To continue this week’s Captain America theme, I thought I would go over my thoughts about Civil War. Before we begin:
This past weekend I finally saw the latest film from Marvel Studios, Captain America: Civil War.
Although I’m more of a DC guy, I enjoy Marvel’s movies. Ultimately, if they made their comics as good as their movies, I would read a lot more of them.
I really enjoyed the last Captain America movie, The Winter Soldier. It had a really good tone and set itself apart from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic movies. However, what we get here isn’t so much a third Captain America movie, but more of a backdoor third Avengers movie. That’s ok, but hopefully next time, we get more of a standalone Cap movie.
The movie strays big time from the plot of the original Civil War comic series. That works in its favor though, as the MCU doesn’t have as deep a roster as the comic books do. It also lets them avoid the weak-sauce ending of the book. Which I regard as an odd misstep on Mark Millar’s very strong track record.
The conflict between Cap and Iron Man is intriguing, but it’s never as clear-cut as it was in the original comic. Cap should have stated his case more strongly. Beyond just, “Bucky’s my friend.” In the comic book, there was the implication that this would affect all of them and have real ramifications. Cap was the one that lead the opposition and I felt like he never was as persuasive as he should have been here. Everyone knows Captain America is loyal to his friends, but there has to be more reason than that to go along with him and defy an accord signed by over 100 different countries. It speaks to his role as a symbol and leader for the other heroes, but there should have been more tangible reasons for the rogue heroes to go along with him.
Baron Zemo, the mastermind behind the big plot, was really wasted here. Not that the character wasn’t an important facet of the story, but at no point does it need to be Baron Zemo. There is no hint of a hood or mask, there’s no history with Rogers going back to World War 2, no ties to Hydra or the Nazis. He is a more modern terrorist whose family was killed in the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Undoubtedly, there has to be another Captain America, or Marvel villain that could have filled this role, without wasting one of Cap’s more notable foes. Crossbones is the only costumed villain in the film and he’s not even in that much of it.
Marvel Studio’s pictures are having an increasing problem with their antagonists. Weak villains hurt the heroes. The odds they overcome are only as great as their enemies. Surely, this will be resolved when Thanos appears in the next Avengers movie. Meanwhile, this adds fuel to the internet fire of Tony Stark being the greatest supervillain in the Marvel movie universe. So many of the threats they have faced have sprung from his genius. Being in direct conflict with Captain America doesn’t help either. Marvel needs to fix their villain problem or these are going to start looking like Star Trek movies.
Spider-Man was definitely a highlight of this film. To be fair to the film, I was so caught up in the story I had forgotten that Spidey was even supposed to be in this until he showed up. If they had managed to keep Spider-Man’s inclusion a secret until the film came out, that would have been amazing! Of course they wouldn’t, and shouldn’t have, done that. Plus, the internet would have exploded with the news when the movie premiered, ruining the surprise. My only issues with Spider-Man here is the details that have been left blank. Probably intentionally to give the solo Spidey movie the chance to fill in the blanks on their own. However, as my friend I saw it with noted, they don’t reference, or show any representation of his spider-sense in this. What they do include though, eye lenses that move, and a version of the Spider-Signal, and quips, quips, quips, imply the most comic accurate version of the character we have seen on-screen so far. None of this takes away from the enjoyment of seeing Spider-Man in a movie, finally interacting with his Marvel brethren. Hopefully, his solo outing is just as good.
At the end, with his compatriots imprisoned on the Raft (another great reference), Cap shows up to break them out. The scene plays with shots of the captured heroes hearing Cap’s voice and reacting to it. Then there is a shot of him coming out of the darkness towards them. In that moment, I had my fingers crossed for a reveal of this:
I was really hoping for Captain America to show up in a version of the US Agent costume here. Turned rogue and on the run, I feel like this would have been an appropriate visual that could have lead into the next Captain America movie. Since his shield was confiscated, including the WW2 era shield could have been done here also. Unfortunately, we got plainclothes Steve Rogers freeing his captive comrades. In my heart though, there exists a US Agent and Nomad (Winter Soldier) movie where they are on the run from the government they have defended and heroes they have fought beside. I’m not going to hold my breath though for my local theater to be showing Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty. I know that’s not what that story is about, but it’s a good title.