A Bug’s Life: Civil War

Day 27. 114 pages, 51,564 words. Still trying to jump-start myself while feeling like I’m on hold.

So, here is my quick and dirty and spoiler-filled review of Captain America: Civil War. I have scattered a few animated gifs throughout, just to keep it swanky and eye-catching.

cap

You know what, I want to punch him in his perfect teeth as well.

Here’s the quick review: The movie was good.

Here’s the slightly less-quick review: The movie was really, really good. I didn’t have the massive, nerdy blast of relief and childish delight that I felt (with attendant rowdy applause in the cinema) for Avengers Assemble, and I didn’t love it with the shameless cosplaying fanboy manchild love that I have for Deadpool, but it was easily the best Marvel movie I have seen since either of those two. And needless to say, if Marvel and DC were playing pool, this would be the moment DC pulled down its pants and took a lap of the pool table because it lost the game without sinking a single ball.

Okay, that said, I did have a few problems with it.

Problem the first: The opening scene was fun, but no way did that garbage truck a) flip on its nose like that and b) smash that compound gate in such a way that neither the garbage truck nor the gate wreckage flew off the either side to allow additional bad-guy trucks to come out of nowhere and park inside the compound. If Cinemasins doesn’t pick up on that one, I’m going to be cross.

Problem the second: Why is there a helipad right on the edge of a building, with a fucking lake directly underneath it? Okay, maybe a lake is better than a carpark if you happen to miss the pad and crash your chopper into it, but that’s a big maybe. Far better to have your helipad, you know, in the middle of the roof. Or on the ground. Maybe drain that lake and put the helipad there. Just a thought.

Problem the third: Cap and Bucky didn’t kiss.

bucky_cap (3)

Not even with this set-up.

Problem the fourth: It’s time for Bucky to stop being a broody angst-ridden motherfucker. Okay, he’s had a hard time. I’m glad they’re putting him back on ice until such time as they can resolve the dumb Cold War plot point about him being a sleeper agent. Let’s move on.

Problem the fifth: I’m almost certain nobody read the Sokovia Accords. Okay, in fairness I think there was a line dropped, maybe from Hawkeye or Falcon? He said something about “you read them, you still signed them.” So maybe one or two of them read the 300-page document. The rest of them were just fighting about what they thought the document was about. A document that could be amended at any time. See, for me, that would be the deal breaker. What if you signed it and then they changed it out from under you? Surely that would then require re-ratification and signing. The issue of a big brouhaha over a document nobody read spoke to me as a Technical Writer, but it was a pretty shaky thing to have a fight over.

Problem the fifth-and-a-half: As always happens in the X-Men franchise and most other superhero movies, the driving force behind the disagreement is “ooh, superheroes are dangerous, we need to keep them under control, look at all the shit they broke!” No, no, NO. The people you’re arresting and making sign stupid agreements are the ones who minimised the damage. Yes, people still got killed. But the Avengers weren’t the ones who tried to turn Novi Grad into an asteroid. That was Ultron. The Avengers were the ones who turned a death toll of millions – possibly billions – into mere thousands. Captain America’s main platform for objection to this shit should have been DOES NO CUNT ON EARTH UNDERSTAND HOW WARS WORK ANYMORE?

iron_man

Okay, actually Ultron was Stark’s fault, so fuck that guy. His motivation for signing the Accords was actually pretty solid. He needs reining in.

Anyway, that’s the thing about all the “bad stuff” the superheroes do. It’s always just a result of the supervillains doing shit. It’s always just a fragment of the devastation that the superheroes couldn’t 100% prevent. They could only prevent 99.99% of it. What monsters!

Fuck you, humans.

This, of course, almost defuses and ends happily, until we get to the final trigger: Bucky killed Tony Stark’s parents!!!1!one

Problem the sixth: Yeah, I don’t really care. I mean, it’s sad and all, but Stark had a complex relationship with his dad, and it didn’t seem like his relationship with his mum was much better. Of course, it’s still awful that they were murdered and of course he’d want revenge, but against Bucky? When he knows Bucky was basically an innocent victim? Not five minutes before the final revelation, he literally calls him “Manchurian Candidate”.

Not only that, but Loki brainwashed a whole bunch of people in Avengers Assemble. In the process of stealing the tesseract, how many people did Hawkeye and Selvig kill? Then Scarlet Witch brainwashed a bunch of people in Age of Ultron, and in fact she and her brother were brainwashed themselves, to be bad guys when they were first turned into enhanced. And there was a mess of Hydra brainwashing going on in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as well. I’m not saying Stark shouldn’t care about his parents being murdered – I’m saying he should know enough by now, not to go after the brainwashed murder-puppet.

Fuck it, Black Panther’s father was killed, and by all accounts that was a much more loving father-son relationship. And yes, Black Panther went after the supposed killer for a while – but then he stopped! Because he realised Bucky was a victim! And then he didn’t even kill the actual guy responsible! He actually stopped him from killing himself! Right there, in his beautiful speech about how vengeance can consume you, he summed it up. He summed up how Tony Stark is a fucking moron.

Sure, get mad. Get even. But focus your attention on the right person. Stark should know better.

Okay, that’s just about all my complaints. Oh, wait – and nobody died. I guess they’re saving that for the next part, but Rhodes at least should have died. He’s funny and cool and I have no beef with him, but it’s pretty obvious that partial paralysis is a lame cop-out. He should have been killed. Sorry, War Machine.

So that sounds like it was pretty bad, right? Wrong.

Because those are all just ehhh, why did they do that? -moments. Put up against the sheer brilliance of the character interactions, the performances, the effects, the pace of the movie, all of it – put up against that, they were really very tiny objections. And when I say that the CGI and the explosions and the other BSTs paled in comparison to the acting, you know I’m talking about shiny fucking acting.

Nobody’s going to get an Oscar for this, because it’s a comic book movie and we need the oldest two or three generations of Oscar judges to fucking die before a comic book movie wins shit[1], but they should. There were some great performances. The whole movie came together really well, and even with so many characters in need of screen-time, they all got their chance and it didn’t feel the least bit crowded. It was masterful.

[1] I didn’t research this, so now I will step back and wait for somebody to correct me about some Oscar or other that a comic book movie won sometime. Maybe Avengers Assemble won some shit, actually.

The movie was very much about the bromance between Cap and Bucky, but also the apparent break-up between Cap and Tony. Which I have to admit I never really got. When Cap says “he’s my friend” and Stark says “so was I”, I have to call bullshit on that. They never got along.

For me, easily, the day was carried by the bugs. Hence the name of my blog post.

Ant-Man was hilarious, I love him. The technology is still ludicrous – in fact, even more ludicrous now that he’s apparently able to embiggen himself (and cromulently!) in a fight – but I forgive it. He was super-cool. His interactions with “Captain America” were hysterical. And after just seeing Ant-Man the other day, I felt bad to see him back in prison at the end of this movie. Although I assume he got out at the end because Cap came to save him. Still, I feel bad about all his efforts in his stand-alone movie. He just wants to be a good dad to his kid!

ant-man

Yeah, his dénouement bugged me a little. Get it? Do you see what I did there?
I said ‘dénouement’. Because thesaurus.com lists the following synonyms for dénouement: solution, conclusion, end, upshot. And “upshot” is what happened to him in this gif.

And Spider-Man was there.

I don’t say that as a throw-away “oh yeah, he was alright”. I say it as opposed to every Spider-Man movie made in the past fifteen years. Spider-Man was actually in this movie, for real. It wasn’t some thirty-five-year-old dressed as Spidey, and it wasn’t some whatever-the-fuck was happening in the reboots, I never saw those. This was the real deal. They finally got Spidey right.

Between the two of them, the creepy-crawlies carried the movie.

civil_war

And I can’t wait to see the next bit. And the Black Panther movie. Holy shit.

Yeah, this was great. You don’t have to see it on the big screen, it wasn’t that much of a roller-coaster of massive disaster effects, but it’s definitely worth your money.

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52 Responses to A Bug’s Life: Civil War

  1. You obviously placed far less importance on some of the huge problems regarding plot and character development than I, which is good because it made this a better experience for you. But I already read an excellent essay on the subject elsewhere and don’t have the time or the inclination to rewrite all that in my own words, so I’m really only here to comment that your Problem the Third? Not my biggest problem and I wasn’t REALLY expecting to see it, but fuck, fuckety fuck. All this in-the-box thinking in all the movieverses, it disappoints.

  2. Fuck, fuckety fuck translates into, I probably would have forgiven all the other problems of this film, had they showed some balls and gone there, instead of the other thing that they did, with the bros all a-watchin’ and approvin’.

    • stchucky says:

      Yeah, I’m with BRKN on this one. It may be hackneyed and good-ole-boy and uncool, but guy-friends will do this when their buddy scores in front of them. I’m not even sorry.

    • In hindsight, I probably should’ve made it clearer that I chose to say “instead of” here because I didn’t think that there would’ve been the time both for the Bucky and for the Girl plotlines, and that had they gone with the Bucky plot, the bros wouldn’t have behaved quite the same. 😉

    • dreameling says:

      Sometimes a bromance is just a bromance. I don’t see Cap and Bucky as a gay couple. It’s just not their vibe or history. Now, Finn and Poe on the other hand…

      • I don’t see them as a gay couple; I can see best friends turn to something more. But there is a lot of comic book baggage that would make this interpretation incredibly unpopular. The relationship in the films can be developed either way, which was why I said it wasn’t my biggest problem. It is more of a personal wish that didn’t happen.

        Oh Finn and Poe. Don’t tease. Disney is never gonna do it.

      • dreameling says:

        Two men kissing in a Star Wars movie? Yeah, probably not, sadly.

      • I admit that I haven’t really looked into this, so I don’t know if this is true, but someone somewhere once said that Disney would never put a gay couple on screen. And thus I wonder, is there in actuality any Disney film with a gay character? Other than as a comic relief briefly in and out? Hmm.

      • brknwntr says:

        I still maintain that Frozen is about being gay.

      • stchucky says:

        Weirdly, I see Cap and Bucky becoming more. Because I am running purely off the movies and have no baggage – let’s settle this once and for all, you can compare two different forms of the same story, but they are different, so get over it. A film version of a comic, or a TV version of a book, don’t have to copy the “original” plot. They’re their own things.

        But Finn and Poe, bizarrely, I just can’t see as anything more (or less) than classic buds. Their friendship is all the heartwarming I need. Cap and Bucky leave me wanting more.

      • I didn’t see Finn and Poe the first time watching the film. The second time around, I saw the potential for the beginning of it — IF Poe is the initiating party. Because Finn is such a clean slate and in need of a lot of life experience before he’ll really understand such a simple concept as friendship, let alone something more. So I don’t see it exactly happening in Force Awakens, but I see the potential of it in the future. Kind of like reverse of Luke/Leia that was in your face in the first episode of the trilogy, but cooled off by the third episode.

      • dreameling says:

        I’m also coming at this from the movies alone, and I just do not get that vibe from Cap and Bucky. (I don’t care about the comics baggage.) None of the movies so far has hinted at even the possibility of a romance. It’s just not there. I guess you could always develop whatever, sure, but meh.

      • stchucky says:

        Oh, it was totally there. You blind, sugar.

      • dreameling says:

        I think I’m going blind liking Cat’s comment way below.

        http://www.badum-tish.com/

      • I think all we’re ever going to prove here is that there are two possible readings on that relationship in the films so far. 🙂

      • dreameling says:

        Oddly enough, I do get a bit of a gay vibe from Chris Evans, but actors aren’t their characters and all that.

  3. brknwntr says:

    Had they gone there, the comic book works would have exploded in rage. Not because they went there, bug because it’s too far off-canon.

    Also, that thing they did, the bros a-watchin’ and approvin’ was unanimously agreed to be the appropriate reaction by the bros who were a-watchin’ and approvin’ the film.

    I don’t say this as a negation of your point, simply that it rang true to us.

  4. dreameling says:

    I went in expecting Captain America: The Winter Soldier but even better. I got Avengers: Age of Ultron sans Whedon’s energy (both a plus and a minus).

    I was a little disappointed. TWS remains the best Marvel movie to date for me.

    My main problems with this movie in brief:

    (1) The plot held together nicely and the multitude of characters was nicely balanced, but the narrative as a whole lacked energy and momentum. The movie was like a series of mostly well-crafted scenes and some really awesome pieces of acting and action, but, as one big narrative, it lacked continuity of drive and tension. I was actually bored at times. I think there was just too much content, in the end, even though the movie juggled and wrapped up everything pretty well. Less than the sum of its parts, is what I’m saying. I really, really missed the energy and kick-ass pacing and tension of TWS.

    (2) The “civil war” didn’t quite sell, because the arguments behind it were flimsy and forced, and because the characters turned on each other way too fast and way too easily considering their shared history and friendship. That is to say, the antagonism didn’t grow logically and organically from the characters — who and where they are as people; it came about primarily because the plot demanded it, and the plot conveniently skipped the extremely easy and obvious arguments (and evidence) that could’ve settled everything in those first few meetings. Basically, the plot forced the characters to be dumb and stubborn, so that there’d be a civil war. However, once the shit did hit the fan and the sides were established, the character arcs, especially Cap’s and Tony’s, were played out quite nicely and mostly true-to-character. (I even liked Tony just wanting to avenge his mom despite all the good reasons not to.) It was just that the premise for the shit hitting the fan so goddamn weak.

    (3) Spider-Man was awesome as a character, but completely superfluous to the story. His inclusion just felt forced.

    Red Letter Media has a great review (namely because I agree with so much in it):

  5. stchucky says:

    I’m just going to leave this here.

  6. aaronthepatriot says:

    Finally saw it, this was spot on, I still don’t understand it, but fuck when Dr Strange and Deadpool come along to help with Thanos, this is going to be awesome.

    • stchucky says:

      Deadpool may help Thanos, at least to pry that stone out of Vision’s head because it makes it really hard to focus on Vision’s face, you always think you should be looking at the stone and what is he anyway, Pilates Davros?

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        LOL

        Or he’s rich man’s Iron Man?

        I know,that doesn’t make sense. But that’s not MY problem.

      • stchucky says:

        Nah, he’s British. Definitely Davros.

        Or he could make a Chaucer joke, in reference to Bettany’s role in A Knight’s Tale

  7. aaronthepatriot says:

    I’m just going to leave this here, saw it before the the movie on Friday at my Drafthouse Cinema. The first shield throw caused an actual LOL, but I think “please don’t do this” is the best part XD

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