War is Never Civil.

Civil War

Team Steve! Team Tony! Wait, this feels familiar…

I have just come from watching Captain America III: Civil War. I went into it with lower expectations than I might have; Batman v. Superman was…okay but flawed and I enjoyed it mainly by telling myself I was watching a Frank Miller interpretation of the real Batman and Superman. I think the main problem is that BvS’s writer and director were trying too hard to “re-imagine” those iconic heroes. Civil War, on the other hand, is proof that Marvel Studio’s writers firmly understand that they don’t need to re-imagine anything. Update the backstories a bit, yes, but in CV they have continued to hew as closely as possible to the character of the heroes we know and love. And the result is genius.

No spoilers this time, other than the setup and general theme. The setup is payoff on the fact that, even when they won (which is most of the time), the Avengers left a lot of collateral damage in their wake. Some of it they were responsible for. Plus they are a private organization that can dismantle national armies, and they answer to no-one. So, four years after the Avengers are founded, the United Nations is moving to put them under the control of a supervisory panel. If the team won’t allow it, it must disband.

That’s the setup.

The theme springs from the setup; before the members of the team can fully hash it out among themselves, a crisis immediately blows up around the Winter Soldier (no spoiler there since it’s in all the previews). The team becomes divided between those willing to, out of principle, follow the new law, and those who, out of principle, cannot.

Yes, Marvel set it up so that both sides are right at various times and with the information each has, and it hurts to watch this band of brothers (and sisters) get ripped apart. In the end, I don’t know who made the right call initially: Steve, or Tony?

You decide. Get thee to a theater. Go!

(Also, the introductions of Panther and Spiderman are awesome.)


10 thoughts on “War is Never Civil.

  1. DC just doesn’t get it. A good example of that is The Flash TV series. There is a ready made audience of what, 8 million? But what does DC do? They cast a totally different guy for the title role in the movie version. Free advertising, crossover media buzz, all that. But no, they know better. Marvel understands the fans because they are fans themselves. DC is still stuck with trying to reimagine a mythology that doesn’t need their help. They just don’t get it.

    1. I don’t think it’s a problem of “reimagining their mythology” (although doing a Frank Miller version of Superman hasn’t really helped). Their problem is that they are still treating their superhero titles as different and often unrelated properties, where Marvel has constructed an elaborate edifice that crosses from the tied-in movies (The Avengers, etc.), to TV (Agents of Shield), and the net (Daredevil, etc.).

      DC has put itself in the weird position where Smallville had nothing to do with Arrow/Flash, which have nothing to do Gotham or Supergirl, and none of them have anything to do with the movies. It’s a mess.

      And yes, where Marvel is giving us the known-and-loved (if updated) Marvel superheroes, DC is using the movies to “tinker” with the formula. And it’s not working.

  2. I liked Civil War a lot more than I thought I would. I didn’t want another Avengers movie, I wanted a Captain America movie. And that’s what it was, even though it was also an Avengers movie. So I’m happy with it.

    I do think the basic setup with the Sokovia Accords is idiotic, though. They were put into place to limit the actions of superheros and keep them from getting out of hand. That sounds simple enough as far as it goes, but the Accords would not have done anything at all to stop the horrible catastrophes that brought them into being. The Chitauri invasion and destruction in DC came about because SHIELD was messing with alien technology and too stupid to know they were half Nazi, respectively. Ultron came about because Tony Stank was screwing with AI in his non-superhero leisure time. Lagos was bad, yes, but things almost certainly would’ve been worse if the Avengers hadn’t shown up to keep the weapon of mass destruction out of terrorist hands.

    The hypocrisy of the supporters of the Accord didn’t do much for me, either. Tony and T’Challa both think superpowered people should only intervene under strict supervision, but both go off on their own for different reasons at different times. And Secretary Ross is directly responsible for the destruction of Harlem in the Edward Norton Hulk movie, but somehow failed to mention it.

    In conclusion, I’m very glad I never read the Civil War comics storyline.

    Also, any news on the Wearing The Cape RPG?

    1. Actually, the Sokovia Accords made sense to me. Since the fall of Hydra, the Avengers have operated as an NGO (non-government organization). They have done a lot of good over the last four years, but there has been collateral damage; with the latest event. They staged a capture operation on ex-Hydra elements, with led to civilian casualties, without authorization from the country they staged the operation in. Believe me, the “it would have been worse down the road if we had let them escape” defense is not something the public will buy, not in their world or in ours. We certainly wouldn’t buy it if it happened in New York or in Boise.

      The unbelievable thing is that the nations of the world went along with the Avengers’ carrying on a private war for years.

      1. The genius of the movie is that Stark was right to go along with the accords, and Cap was right to step up to help Bucky. The Right vs. Wrong questions are usually pretty easy; it’s Right vs. Right that gets tricky and often tragic.

  3. My five cents on Cap vs Tony:

    In the real world Captain America would be wrong. This, however, is a Marvel universe. Which means that The Government is automatically going to be either stupid, incompetent, evil, corrupt, infiltrated or all of the above.

    In the real world I’m a Social Democrat/Green. In the Marvel universe, comics or movie, I’d be a Ron Paul-style Libertarian, because that is the only sane option.

    It’s a bit like Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, where there is this addition to the periodic table called narrativium. Narrativium – Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki

    Marvel’s got it too, except that there it’d probably be named governmentisevilivium.

  4. I fell asleep during Batman vs. Superman. I have this thing if I’m in a dark room and fairly comfortable, I fall asleep unless something interesting keeps me awake. Batman vs Superman didn’t make the grade. I didn’t sleep through a single second of Captain America Civil War. The movie was pure super hero fan candy all the way through. And the quotes, omg 😀 So, I’d be willing to watch Civil War multiple times and discuss the heck out of it. Batman vs Superman left a very bad taste in my mouth and it’s time wasted of my finite moments on earth I shall never regain. I will write it off as nap time.

    I love the way Peter Parker/Spiderman was handled. Awesome Possum!!! I have mixed feelings with Tony’s chemistry with sexy Aunt May. Part of me think it’s hot. Part of me is having the wiggins. All of me is willing to watch this Spiderman in a movie. Black Panther was a little sappy, but comic book perfect. What I love about this set of Marvel movies is that the characters are a little more heroic and a lot less d bag than the actual comic versions of the characters. Tony in comic book civil war was despotic. This version was a much more intensely human, tragically flawed but never for a moment less than heroic in ideals and actions. Movie Tony Stark is perhaps the best version of the character, wonderfully portrayed by the actor.

    I can understand why this Marvel Universe governments took so long to lock down on the Avengers. The individual elements like Captain America were considered under US government oversight, in that he was the product of the American military, and for the most part working as part of the American S.H.I.E.L.D. Steve Rogers was under constant surveillance from the moment of his recovery, to the point where he went off the grid in the previous Captain America movie. Other of the Avengers like Tony Stark, a man of power via staggering wealth, high level military and political ties, and a family history that makes him among the American elite.

    It’s a bit understandable with two strong focal points of Captain America and Ironman, that the other team members of the Avengers would be seen as a kind of subgroup of the American Military, having been assembled as it was by Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Then S.H.I.E.L.D. went higgledy piggledy. American government could be reasonably delayed in locking down on the Avengers because it had a huge internal distraction of having been nearly cripplingly infiltrated by Hydra. Given the political climate, it’s not too unreasonable that it took a while for the powers that be to focus on the Avengers, renowned heroes who saved the entire world from Alien Invasion and subjugation from an Asgardian God (Loki). There have been so many fires in the Movie/TV Marvel Universe kitchen, one simmering pot could be given lower priority until it starts to boil over in a more publicly noticeable way.

    Just some thoughts.

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