Captain America: Civil War (May 2016)

*SPOILER WARNING*

I’ve been relatively disappointed with Marvel movies of late (with the exception of Deadpool, which should be framed in a museum and played on a continuous loop). Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and now, this brand new sequel, have all recently joined the ranks of Superhero Movies I Don’t Really Care About. A quick disclaimer before I really get into it: I hadn’t watched any of the Captain America/Avengers movies for at least a year, and I’ve only just scratched the surface with the comics, so those more familiar with the materials CACW was based on might have understood/enjoyed it more. But as always, my personal opinion also exists, so here it is.

Civil War can be accurately explained through the reactions of my friend and I in the theater; every five minutes or so, we’d look at each other as if to say “OH SHIT” or “WHAT A TWIST”. This movie hurls plot points at you with remarkable speed; It was confusing and messy at times. There was so much going on that I didn’t particularly care about a lot of it. The initial concept would have been interesting if it didn’t have so much background noise going on around it with the other subplots. That was this movie’s downfall.

The longer the movie went on (nearly two hours and thirty minutes), the more I hated Cap and Tony, two characters who I loved in their respective franchises. Both of them just needed to take a huge step back from their ideals and compromise, because (in my professional opinion), NEITHER side was right. Cap should check his damages and be more careful about collateral destruction / consider the indirect costs of their missions. Tony should consider how government control of the Avengers would severely hinder response time. The government can’t even pave roads; how are they supposed to regulate a team of superheroes? The two of them need to suck it up and admit that they are both wrong; there’s no perfect way to govern superheroes. Superhuman saviors are new and weird, and the world is arguably not ready for them. So, in the meantime, they need to learn to control themselves until the government is equipped to oversee them properly.

I think Wanda Maximoff was largely ignored, despite how important her underdeveloped, lackluster character could have been to the plot if the writers weren’t concerned with Cap and Tony’s bitching about each other (Also I’m still bitter that they killed off Quicksilver). On the other hand, I liked Vision’s Data-esque rigidity a lot more than I thought I would, considering how much I hated Age of Ultron. Also, surprisingly, I enjoyed Scott Lang a lot more in this film than in his own. Maybe he’s just better in small doses. And as always, Sam Wilson is amazing. As for the original Avengers gang, unsurprisingly, I am still bitter that Hawkeye isn’t getting the appreciation he deserves, nor the characterization. The man is supposed to be this wonderful hot mess, but I couldn’t describe to you Renner’s Hawkeye’s personality if I tried. Also, Black Widow continues to reach sky-high levels of boring, increasing with each movie she appears in. My friend remarked that she was pissed BW was becoming “the mom friend” when it really doesn’t suit her personality, and I have to agree. Just like with Hope in Ant-Man, the writers keep changing her character to better suit her situation. You don’t even have to read the comics to know that something’s up there.

Another character profile: Bucky. It could be a matter of opinion, but I don’t understand why everyone loves that dude. Onscreen, he’s been so sullen, combative, and altogether unhelpful for so long that I’ve almost completely forgotten how cute and nice he was in the first ten minutes of the original Captain America. I just don’t care about him that much anymore.

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Marvel seems to be having a slight problem with continuity. The first instance of this is with Tony. Were his panic attacks a one-time thing? Because that disappoints me. Sure, when you look at his character, the first thing you think is certainly not “anxiety”. But that’s what made it so perfect; his character is so out-there (genius, millionaire, philanthropist, expert sarcasm-wielder), that he’s completely unattainable and unrelatable. If Stark’s panic attacks were even slightly more consistent, maybe some Marvel fans out in the crowd could begin to relate to him. I know it’s a stretch to want to write Iron Man with anxiety, but you have to admit, they were setting up something interesting there in Iron Man 3.

Right, so let’s talk Bruce Banner. Where the hell is he? Not that I’m complaining, because if I had to sit through another two hours and thirty minutes of awkward sexual tension between him and Natasha, I probably would have pulled all of my hair out. That pairing is probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Ever. Speaking of sexual tension, there was a character I really liked named Sharon, who would have been great if she hadn’t been a very convenient love interest for Cap. And when it happened, it was weird. Really weird. Because wouldn’t you know it, she’s related to Agent Carter….Awkward. It got to the point where it occurred to me that Sharon might only exist to keep fans from thinking Cap was gay for Bucky. But it’s too late, Marvel. They already think that.

Let’s shift the focus to good things about the movie: I liked Black Panther, to an extent. I didn’t think they worshipped Egyptian gods in Nigeria, but I didn’t feel like doing the research so I’ll let it slide with a shaky “okay”. The movie’s ultimate saving grace was, without a doubt, the new Spider-Man. Tom Holland was pretty close to perfection, if you ask me. Not to mention he’s the only Peter Parker ever cast who is an actual teenager. He was cute, he was dorky, he lamented relatably about homework; I loved him, and I loved the contrast of having someone much younger on the team (“Hey guys?? You know that really old movie, Empire Strikes back??” ”How young is this kid?” ”I didn’t carbon date him! I don’t know!”). He was more excitable and chatty than the older, more seasoned heroes, working with more raw talent and ingenuity than training and practice, making his presence in the group an effective breath of fresh air.

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CACW had a ton of good moments (notably including the admittedly AWESOME “civil war” battle scene. You know, the hyped-up The Gang Battles It Out scene everyone in the theater was looking forward to? It did not disappoint, thanks largely to Ant-Man and Spider-Man.) If the writers had concentrated all of the good moments and gotten rid of the unnecessary bits (see: Cap/Sharon), I might have liked this movie a lot more. That being said……………….just see it for Spiderman.

GRADE: B-

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