Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Captain America: Civil War

Captain America and the Avengers are back.

Well, sort of. Yes, they are back, but they are not one, unified whole.

I think it is safe to say that this had a more original story line than Batman v Superman did. That movie just seemed to make a point of the two major superheroes fighting, for the sake of ratings. For the sake of numbers. This movie actually tried to utilize what is going on in the world and employ it to make the story line of the infighting between the Avengers more plausible.

So, indeed, it is a more enjoyable movie than Batman v. Superman was, because there is simply more fluidity. It makes more sense, simply put. Also, there is a lot more drama in this one.

In fact, it kind of reminds me of why, when I was a kid, Marvel seemed far more preferable to DC Comics, because after a certain age, the more real-life drama of the individuals involved lent Marvel a more legitimate feel. The two most recent superhero movies are perfect examples of this, with the fluffiness of the DC movie being contrasted with this particular Marvel movie, and found wanting.

Let's see why:

****Spoiler Alert****

There was a lot of buzz about the possibility that one major superhero, either Iron Man or Captain America, would end up dying. Without sounding morbid, frankly, I was disappointed that these movie makers did not take that chance. Yes, in the comic books, Iron Man defeats and then imprisons Captain America. They did not even go that far here in this movie, although several super heroes are indeed imprisoned, and another is seriously injured (although all signs suggest he will be back, and as strong as ever, if not stronger).

Indeed, there is much more of a story line here in this movie than there is with Batman v. Superman. At least they attempted to make it viable, as the damage done both in terms of structures and in terms of human casualties, forced the world's biggest governing organization, the United Nations, to try and make some kind of attempt to keep these powerful beings in check.

Naturally, this is not without controversy or resistance, although the party doing the main resistance, Captain America, might come as a surprise. And his main nemesis is Iron Man, who suddenly, and rather uncharacteristically, senses considerable doubt, after being confronted by the parent of one of his inadvertent victims. Despite his normal arrogance, it is Tony Starks who believes that the United Nations provisions here are within reason, and that all superheroes need to comply.

Captain America strongly disagrees, and this eventually leads to a major conflict at an airport and, later on, another major conflict.

The final battle makes the most sense. Throughout the movie, we see the image dating back to 1991. It is a personal memory of the Winter Soldier, after he had been given specific orders to kill someone of extreme importance, although we do not see who it is. We see this three different times, but the third time is at the end of the movie, when four superheroes (Captain America, the Winter Soldier, Iron Man, and the Black Panther) have reached a remote ex-Soviet military compound somewhere in very remote and frigid Siberia.

For the first time, the superheroes themselves are watching this (except for the Black Panther, who remains outside) see this footage, although only from one camera angle. We find out who the Winter Soldier has killed, and it is none other than the parents of Tony Stark.

Obviously, this enrages Stark/Iron Man. He asks Captain America if he knew, and Captain America admits to having known. When the footage is done, Iron Man goes after the Winter Soldier with a vengeance, relentlessly attacking him, and clearly aiming to kill him. While the previous battle involving the superheroes at the airport was a limited engagement, in which both sides seemed hesitant to really let loose on the other side, this one is a full out battle, almost seemingly to the death. Both Captain America and Iron Man are fighting with what clearly is rage at certain points, and this makes the fight much more believable, as well as intriguing.

Now, one of the things that might bother you, as it bothered me, is how they had this particular footage to begin with. True, this would be enough - more than enough, really - to set Iron Man off. That is not the issue. But how did they have the camera on the exact location of what seemed like a fairly remote road somewhere? Was it really so planned that they would have that footage and, if so, why? After all, this would compromise the Winter Soldier's innocence, clearly, and it would possibly compromise those who were in charge of him at the time. So, even if this was planned so specifically that they would know exactly where the Winter Soldier would carry out this particular execution, the question then is why they would do so. Or, maybe I am overthinking this too much. Probably, I guess so, although these questions still bother me.

In any case, there is a recognition that this is a superhero movie, after all, and so it would not do to overthink things, lest we overthink everything and lose sight of what this is supposed to be all about. Ultimately, I will admit to having had relatively low expectations for this film, figuring it would be another Batman v. Superman.

This one, however, is different. It is better. There is an actual storyline as to what adds tension between the heroes, and what ultimately brings them to fight one another. Also, despite the questions that I had about how such footage was made available, it is obvious how such footage would set the superheroes off against one another towards the end of the film.

Ultimately, this movie does not show a superhero dying, so don't belive that particular hype. Another thing that I think plagues this movie is the sheer amount of superheroes involved - literally a dozen. That means that there are a lot of them, and it sometimes feels like it gets in the way of things.

Yet still, all in all, this movie was better than expected. I was kind of expecting it to be worse, to be overly dramatic, and to have comparable levels of destruction to the Batman v. Superman movie, just to underscore exactly how powerful these superheroes are. But that really was not the case and, for the most part, this managed to stay relatively true to the feel of the comic books of old, while remaining entertaining and maintaining an appropriate level of drama.

This is an entertaining movie for a 10 year-old boy, as my son proved. Yet, it is also easier to digest for adults than Batman v. Superman was. Anyone who goes to these kinds of movies presumably knows what it is about, and thus what to expect. And this one will not disappoint or frustrate, as quite a few of the other comic book films have.

Captain America: Civil War Directors On Why the Ending Differed From the Comics  By Adrienne Tyler, May 15, 2016:


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