the following is spoiler free and i will tell you when that stops being the case.
i didn’t expect too much from captain america civil war. by the time it finally came out i, as someone with no experience with the source material, was pretty braced for it to suck. now, that doesn’t mean i’m going to go in and make it suck inside my head. i’m more than willing to be proven wrong, which the captain america franchise has done before. (winter soldier is my favorite MCU film and it’s not really close, despite me not liking the cap character much and thinking cap 1 was reasonably terrible.) so, did civil war bring me to its side?
no. it did not.
tony stark’s motivations are at the plot’s whimsy. i guess that makes a little sense if this is A Captain America Movie, but come on, iron man has had 3 of his own films and 2 avengers films. he’s his own character. i had this same issue with batman in BvS but it isn’t THAT severe here in civil war.
the film kind of suffers from tonal problems in that the big dramatic moments are always accompanied by quipping. stop quipping. the marvel universe has always been a little goofy, a little prone to jokes and one-liners, but when you make every line a joke during a dramatic climax it’s very jarring in that bad way.
the characters make really stupid decisions. again, i’m not familiar with the source material, but at multiple points during this movie i would ask a different character, wtf are you doing?
martin freeman is in this movie for 4 minutes with an american accent and that is just wrong.
ok if you’ve made it this far without having seen the movie yet the spoilers are going to begin. this isn’t a “it’s so bad you should skip it” kind of movie, so despite my having a problem with it i still would recommend MCU fans give it a watch, unlike for example thor 2 or iron man 3 which are shocking, boring, or both at times.
i enjoyed the black panther and this likely isn’t unrelated to his disdain for the movie’s quipping ways. it was a little weird that the just-a-prince-yesterday king is also some sort of ninja, but he was pretty awesome and his character actually developed in this movie. you can’t really say that about anyone else. when hawkeye tries to introduce himself on the tarmac at the airport and panther just says “i don’t care” and starts to fight, he cemented himself as my favorite character in the movie 100%. that scene had at least 20 one-liners in a row.
oh yeah lets talk about spiderman. see?? SEE, MOVIE EXECS???? you brought in a popular superhero without wasting a movie on his origin story. was that so goddamn hard? unfortunately, that was spiderman, the most annoying superhero there is by a mile. i was really hoping in the trailer when they revealed spiderman, we were seeing an unfinished graphic, but no. that was what he actually looked like. cartoony and poorly textured. i’m fine with his animation being subpar because how do you motion capture a spider-man, but at least make his suit look like it was textured in 2016. also unfortunately, spidey had one of my two favorite lines in the movie, when he shot web at cap’s feet and *ergh* quipped “tony said to go for your legs!”
IT’S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE WENT FOR CAP’S LEGS WHEN HE PUTS THE SHIELD UP. JESUS MERCY. i nearly applauded. naturally he then went for his arms immediately after that and lost his mark so.
how come cap and sam didn’t at least try asking tony to get the avengers to help? when tony saw the evidence through bullshit and asked sam about it he wanted to help. show him the evidence. tell him the story. don’t just assume you’re on your own, cap, and nobody has to fight at the airport, rhoades can still walk, spider-man isn’t back on my movie screen, and you can probably bring in the psychologist dude easily. make decisions better.
the movie has kind of a tragic arc to it. the presumably protagonists are manipulated against each other. it ends with cap crippling tony’s iron man suit. it’s shot to look like he’s about to decapitate him, and it feels kind of like he lightweight did. rhoades is paralyzed. he should be 100% dead because he fell like half a mile, but still. and in the biggest fight moment of the film, everyone vs everyone else, you have them spewing one liners like they’re happily trouncing their first fight of a lighthearted movie? if that one big fight scene on the tarmac has maybe 2/3 of its dialogue cut entirely, the whole movie would be a lot better for it imo. very good friends are fighting each other hard. if it wasn’t something they really really cared about, they wouldn’t be. it’s a huge moment for all of them. and here they are cracking jokes like it’s an afternoon coffee break. i don’t know, maybe you guys won’t read the movie that way, but it pissed me off beyond just being painful, unfunny lines.
wanda and the vision fall really short imo. if civil war were overwatch, every game would be 3 scarlet witches and 3 visions vs 3 scarlet witches and 3 visions. they are OP as FUCK, yo. the vision can fly, shoot a death laser, move through things, and basically seems indestructible. scarlet witch can pretty much manipulate anything she wants with her mind. sure, if she panics and just flings a dude before he explodes she may not do it accurately, but she’s just as broken as vision is. their impact on the fights they take part in? totally minimal. they spend most of the movie quarantining each other, then they both fuck up a lot. neither in Ultron nor in Civil War have we gotten any explanation of their powers or limitations, which leads me to expect a lot of them and be disappointed in the nothing they do. i don’t get it. if you can throw cars at iron man with your mind why can’t you just hold iron man in place with your mind? hello?? if you can catch a falling watch tower with your mind why can’t you catch rhoades and keep him from not-dying???
steph of ni: gg witch afk
finally lets talk about the ending. and this is where tony stark is revealed as nothing more than a pawn of the plot’s whimsy.
problem: we need tony and cap to fight each other.
solution: make tony take up a more bureaucratic role and support international oversight.
problem: the same tony who was JUST fighting with the avengers, and who thought his plan to defend the world was all anyone needed? how does his character develop that way?
solution: hm let’s pretend those things aren’t things
problem: cap got away from tony but we need those two and bucky isolated
solution: tell tony where cap is going
solution: i don’t know use bullshit
problem: why wouldn’t he send all the avengers chasing the bullshit with him?
solution: i don’t know make him friends with cap again so its secret
problem: what? i thought they were fighting
solution: hm yes that is true but remember there was bullshit
problem: we’ve reached the final act now and tony and cap are friends
solution: make them not be friends again
problem: does tony have borderline personality disorder, or
solution: nono the whole plot has been a ruse to get tony and cap and bucky together and show tony that bucky killed his parents and cap knew
problem: it me the audience and i feel deceived by all this build up
solution: oh yeah well distinct wanking motion. how do you think iron man feels
the way the plot treats its characters is parallel to how the film treats you. watch 90 minutes that don’t matter before the final climax, in which tony and cap punch each other a lot and bucky loses an arm, but then cap reaches out to make nice with tony later anyway so nothing of value is really lost.
at least the black panther has a character arc. he wants to avenge his father, so he pursues the winter soldier to literally the ends of the earth, discovers bucky isn’t the winter soldier he is looking for and the psychologist orchestrated it, sees what obsession with vengeance did to said psychologist, and says you know what, i don’t want this for myself. no other character changes in this movie. sometimes they may switch allegiances but that doesn’t mean they aren’t flat. and then panther is rewarded with the other top-2 line in the movie: “The living aren’t done with you yet.” fucking badass line right there. hell yeah.
but mainly i’m just bitter by how badly the film wasted martin freeman. assholes.