Captain America: Civil War

Anushka Mokosh

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Rotten Tomato has lifted the ban on the reviews. I hadn't read much in order not to spoil myself, but it seems that they are overwhelmingly positive and I am really interested in seeing it.
 

allmywires

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I missed that it's coming out NEXT FRIDAY in the UK and am way too excited!! Winter Soldier has been my fav Marvel film so far so hoping for good things from this one. At the very least I will enjoy Steve & Bucky doubleteaming Iron Man. God that guy needs a punch (or several).
 

Culhwch

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I saw this today. I did like it, although I'm not sure it quite lived up to the hype (boy, there seemed to be a lot of hype for this). It did seem to me to be more an Avengers film than a Captain America film, though, what with almost all the Avengers plus a bunch of other heroes messing around...

Despite my comments above, I think the inclusion of Spider-Man was really well done, and Tom Holland makes for a very likable Peter Parker. Black Panther was impressive too, and I'm glad that both of these characters weren't simple cameos but were fairly important to the storyline. There were times I thought they tried to cram too much in, and the ending seemed a little anti-climatic after what led into it. Not as good as The Winter Soldier or Guardians of the Galaxy, which are my two favourite Marvel films so far, but I would say it's better than anything else they've made up to this point.
 

dekket

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I took my boy to see this today, and we both liked it. However, at the end of it, he still didn't understand why they were fighting each other. It all seemed to go very quickly. I was reminded afterwards of the How it should have ended youtube clip for the Winter soldier, as I thought it felt very much like a Captain America movie that took place in the MCU, where when he got into a tight spot he actually did ring up other Avengers for help.
 

Calum

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Like most people who saw Batman vs Superman I was pondering whether or not to chuck myself into a pit full of rabid wolverines. However Captain America Civil War managed to lift my spirts enough that I’ll postpone it until the Justice League movie comes out.

Civil War really shouldn’t work. It’s based on a rubbish crossover mega event, crams every last character short of Cosmo the Space Dog into what should have been Cap’s movie and ties itself down by introducing two major new players in the form of Black Panther and Spiderman. And yet somehow it all all comes together.

Sprawling as the narrative might be the Russo brothers keep things centred by keeping it anchored in the friendship between Steve and Bucky. This ensures that for all the theatrics the films retains a very human and relatable emotional core. Indeed this film made me realise just how much the whole trilogy has been a great platonic love story between the two. Even back in the first film it was Steve’s choice to rescue Bucky from Hydra that lead him to become Captain America. Civil War cleverly brings this full circle as he now puts his friendships, life and career on the line to save Bucky again.

The most striking aspects of the movies is how it deftly balances its tone. Age of Ultron blundered ungainly between glib, flippant wisecracks that killed any sense of genuine suspense and danger and melodramatic, portentous ruminating that never gelled with each other. The Russos by contrast know when to be serious but also don’t shy away from having a bit of fun, especially in the brilliant airport fight where Tom Holland’s delightful Spiderman steals the show (As this is a battle between friends the jokiness works much better here than in Ultron where the cast’s flippancy in life and death situations slaughtered any sense of genuine tension). However this sense of fun highlights the bitter tragedy of the film’s finale where we see the people we’ve grown to love over dozens of movies literally tear each other apart. However, it’s the movie’s weighty themes that prove both its greatest strength and weakness.

Civil War draws attention to the limits of just how much franchises such as the MCU can truly examine themes such as power and its abuse. It can’t realistically examine the realities of unchecked vigilantism and uses of power as the worst sins it’s willing to lay at the feet of the Avengers are a handful of mishaps where there good intentions lead to unintended collateral damage. The harsh truth is that in real life the misuse of unregulated power as nowhere near as benign.

For instance, in early 20th century Japan the nominally elected government had no control over the armed forces, a privilege that was the sole dominion of the Emperor. The military took advantage of this to spearhead an invasion of China that would set their nation on a path of conquest, mass murder and rape that cost the lives of tens of millions of Chinese, Indonesians, Vietnamese, Indians, Burmese, Americans and their own countrymen. When the Black and Tans were given minimal discipline and oversight they abused these powers by torturing and murdering ordinary Irish citizens for laughs.

The problems is that Marvel simply can’t show the ugly reality that the above abuses of power demonstrate. For all their flaws and neuroses the heroes of the Marvel universe are ultimately exceedingly, good, noble people. Those very virtues are after all what makes escaping into their world such a wonderful escape from the ugliness we see every day on the 10 o’clock news. But it also means that we can’t have Ant Man and The Hulk bowl down the Eifel tower and have a piddle in the wreckage. Steve’s arguments fall apart as soon as real people enter the equation. Consequently the film ends up tilting the scales in favour of Cap’s side as it has to avoid the realistic excess that such power without any oversight would engender in the real world in order to let the Avengers remain sympathetic.

‘Governments have agendas.’ Steve says. Apparently in the world of Mr Rogers vigilantes are nothing but level headed, rigorously ethical fellows. Do the letters KKK mean anything to him?

Despite this the film does leave room for genuine moral ambiguity, with both sides having genuine strengths and weaknesses. The supposed threat to world stability that supposedly justifies Steve’s unilateral shenanigans turns out to be a red herring, calling into question the validity of his actions throughout the film. Indeed the whole climax cleverly toys without expectations, wrong footing the viewer into assuming that Tony and Steve will patch up their differences and unite to take down generic Marvel movie villain Number 100. Instead we’re left with a bitterly raw, personal final fight and the revelation that the aforementioned villain Zemo was no cackling supervillain but the just a broken victim with nothing left to live for but revenge.

Since I’m now sounding like a pretentious numpty I’ll just insert the following sentence: bums, bums, bums, bums, pooh, pooh, wee-wee.

Civil Was is an all round smashing film even if it does raise the unfortunate reality that in real life superheroes would be a really, really bad idea.
 

JunkMonkey

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SPOILERS AHEAD (Seriously! A synopsis of the whole movie.)













Not having seen Captain America, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Iron Man (1, 2, or 3), The Avengers, Avengers Assemble, Avengers: Age of Ultron, or Ant Man.... and not having read any Avengers or Captain America comics since the 1980s I was, not surprisingly, a little lost as to what the f*ck was going on for the first hour or so of this. (Though I do pride myself on knowing who The Black Panther was well before the script told us.)

What I think happened was:

Opening 1: a Russian Bionic killer kills someone on a lonely road.

Opening 2: Bif! Kaboom! Pow! Wham Sock! Kaboom! (again) - Lots of Superhero fighting in Lagos ending in - "Oh crap, we just killed a lot of innocent bystanders - but we're Americans and this is happening in Lagos (which the target audience might be able to work out in in Africa but certainly couldn't point to on a map) - so what the f*ck."

Opening 3: A rich man, played by Iron Man, stands in front of an audience of American students and relives his last memories of his parents then gives them all a bunch of money before having a sad moment for some reason that might be understandable if I had watched a couple of the previous films. The rich man is then confronted by a very good character actress - who I recognise but cannot name (or point to on a map) - who tells him her son was an innocent (now dead) bystander in a previous bout of Bif! Kaboom! Pow! Wham Sock! Kaboom! in somewhere not African.

The Secretary of State (played by William Hurt's moustache) tells the assembled Avengers that the nations of the world are fed up with American Superheroes trashing their countries and killing their innocent bystanders without asking. (For a moment the film looks like it is raising interesting metaphors with American foreign policy but really it's just another iteration of the modern Superhero Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? trope. The Watchmen and various X-Men movies and for all I know all the films in the first paragraph have already beaten this to death - but still not answered.)

An accord has been drawn up, putting Superheroes under UN supervision. Some Superheroes sign up to it. Some don't. Someone from a previous movies dies off screen and Captain America has a (probably contractual) sad moment to match Iron Man's.

Meanwhile someone foreign is doing something foreign and a bit creepy.

There's a bomb at the signing and someone important dies. His son is not happy and vows revenge. The bomber is thought to be Captain America's former boyfriend. (Who is, weirdly, the Russian Bionic killer from the opening of the movie - this guy has issues.) There is lots of fighting. Lots and lots of fighting. The important person who got killed's son turns up (turns out he's a superhero too) and there is a lot more fighting - this time involving cars. Captain America's boyfriend is captured.

The foreign creepy dude presses Cap's boyfriend's buttons and turns him into the bionic killer again.

Cap and boyfriend (and their straight best friend) have a moment and decide to go off to Siberia to stop the the creepy foreign guy from switching on a whole load of other Russian Bionic killer dudes who have been sat in a fridge for the last 25 years.

Tony Stark is given 36 hours by the Secretary of State's moustache to bring in Cap and his gang. (The UN accord thing has been totally thrown out of the plot by now.)

Both sides go on a recruiting drive and soon a sh*tload of guys in CGI enhanced suits are whacking the crap out of each other and a German airport.

Cap and the boy wonder steal the Avenger's superjet (I think - I'm guessing it was mentioned in a previous movie here) and zoom off.

Iron Man has a moment with his boyfriend (who has just plummeted from xty thousand feet headfirst into a field) and totally ignores the fleeing villains/heroes/moral ambiguities.

Some of the superheroes get arrested and go to jail.

On his way home Iron Man's convenient wrist radio plot point delivery system finally gets round to telling him what we the audience know about the creepy foreign dude. The chronology is a bit weird here. Captain America and Bucky must have stopped off for a bit of 'catching up' on the way to Siberia . (After all they haven't seen each other for a few years.) Because Iron Man gets to go the hospital with his BFF (and find he may never walk again - "ha! I get one more sad moment than you, Captain America!"); visit the super submarine jail (commanded for some reason by the Secretary of State of the US - presumably the script needed Iron Man to be in two places at once so a couple of scenes were combined); and STILL arrive in Siberia a few minutes after Cap and Bucky. Or maybe the Avenger's superjet they stole is really really slow.

The creepy foreign dude has killed all the deep froze Russian Bionic killers and has left a video tape of Bucky killing Iron Man's mum and dad [see opening 1] why he didn't just post this to Iron Man in the first place or put on Youtube is a mystery - the lonely road had, for some unaccountable reason, a surveillance camera pointed at the very tree their car crashed into. Maybe the owners were afraid someone would steal it. There is another fight. Crash! Bang! Wallop! The creepy foreign guy is happy. HIS family, it turns out, had been Innocent Bystanders Killed by Superheroes and this was his revenge. The Black Panther turns up in Siberia having followed Iron Man in ANOTHER superfast jet and stops him from killing himself. Resolution.

Credits.

Annoyed that Iron Man had more sad moments than Captain America, Bucky decides to give his friend the opportunity for one more by climbing into a fridge in the middle of a jungle and getting froze till the next film. Captain America makes sure Iron Man isn't looking - and has a sad moment.

More credits. The end.


So what did I think? - It was ok. Another huge slab of American pop culture with sh*tloads of fist fights. At the end of it I felt like I had watched a whole TV series in one sitting. Daughter Number One thought it was "Awesome" but slightly annoyed that her favourite character from the first two Captain America movies (Cap's boyfriend Bucky) had been reduced to a mere MacGuffin. And Please, Mr Hollywood, get over your obsession with parental loss. The whole plot (three major characters in the final fiveway fistfest were were motivated by revenge for the loss of murdered parents. One Hamlet at a time please!


Stan Lee popped up near the end. I'm convinced the man thinks he's the missing Chuckle Brother.



He's about as funny.

I wish he'd learn from Hitchcock who would appear as soon as possible and get it over with so the audience weren't sitting there looking for him when they should have been enjoying the film.






 

Foxbat

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I read your spoiler JunkMonkey (despite not seeing the film yet) and I have to say that I found it more entertaining than Age Of Ultron :)
 

JunkMonkey

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Aha! I just understood a joke/line from Civil War.

At one point Iron Man mumbles a 'sorry about that' when Ultron is mentioned. The line could be taken to mean (within the mise en scène) to mean he was sorry he built the thing - but it could also be read as a forth wall breaking 'sorry about the movie'.
 

allmywires

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Sprawling as the narrative might be the Russo brothers keep things centred by keeping it anchored in the friendship between Steve and Bucky. This ensures that for all the theatrics the films retains a very human and relatable emotional core. Indeed this film made me realise just how much the whole trilogy has been a great platonic love story between the two. Even back in the first film it was Steve’s choice to rescue Bucky from Hydra that lead him to become Captain America. Civil War cleverly brings this full circle as he now puts his friendships, life and career on the line to save Bucky again.
Coming out of the film this afternoon this was something my housemate and I were discussing a lot. You know, so much of me really wishes they would dare to go there with Steve and Bucky, although I understand why they never will - put Bucky's backstory in a female character's body and there would be a 1000% chance that would be Full Romo, and I'd even go so far to say you'd get a romance unparalleled in the MCU* (sorry Tony and Pepper, I can't care enough for your will-they-won't-they). Steve risks EVERYTHING for Bucky, time and time again, to an outlandish degree: there were times in this movie where even I sat there in the theatre like 'Steve man, get a grip, you need to let the guy go!' Not to mention that here it really becomes clear to Steve that Bucky is really the only link left he has to his old life, that he means more to him that his new Avengers family even when he's a brainwashed psycho-assassin... Despite all this, though, you can't deny that the tension between them from Captain America: Winter Soldier definitively dissipated into a firmly Dude Bro Thing, which makes me wonder if that wasn't a conscious choice on the writer's part. Ah well. I don't watch mainstream media for its canonical m/m content; I know better than that. ;)

*(Doesn't help of course that Agent Carter 2.0 is so vapid and not a patch on Peggy. Yay for shoehorned romances...)

Anyway, slash rants aside, I really enjoyed the film - standouts were Spiderman's spunky debut and anytime Sam and Bucky were in a scene together. Genuinely cracked up a few times, and although the beginning was a bit slow I think it was well worth the pre-release plaudits. On to Infinity War!
 

JunkMonkey

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My 13 year old daughter reckons it's more than a bromance.

An OT question. Does the Marvel Universe have any openly gay characters?

[EDIT : I Googled my own question. Answer: Yes, but I didn't recognise any of them.]
 

WaylanderToo

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Coming out of the film this afternoon this was something my housemate and I were discussing a lot. You know, so much of me really wishes they would dare to go there with Steve and Bucky, although I understand why they never will - put Bucky's backstory in a female character's body and there would be a 1000% chance that would be Full Romo, and I'd even go so far to say you'd get a romance unparalleled in the MCU* (sorry Tony and Pepper, I can't care enough for your will-they-won't-they). Steve risks EVERYTHING for Bucky, time and time again, to an outlandish degree: there were times in this movie where even I sat there in the theatre like 'Steve man, get a grip, you need to let the guy go!' Not to mention that here it really becomes clear to Steve that Bucky is really the only link left he has to his old life, that he means more to him that his new Avengers family even when he's a brainwashed psycho-assassin... Despite all this, though, you can't deny that the tension between them from Captain America: Winter Soldier definitively dissipated into a firmly Dude Bro Thing, which makes me wonder if that wasn't a conscious choice on the writer's part. Ah well. I don't watch mainstream media for its canonical m/m content; I know better than that. ;)

*(Doesn't help of course that Agent Carter 2.0 is so vapid and not a patch on Peggy. Yay for shoehorned romances...)

Anyway, slash rants aside, I really enjoyed the film - standouts were Spiderman's spunky debut and anytime Sam and Bucky were in a scene together. Genuinely cracked up a few times, and although the beginning was a bit slow I think it was well worth the pre-release plaudits. On to Infinity War!

I sort of see where you're going on that.... but my take on it is "best friends". Best friends are frequently closer than family & let's be honest most would go above and beyond for family....
 

2DaveWixon

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Color schemes apart, James Gunn seems to approve of the new Spidey... James Gunn Calls Tom Holland "The Best" Spider-Man, Praises "Civil War"

I'm looking forward to a new interpretation of Spider-Man; I don't think either of the past two series got it right. I'd like to see him played more like the mouthy teen from the Spectacular Spider-Man TV show. ;)
I think you got your wish. (But if I were there, I'd have had to stifle an urge to shake the kid until his teeth rattled -- which no doubt would have been a very bad idea on my part...)
 

Brian G Turner

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Just saw this film - thought it was really good. With one big caveat that the lack of communication between Cap and Iron Man felt forced and convenient for the purpose of plot. Also, the Spiderman intro simply felt like Marvel showcasing him for a movie - how did Tony Stark learn of Spiderman's true identity again?

Aside from those points, very enjoyable with a commendable focus on the human element - always great for a story. Even better, to echo @Calum 's point above, with so many characters involved it really shouldn't work - but it does. Even with Ant Man!

Additionally, as Calum said, this was an Avengers film, rather than a Captain America*. And it's all the better for it.

* We're only missing Hulk and Thor - everyone else seems to be in it.
 

Bugg

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Saw this last week, finally, and thoroughly enjoyed it, with a handful of misgivings, I suppose, but that may just be down to superhero burn-out. I have enjoyed the three Captain America films more than most, especially Winter Soldier. This one wasn't as good, and it felt more like another Avengers movie rather than just Captain America, but it certainly had its moments. I think what I liked most was that it could have made one side or the other look like the bad guys, but it somehow managed to walk that tightrope and keep me sympathetic towards both, in spite of how much I dislike Stark and the Iron Man films in general.
 

Cathbad

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I enjoy good superhero movies. Unfortunately, most of the recent ones have sacrificed story development for action and Special FX.
 
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