The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Captain America - Civil War

I apologize for the tardiness of this review. I will admit that I don't have much to say about "Civil War". I mean, it's great. Go see it. Read what I wrote about "Batman v. Superman" aka "BvS" aka "Beavis", and "Civil War" is the exact opposite of that.

But I feel I owe you all something, so I'll be brief.

1. It's much better than Mark Millar's comic book. They say ideas aren't good and bad in and of themselves, it's all about execution. "Civil War" sums it up. I hated the character assassination the comic series engaged in back in 2006. But this was the exact opposite. I flip-flopped between sides throughout it as both had their points, both mad their mistakes. In the end, I was neither on Team Cap or Team Tony.

2. Black Panther was great. I cannot wait for his movie. He was powerful, majestic, and oh so human.

3. I have gone back and forth on Spider-Man a little. But, in the end, I decided that I liked him. This was an awkward place to introduce him, but I felt the spirit of the character there and I think Tom Holland does well. As somebody who doesn't care for Toby Maguire's Spider-Man or Andrew Garfield's, I hope Holland is the one. And for those of you worried it'll be nothing but High School, well, Tom Holland will be aging between "Spider-Man Homecoming" and its sequel in Phase Four.

4. Zemo was great. I know some people didn't care for him, I think this comes from the fact that he didn't have the mask, the sword, and the lineage. But remove all that and I still saw the character there. A cunning, manipulative, evil, vengeful monster. And what's more, he won. And he's still alive, he might get a costume later. I could see him leading a Masters of Evil in a sequel, or starring in a "Thunderbolts" movie. His endgame was just heartbreaking, and in a less movie, things would have gone in another direction.

Also he had an actual, understandable motive. Why did Beavis's Lex Luthor do anything again?

5. In the end, I'm on Team Black Widow. Do what you feel is right, but change your mind when new information comes to light. She's still my favorite Avenger.


  1. Why is everybody comparing CW to BVS? You are proving theres a Marvel bias!

    1. The same reason why "Die Hard" is used as a benchmark for action movies. Why Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" movies or Game of Thrones are the reference for fantasy. Nothing exists in a vacuum and certain works have become the gold standard by which similar movies are judged.
      Conversely, some movies are so universally reviled that they too become a cultural reference point for how not to do something, and, at this moment in time at least, "Beavis" is standing with the likes of Daredevil, Elektra, Batman & Robin, Fant4stic, and Catwoman as one of the worst movies in its genre, made worse by the fact that said genre is seemingly in a golden age.

    2. Don't know. I think the actual Beavis has more class than BvS: DoF.

  2. Great review, I share many of the same sentiments. "Captain America: Civil War" not only was a vast improvement from the 2006 comic version, it also is another MCU film which seeks to put a stake in the theory that you "need to shut your brain off to enjoy a comic book film/summer blockbuster". Such a thing is a personal choice, not some unspoken obligation of an audience. It does everything "Yawn of Justice" tried and failed to do, and did it better. You could see how each side in the argument had their own points, and in the end it came down to, gasp, personal emotions and feelings. No matter what, Steve wanted to believe the best in and defend his best friend (who, with Peggy Carter's death was the only person from his "old life" left alive). Tony, no matter what, tried to straddle the line between obeying the law and trying to help his friends until the chance to avenge his parents' murder arrived. He felt betrayed by Steve, and not for a completely irrational reason. I liked Crossbones' brief return and I also thought Zemo was effective. I do hope we do get him in "full vigor" at some point but he was cerebral and cunning (and perhaps the first major MCU villain who wasn't much of a physical combatant at all). Black Panther was great (although removing his revenge arc and Klaw's role in that does make figuring out what his movie will be about a challenge, especially since he has few villains who aren't problematic, such as M'Baku the Man-Ape) and Black Widow (give her a movie damn it).

    Tom Holland did well as Spider-Man, and that costume (and his scenes in it) are great. There are some things I didn't care for, even if I expected them. Marisa Tomei is a great actress, but having May Parker become "aunt hottie" is something to get used to. It is funny how you never see, say, Alfred Pennyworth played by any actor younger than 60 in a movie but May Parker gets younger and younger because, c'mon. While it's a lot better doing the "Tony mentors Peter" plot with him as a teenager, I'm never thrilled with him being involved with the superhero community as one of their team almost from his inception. But, after "Ultimate Spider-Man" I knew that's what Disney envisions so it was going to happen regardless. At least this way has more wiggle room. The "quippage" was right and that's what matters. I couldn't imagine the cameo going better.

    My only quibble is that, as Tumblr has pointed out, there were some opportunities for the superheroes to defend themselves a little in the argument that didn't happen. Blaming them for the property damage in NYC? Didn't the military literally want to nuke NYC as an alternative? Wouldn't that have been much, much, MUCH worse? And honestly, while I liked that "Thunderbolt" Ross was presented in a sane and even sympathetic manner, if ever there was a military figure who had a conflict of interest, it's him. And, while I know it was a tragedy and all, why were the Starks driving home at night with a trunk full of super soldier serum anyway?

    Beyond that, another thinking man's blockbuster which was awesome and deserves to do well. Another great performance as Chris Evans. I'm glad he's reconsidering retiring from the role after his contract expires; I think he suits the role well and who would blame him from wanting to give it another go or so after Avengers 4 if he wanted? Hopefully with Ike Perlmutter gone from the film division, some actor salaries can go up and more good things can happen. It's hard thinking of stuff which didn't work. It's a perfect example of a film being able to cover some seriously mature, heady, and even tragic stuff without being humorless or having zero optimism or joy anywhere.

  3. I honestly wouldn't mind it if Spidey was around high school more. The movies took every change they got to skip them out. I would love to see a fleshed out high school cast like the one Spectacular Spider-Man.

  4. For my money the ending scenes involving Steve & Tony might be my favorite scenes in all of the MCU.

    Tony: "That shield doesn't belong to you. You don't deserve it! My father made that shield!"

    Out of guilt, Steve lays that Shield down before leaving. Without him saying one word it displayed his guilt over what his actions put Tony through. EVEN AFTER they both tried ripping each other apart.

    Then Tony reads the letter that Steve sent him, EVEN AFTER they both tried tearing each other apart AND him keeping the secret, Tony still considered reading his letter. Because DESPITE all of that, there was still respect for Steve. Maybe not as much as before, but enough for him to consider what Steve had to say to him.

    Both scenes display the complexity of their feelings/emotions they both felt. And ALL OF IT felt earned.

    This movie has restored a little faith from me in the MCU going forward, after the disappointing "Age of Ultron". This movie handled the juggling of many characters better, even if its questionable how much screen time some characters should've gotten.