Archives for the month of: May, 2016

The internet, I’m sure, has a lot of feelings about this movie, relating to how it works with the comic books and general questions of diversity and gender and whether or not Emily VanCamp is physically capable of expressing an emotion with her face. That’s a little deeper than I care to go, and also when I saw it I was under the influence of too many Skittles and a truly staggering amount of popcorn.

Civil War suffered from one of the problems that Age of Ultron had, namely that it had way too much going on. But it did not suffer from some of the other problems, like making no sense or being exactly the same as the previous movie or taking itself way too seriously. Sure, no one needs another Iron Man movie (and there’s no reason this couldn’t be called Iron Man: Civil War, except probably contractual stuff you can explain to me), and Scarlet Witch is boring, and Black Widow is supposed to be unreadable but is actually just flat, and the Winter Soldier needs a haircut, and Hawkeye continues to be pointless….

But! Though I didn’t fully buy some of the motivations in this movie, they didn’t make me spitting mad, as they did in Age of Ultron. In Civil War, the world’s governments are rather cross about the catastrophe in Sokovia (which you’ll remember from Age of Ultron, if you remember anything about Age of Ultron), and want the Avengers to have some oversight. Captain America is so sure that he’ll be right in every future situation that he resents this (to be fair, his track record is pretty solid). Tony, in a sudden access of righteous guilt, misses the point of self-flagellation and spreads it around. Thus battle lines are drawn.

The film sells this opposition as much as it can. That’s not very much, since Tony and Steve have been roughly this annoyed with each other from the get-go, and the stakes don’t seem that much higher than in every previous iteration. The only thing that really gets my goat is that Tony is 100 percent completely responsible for Sokovia because he made a decision so asinine and rapid that a backward hummingbird would probably have balked at it. That was my main problem with Age of Ultron, and I resent that it is allowed to spill over into what is, in defiance of probability, a moderately whimsical and rather enjoyable two and a half hours.

There are still too many people in this movie, but since they’re put onto teams, it doesn’t always feel like they’re jostling for your attention. Perhaps more importantly, the film is usefully split into acts, so characters flow into and out of the action smoothly and it doesn’t seem interminable. All in all, this ends up being the best installment in this corner of Marvel since the first Avengers movie. That may have been only four years ago, but there’s been a lot of crap produced since then. Possibly it’s top three overall, and more likely so if you didn’t like Thor or the first Cap movie very much.

Stray observations:

  • Anthony Mackie (Sam/Falcon) is a delight. He has two of the best comic beats in the film, including a VW Beetle gag. He and Sebastian Stan (Bucky/Soviet Winter Soldier Nonsense) have a surprisingly excellent comedic rapport.
  • New Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is the BEST. I was surprised that the film didn’t follow the new comics and have Peter be black, but this kid is so great. It makes you resent Tobey Maguire even more.
  • If he’s not kissing Peggy, Cap should be kissing Tommy Lee Jones. Full stop, end of story.
  • His jeans can stay, though.

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Rating: PG-13
Length: 147 minutes
Score: 4/5