Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Countdown to Infinity War: Captain America Civil War

At the end of Ant-Man, we got to see Cap and Falcon with Bucky trapped in a giant industrial vice... that scene doesn't show up until about an hour into this 2 and a half hour long movie.

Heroes fighting each other is as common in comic books as variant covers, and it's happened multiple times in the movies already. In the first Avengers movie when Cap, Thor, and Iron Man went at it over who got to deal with Loki? In Ant-Man, when he robbed the Avengers compound and had to fight Falcon? Here we have the Avengers dealing with the fallout of having vaporized an entire city. The UN have voted to... institutionalize the Avengers. Tony feels guilty, and wants to shift any future blame. Cap... can't do it.

And let's take a second to look at that... the maverick playboy billionare is all about joining the system, while the soldier isn't. It's an odd reversal when you think about it, and while it works for the story, and based on the events of all the previous films... but it's still... odd.

Complicating everything is Bucky, who's back as the Winter Soldier, and has killed the King of Wakanda. Cap of course wants to save him, while Tony, Black Panther, and the world at large want to see him either locked up or 6' under. On top of that, you've got Wanda feeling guilty for the people she's killed, Vision trying to figure out what exactly he is, what he's meant to be, and his developing feelings for Wanda, Black Widow is... well, honestly she's as inscrutable as usual, and playing both sides.

Bring in some side trips to loop in Spider-Man (and Aunt May), Ant-Man, and Agent 13 (Falcon and Bucky in the car looking on was my favorite part of the movie).

The big set piece conflict at the airport was really nicely done. Both because it was a well put together fight, but also because you could tell that no one really wanted to be fighting each other. Everyone was pulling their punches, at least a little. It wasn't a fight to put the other guy down for good. On top of that, there was never a point watching that fight that I didn't know who was who or what was going on. Too often movies make combat as noisy and chaotic as it really is, or even worse, just a visual and auditory cacophony (i.e. Transformers).

Overall this installment of The Avengers Captain America is beyond solid. It takes the characters seriously while allowing the humor and silliness of everything to keep it from being an unentertaining allegory of American intervention and it's consequences.

Oh, and the post credit scenes? More Spider-Man and Aunt May!

Next Up: Doctor Strange

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