Thoughts on “Civil War”

So, I recently managed to watch “Captain America: Civil War”. My thoughts on it will contain spoilers, so I’ll put it below the fold:

I liked the movie, overall. It was entertaining for the most part, although as is normal for me I fell asleep during it. But since I typically fall asleep during James Bond movies, that’s not really much of an issue.

The fight scenes were, overall, fairly well-done. I liked the scene at the airport the most, and the scene at the end the least. That wasn’t helped by the fact that it was pretty much an unnecessary fight, with the “surprise” revelation starting up a fight when the overall issue of the Civil War was already resolved … and that the fight didn’t itself change anything and yet at the end Tony and Steve pretty much agree to go their own ways, with the overall issue not resolved, but not really an issue any more either.

Spider-man was done reasonably well, although I still think I like the Tobey McGuire version better. At least he really is kinda a star-struck nerd in this one, which is nice. That being said, the choice of Marisa Tomei as Aunt May is the worst casting for Aunt May that I’ve ever seen. What’s funny about it, though, is that the movie heavily lampshades it, even down to Tony flat-out calling her “surprisingly attractive”. That’s … kinda strange. Either Marvel is trying to sabotage the next Sony movie, or else she was Sony’s choice that they had to use, and they wanted to mock it in a way that made it clear that, hey, it wasn’t their idea. There’s probably a whole host of articles out there explaining it, but I’m too lazy to look it up. Suffice it to say, it’s a bit strange.

I liked how they handled the burgeoning romance between Wanda and Vision, and it really fit in well with the overall theme of the movie and, in my opinion, provided the stronger example of the damage that the “Civil War” could do to friendships and to people when they find themselves on opposite sides. The conflict between Tony and Steve didn’t seem to have that, probably because they weren’t really established as such great friends before this. While the relationship between Wanda and Vision was at least mostly introduced here, it was done in such a way that you could easily tell that they did care for each other, and even their fight scenes reflected that well. We didn’t get that for Steve and Tony.

And at this point I have to get into the biggest part of the movie: the justification for the Civil War. Now, I’ve read almost if not all of the Civil War series, including some What Ifs, and the original justification was both more reasonable and one that you could justifiably oppose. The issue here was mostly that the Avengers weren’t always all that careful with collateral damage and with political boundaries and issues, which rubbed many countries the wrong way. Thus, they wanted some oversight. But ultimately what they demanded was control, when oversight would do. And yet … there was no thought or even possibility of any compromise, from either side. We don’t really see why anyone thinks this is a solution to anything, especially since while the Avengers did cause damage in New York and Sokovia, in those cases it was clear that if they hadn’t intervened and hadn’t intervened quickly, things would have been worse. Even the events of Winter Soldier, also referenced, was a case where not doing anything and not doing anything quickly would have been disastrous. Putting this in the hands of a U.N. committee was just a bad idea all around, and it’s obvious to see why no one would want the Avengers to have to wait for approval before stopping an invasion or other such destructive force from, well, destroying things.

What’s sad is that the event that ends up being the overall catalyst for the protocols is the one that has the best justification, one that’s mostly not commented on in the attempt to focus on the destruction angle: Cap and a team going in to a country without any permission from the local government and without interacting in any way with the local authorities to track down, I think, Crossbones, whom they had been chasing for a while. As far as I can recall, he wasn’t an Earth-threatening force, and so there wasn’t the urgency that they had with the other cases. But instead of working through normal channels, what you had was a bunch of American superheroes essentially fighting in the middle of a foreign country with no attempt to work with the local government. This would indeed be worrying to any other nation in the world, especially those who didn’t have super teams of their own. So they’d have a desire to bring the Avengers under their control so that they couldn’t or wouldn’t be tempted to impose American values and political concerns on the other nations. At the very least, they’d be seen as a threat that could be held over their heads. But by bringing them under the control of the United Nations, the door is left open to some nations at the very least stalling if not thwarting the Avengers’ attempts to bring criminals like Crossbones to justice, with Cap then arguing that the Avengers can’t be under the control of any political body, even that of the United States, and Tony being able to argue that if they don’t put this under international control all you’ll have is each nation building its own teams, leading to massive, politically-based superhero on superhero fighting. If you want to make this both clear, funny, and set-up other aspects of the Marvel Universe, have Ross talk to Tony about it beforehand, and have him name drop the Canadian superhero team “Alpha Flight”. Have Tony quip that that’s Canada, and that they’d politely ask before invading any other nation … and then have Ross name drop the Russian superheroes, so that Tony can definitely see it starting.

And I’d have Ross be less in favour of it, for various reasons, not the least of which is that he likes having a mostly American set of superheroes doing things on their own. Portray him as wanting the Avengers to be “America’s superhero team”. But he’s being forced into this by the reactions of the other nations … which only solidifies that politics are driving the show. At this point, the battle is over whether they should bow to expediency or refuse to be used as puppets to political interests.

Now, some of this might have come out in the sections where I was asleep … but I doubt it.

Anyway, overall, it was a good movie. I think I like the first Avengers better but like this one better than Age of Ultron. While I should compare it to the Captain America movies, I don’t want to because it’s definitely more of an Avengers movie than a Cap movie, and I liked the other two quite a bit. So I just don’t want to choose [grin].

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