As a casual movie-goer and fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America: Civil War definitely lived up to my carefully moderated hype. I didn’t put it on a pedestal like Fallout 4 or Deadpool, I simply kept it in the back of my head, watching a trailer here and there or reading a few posts on Reddit. I find that with Marvel films that’s all you really can do, because at the rate they’re churning out these blockbusters, if allowed, it can entirely consume the obsessive part of your brain. And that’s where I’m writing this overview from: a fairly objective place, with little hype and almost no outside knowledge of the comics, just a few hours after a midnight screening (GMT).
Disclaimer: in my eagerness to write this so soon after the English midnight screening of Civil War, I overlooked the fact that the film isn’t out yet in most other countries. For example, the movie will be released in America on May 6th, so I apologise and in advance will warn of spoilers in this post.
Let me just touch on how wrong my assumption for the arc of this film actually was. After seeing some announcements and a few trailers, while also with zero knowledge of the comics, I wrongly assumed that the main plot-points of the film would hit these lines:
- Something goes wrong with The Avengers (death, civilian casualties etc.)
- There’d be a disagreement and the contract/registry would be brought up.
- Cap and Iron Man would lead their teams from the point of disagreement.
- We’d see a few switches in teams.
- The two teams’ aggression ultimately culminates to a fight, but before a winner could be decided, a larger threat emerges.
- The once-friends-turned-enemies are once again friends after the realisation they’re stronger together, fighting the greater good.
My prediction was correct in its early stages, but towards the end it became a lot less accurate. The way the teams were formed, the motives, the interactions, everything ended up so much better than on screen. The only thing I am understandable of is the pacing, there are more superheroes on screen in Civil War than I think there has ever been in any superhero movie. So the fact that some character’s stories seemed hurried up in an effort to get them in the fight with enough momentum to seem relevant is a justified matter – Particularly as there’s a reliance on having seen the previous films, or perhaps some of the upcoming ones.
One of those characters to have an upcoming movie is Spider-Man (Homecoming). I was talking to the guy next to me in the cinema and he said that Spider-Man’s part was technically categorised as a cameo, which if true would explain his small amount of screen-time. He didn’t just bring the millennial nerdiness or extra comic relief to Civil War though; he’s also a great example of how huge a snowball the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become. Back in 2008 I had no idea it would reach the level it has, featuring the actors and superheroes it does today. I’m sure Stan Lee did, but I’m also sure Stan Lee wishes he’d sorted out the film rights for all these Marvel characters so they weren’t such a tangled mess nearly a decade on. Regardless of that, I thought Spider-Man was a great addition and had a really awesome debut; as soon as I saw ‘Queens’ show up I knew we were about to see something very memorable happen in the Marvel universe.
However, it wasn’t just The Spiderling who brought comedy to Civil War, Ant-Man, Falcon and even Bucky all had their moments. I’m not too familiar with which characters are featured or how big of a role they play in the comic, but Bucky’s part was huge. He’s the golden snitch everyone is chasing for one reason or another and the differing story arcs really stress his importance. I personally love how brutal he is, in all aspects, and even after all this time I still feel sympathy for him when someone else is in control. Easily my favourite part of his inclusion was the dynamic he added between Stark and Rogers. Cap has to choose between his former best-friend turned psychopathic controller and his life-long, misunderstood brother, what a conflict that is, and it definitely showed. I was rooting for him and… Team America (?) the whole way through. I wanted to see Stark get killed or decommissioned, I wanted Cap to succeed and I wanted Bucky to get his retribution for all the things that weren’t really his fault. Fuck Iron Man. Okay, I understand that he saw footage of his parents get killed and had a clear sight on the murderer, it’s an understandable reaction, especially in a superhero movie, but I’m so glad the film concluded the way it did.
To summarise their three arcs: Tony Stark got his reality check, The Winter Soldier got his redemption, Captain America got to follow his gut and I got to see all three of them beat the ever-loving shit out of each other.
I’ve kept it brief and I hope it’s been at least a moderately interesting read. I can’t give you a lot in regard to backstory, or correlation to the comics, but I can give you my own critical opinion and justification. Though I do have questions, lots of them, particularly in regard to Captain America: Civil War’s end. Simply put, is that it for their conflict? From where Civil War ended it looked like that could have easily wrapped up The Avengers’ storyline on a bad writing day, but we still have Infinity War parts 1 and 2. I’ll make another fairly blind assumption in that: within either Infinity War or a lead-up to it, there will in fact be a greater enemy that The Avengers must reunite to fight. Of course, that’s likely to be Thanos, though wouldn’t that make Civil War redundant if all that happens is the gang gets back together?
From what I can find, we have a Spider-Man film coming next year titled Homecoming, along with Thor: Ragnarok and Guardians vol. 2. Perhaps we’ll see the beginnings of Thanos and The Avengers’ relationship begin during Ragnarok? If you can answer any of my questions, or have any explanations/amendments to make about my overview, please don’t hesitate to correct me. How well did the film correlate to the comics? Where were Thor and Hulk? Is Iron Man now retired, again? So many questions, so much potential for obsession, I guess I’ll do one of two things: wait another year for a new instalment, or scour the universe for my truths.
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