Full disclosure: I went to go see “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” back when it came out and enjoyed it quite a bit. I was a leery of making Hydra a shadow government since I felt it let all the air out of the balloon regarding the movie’s thesis on government power and the politics of fear.
However, the other elements outshone that critique.
Not so with “Civil War”. I found myself having a hard time caring about the characters. The movie felt overlong and bloated as a result. For me, the movie’s climactic moment should have been the airport fight, with a quick winding down as the sides become more entrenched and then carry things over to a future film.
Also, the characters seem to approach every problem as something to blast or punch. I know: it’s a superhero film, but the Avengers are doing triple duty as spies, diplomats and special forces. If there’s no place in the story to show me the Avengers being diplomats or something new, then I’m going to get pretty bored pretty soon.
It didn’t help that I had seen this video earlier in the day, either:
The fight scenes are presented in handheld, presumably to add to the feeling of authenticity. In reality, it seems far more likely the film crew was trying to hide how the actors may not have been coached. As the video states, these scenes can burn up hundreds of takes to get right. I can’t imagine Disney and Marvel allowing their directors to do this, given the grueling schedules they have.
Spoilers to Follow:
Some random things that left me scratching my head were
- Why did any of the Avengers need to sign the Accords? Whenever Congress or another governmental entity passes a law, we don’t have to sign anything. It’s ratified, and then enforced, depending on the funding earmarked to do so. Dumb plot device, in my book.
- I would have found Tony Stark’s motivations for signing the Sokovia Accords much more believable if his decision would have been all about how he needed to continue his ongoing contracts with the U.S. government. “You’re threatening to cost me $130 billion,” sounds asshole-ish enough for Tony Stark’s character.
- Why didn’t anyone suspect the blurry photograph and the fact the Winter Soldier had successfully been in hiding for 13 years? Why didn’t anyone (Cap, perhaps?) bring up that point?
- Revenge seems to be the sin du jour throughout the movie, with parental figures biting the bullet left and right. I was wondering why they wanted to out-Bruce-Wayne Bruce Wayne. . .
- Too, too long for me. This has to do with my lack of engagement with the characters, but structurally, I felt that the airport battle is the climactic scene. As a result, the rest of the movie meanders off towards its exit.
I did enjoy the scenes with Spiderman and Peter Parker quite a bit. He came across just as enthusiastic and fanboyish as I imagined. My one quibble would be the line about “that really old movie, The Empire Strikes Back”. . . sort of a ham-handed attempt to make him appear young, as well as product placement.
Maybe Marvel’s Cinematic Universe’s has phased me out, or maybe the ensemble format leaves much to be desired, I’m not sure.