of action, emotion, intellect.

I’d like to see it again.

If there’s anything I’ve left out, or if you have anything that you’d like to agree or disagree about, please feel free to leave me some comments here or on Twitter. I always love a good debate discussion.

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