(Submitted for this lovely #SuperheroSaturday by Prince Adam…Thanks a heap, my Heroic Ho-miebot!! 😉 xoxo)
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps-one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability. (Marvel Studios)
Captain America: Civil War is a film with two agendas, serving as a sequel to both The Winter Soldier, and Age of Ultron. The film succeeds in both respects. The film toggles back and forth between being a Cap movie and an Avengers movie perfectly. Plot points left over from Winter Soldier feed in to those left over from Age of Ultron and vice versa. One of the things I outright LOVE about this film, is that Marvel is finally acknowledging and dealing with the consequences of the actions of the heroes and villains. During a battle with Crossbones, the villain tries to set off an explosive he’s wearing. Scarlet Witch contains him in a force field. However, as she levitates him further from the populated location, she accidentally gets close to an inhabited building. She loses control ever briefly; the bomb goes off, destroys the building, killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers. This scene not only sets the stage for the conflict within the Avengers, but it sets the stage for the Winter Soldier’s inclusion into this story. Before he detonates himself, Crossbones tells Steve, that Bucky is the reason for all this. With Cap left to ponder that, the next scene sees Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (The Incredible Hulk) with Tony Stark by his side to introduce The Sokovia Accords, which 150 countries are prepared to sign. Given the events in New York (The Avengers), Washington (The Winter Soldier), and Sokovia (Age of Ultron), this accord would give the U.N. final say as to when and where the Avengers could intervene. What was interesting here is that the film flips the script in terms of what we expect our two central characters to do. Captain America uncharacteristically refuses to comply, going against the government. Though, given the events of Winter Soldier, you can kind of see why he would. Tony Stark has always been the rebel, the anti-establishment kind of guy. So seeing him side with the UN here was awkward. But, it’s explained when Tony admits to Ultron being his fault, and when he is emotionally confronted by a mother of a college student who was killed in Sokovia, during the battle with Ultron. This shift in perspective for both characters really shows character growth.
Even though our heroes disagree on the Sokovia Accords, they go their separate ways until the documents are set to be ratified. The assembly is bombed, killing King T’Chaka of Wakanda along with countless others, and evidence points to The Winter Soldier being responsible. When Sec. Ross orders a manhunt to capture the Winter Soldier, Captain America and his team of Avengers set out to find and help Bucky evade prosecution. Meanwhile, Iron-Man and his team of Avengers, are sent out to bring the whole lot of them in. Speaking of Bucky, I’m glad the film actually showed his Winter Soldier origin in the flashbacks. As much as I loved the first Captain America sequel, I was disappointed, and felt a bit cheated that we didn’t get to see any of the how’s and why’s of The Winter Soldier. Civil War certainly rectifies that, and in doing so, stays pretty close to the comic books. The timeline may be jumbled to fit the MCU, but the core element of Hydra agents in Siberia brainwashing him, and using him on missions, including tracking down remnants of the super-soldier serum, so Hydra could recreate an army of evil super soldiers. One key difference from the comics is the fact that Winter Soldier killed Tony Stark’s parents to get the super soldier serum and Steve Rogers knew about it. While this plot point reeks of convenience, it serves it’s purpose of making the schism between Tony and Steve personal, as well as political. Before I get to the heroes vs. heroes element of this film, there is another villain pulling the strings. Helmut Zemo is the real villain of the piece, framing Bucky for the bombing, using the Winter Soldier to expedite the Sokovia Accords. The ultimate goal is fracturing The Avengers from within. It’s a more brains over brawn plan, which is really unique to the MCU to this point. Also, Zemo’s reasoning for brainwashing Bucky, and setting this all in motion, is because his family was killed in the battle of Sokovia in Age of Ultron. This is his way of avenging them. In the character’s monologue to Black Panther, you can’t help but feel for him, and understand his reasoning. Even though he is apprehended, his plan of dividing The Avengers ultimately succeeds. This was essentially Zemo Begins and Daniel Bruhul plays him very effectively. He ranks as one of the strongest MCU villains, so here’s hoping for a return. Speaking of the end of this film, I was happy that it ended with Cap freeing his Avengers team, and them essentially being on the run. However, I was disappointed with Steve leaving a note for Tony, saying; “If you ever need me, I’ll be there.” Seriously, is there a mandate over at Disney forcing every Marvel movie to end on a happy note. Can these two not stay mad at each other for more than the duration of one film?
Regarding the two Avengers teams partaking in this Civil War, the combatants and the sides they chose are, for the most part, obvious. On team Iron Man, is War Machine, Black Widow, The Vision, Black Panther, and Spider-Man. On team Captain America is Hawkeye, Winter Soldier, Falcon, Ant-Man, and Scarlet Witch. The benefit of this being the 13th film in the cinematic universe, means most of these relationships are established, so these pairings feel natural. The Tony/Steve animosity only works because of the tensions that were put in place in The Avengers, and then expanded upon in Age of Ultron. As a result, when Iron-Man says that he and Cap used to be friends, and then accuses him of no longer being worthy of the shield, it hurts one’s fanboy heart. Both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. deliver intense performances in their scenes together. Rhodey and Bucky were ever the loyal friends for their respective leader. Sebastian Stan had more dialogue as Bucky Barnes this time around and gives his best turn of the franchise. I’ve always found Don Cheadle to be rather bland as Rhodey Rhodes. This film does nothing to change that. However, I was sad that the character was paralyzed during the fight. Although, I was affected because of Robert Downey Jr’s reaction as Tony more than anything else. While I preferred Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow in Winter Soldier, she was still really good here. She starts on Team Iron-Man, but she defects, and joins Team Captain America. I should’ve somewhat expected that, given the fact that she started out as a SHIELD liaison to Stark in Iron-Man 2, before becoming a field agent partner to Captain America in his first sequel. The fact that I didn’t see it coming, suggests that ScarJo has become very in tune with her double agent spy character. The Vision and Scarlet Witch were the newbies last time out, and here they share most of their scenes together. There’s this unique friendship, and somewhat romantic relationship at play here. They bond because their power sources stems from mind stone infinity gem. They also bond over the fact that they are the most powerful heroes in The Avengers, and everyone is afraid of them. I thought Elizabeth Olsen and Scarlet Witch were underused in Age of Ultron, but here she truly shines. We see even more of the extent of her powers, and how volatile and out of control she can be. Their relationship is a little oddball and weird, but both Olsen and Paul Bettany are quirky enough as actors to pull off a bond between an android and a witch. Thanks to their chemistry, their schism is just as important and poignant as Tony and Steve’s dissention. The fact that they ended on opposite sides also makes sense. The Vision was created by Tony Stark, with the intent of making the world a safer place, and minimizing the need for The Avengers; just like the Sokovia Accords. Scarlet Witch meanwhile, is being sequestered and being told when, where, and how to act, being told to keep her power in check. It’s a no-brainer that she would take Cap’s side in this debate. One character that stole the film for me was Black Panther, played wonderfully by Chadwick Boseman. He only aligns himself with Team Iron Man, because he’s out for revenge against Bucky who he thinks set off the bomb that killed his father. We get very little about Wakanda or Black Panther mythology, but the little we get as told by Boseman, has me so pumped for the Black Panther solo film. Here Boseman plays an emotionally distraught son bereft of his father, while exuding a confident and regal Prince ready to assume the mantle of king, and costumed hero to a nation. I loved the scene where he takes off his mask, revealing himself to police and authorities, as if to say; “I’m the King of Wakanda Bitches! I’ve got diplomatic immunity, and can do whatever the F**K I want.”
Ant-Man and Hawkeye have no organic reason for being in this, other then that The Hulk and Thor are too powerful, and would make the fight moot. While Ant-Man brought humor and levity to the film at much needed times, Hawkeye proves what an utterly useless character he is. Paul Rudd as Scott going all fanboy when meeting Steve Rogers was a definite highlight. I feel sorry for Jeremy Renner. He’s been wasted in the MCU. Maybe they should put him in a spy thriller type spinoff with Black Widow, where he can really shine. Or maybe even a Netflix series! Aside from Black Panther, I was most excited to see Tom Holland as Spider-Man. Holy Shit was my excitement justified. As much as I loved the Sam Raimi trilogy, and liked the two Andrew Garfield films, in 30 minutes of screen time, the young actor delivers the start of what could be the definitive version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man to date. I love the fact that we have an actual teenager playing a teenage character, as opposed to a 30 year old playing a high schooler. It makes his youthful exuberance more authentic. His joy of being Spider-Man is infectious. His interplay with Tony Stark provided the best, most naturalistic comedy in the MCU, aside from Guardians of the Galaxy. The fact that Spider-Man never shuts up during a fight, always cracking, wise, and even makes a Star Wars reference is just pure, unadulterated comic book Spider-Man. I can’t really comment on Tom Holland’s chemistry with Marissa Tomei’s Aunt May. There simply wasn’t enough of a sample size. However, I totally called a scene where Tony Stark hits on Aunt May prior to our screening. Also, thanks to The Wrestler, we live in a world where I can say; I’ve seen Aunt May’s tits, and they’re spectacular!
There were four huge action set pieces in this film. We have the Avengers mission in Lagos, tracking down Crossbones. This fight further highlights the Mission Impossible/Bourne Identity style fights that are typical of the Captain America franchise to date. What I loved about this scene was the focus on the ladies, Black Widow and Scarlet Witch. Black Widow using a motor bike as an effective prop in a fight, to propel her and give her an advantage was great! Black Widow’s hand to hand combat is better than any of her male counter parts in the MCU. I spoke briefly about Scarlet Witch’s levitation and telekinetic abilities, but I liked how those manifested on screen. Next the three way chase sequence was something special. It’s a car chase, motorcycle chase and on foot chase all in one. Black Panther outruns both a car and a motorcycle. That is beyond cool! Even better is the fact that he runs with a feral, animalistic crawl. All I know is after that scene I wanted more Black Panther ASAP! The airport fight, while it looked confined and small in the trailers was rather large in scope. When the two Avengers teams charge each other, it looked like two football teams locking horns on a football field. It was like watching The Panthers play the Patriots, as I was conflicted as to who to cheer for. (Haha Nice, and I feel your pain. 🙂 -D.P.) It was quite a shock to see Ant-Man turn into Giant-Man and rampage his way through that airport runway. Even better was seeing Spider-Man reference and use a Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back tactic to help take him down. I won’t spoil it, but it is the most unique form of inter-company crossover references ever, and one of the best Spider-Man action moments on film. During the airport fight, Scarlet Witch tells Hawkeye that he is pulling his punches with Black Widow. However, this is not the case with Iron – Man vs. Captain America at the abandoned Siberia Hydra base. It was the most brutal and hard hitting fight of the 13 film MCU, Between Bucky and Cap double teaming Iron-Man with shield shots to the face, and Captain America driving his shield into the chest of Tony’s armor; If I didn’t already know Robert Downey Jr. was signed on for more films, I could easily believe Captain America might kill Tony watching this scene.
Is Captain America: Civil War an exact translation of its comic book namesake? No it is not, but the core essential elements are there, making it a very faithful interpretation. Is Captain America: Civil War the best Marvel Cinematic Universe film? It could very well be! It’s the most mature, adult and serious MCU film yet, but knows when it can pull back and throw some fun and banter at us. The film definitely amped my excitement up for Black Panther & Spider-Man: Homecoming! Finally, you’re probably all wondering which I Liked better, Civil War or Batman v Superman!? I’m #TeamBvS all the way! (WooHoo!!! Ditto!! :)) Sorry Marvel, you gave it a good try. Nothing compares to seeing Batman and Superman share a movie screen for the first time! If Marvel and DC were sex partners, Marvel would be my fling/one night stand! When we get together it’s great. A good romp and some hot hookups. Ultimately though, there are not commitments for either of us. DC on the other hand, is the woman I’m passionate about, the one I’d serenade outside her window, even if it was freeing. We’ve been together through good times (The Dark Knight Trilogy) and bad (Batman & Robin). DC Films is the woman I’d walk down the aisle and spend the rest of my life with. You know, I’m convinced comments like this are the reason I’m single! Anyways, go see Captain America: Civil War! It is awesome!
Ho-stess’s PS– That was the perfect analogy for CA:CW vs BvS! I’d totally fuck Captain America (and ho-w!!! ;)), marry Superman (he’s too perfect to sully of a relationship outside of wedlock ;)), and kill Tony Stark, then Batman. (Sorry, but “millionaire playboy” types are just not my jam. I’ve had more than my fill of those IRL…Gimme the Boy Scout- type any day!! :)) xoxo