Captain America 3 has little to do with the Captain, and much to do with more of the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are lots of moving parts and fans of the films now 13 movies deep are sure to enjoy this latest outing. It’s a padded, safe movie, and doesn’t make any of the mistakes of the previous “Civil War”- esque movie(s) this year, namely Batman v Superman. It takes little risks and offers little stakes; the epitome of a “popcorn movie”. If you go to the theater for an “enjoyment experience”, you’ll love it. If, you were expecting a deep political thriller dealing with the themes associated with the Marvel “Civil War”, this isn’t the movie you are looking for, though I’d definitely recommend Daredevil Season Two.
Captain America: Civil War is a perfectly adequate film and a fun way to kill almost three hours. 8.5/10 or a B+
And now, the reason you’re all here:
If only, we had some kind of section of the page where we compare and contrast multiple different angles while going off the rails on a twelve-pager rant. Oh right, WE DO!
Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, (and of course you, True Believer) I call this section the first ever:
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR: A SPOILER REVIEVANGENT:
(spoilers this way)
Part One: The Curse of the Jaded Comic Book Fan
It’s “Civil War”…kinda. This was a movie I had outright ignored, because aside from the godly quality that is the MCU Netflix, The actual MCU had all but broken my spirit and lost me as a customer. Doctor Strange will truly be my last dance with the MCU, and that’s primarily because I’m a huge fan of the OG Strange Tales comics.
How does a universe about brightly colored super beings get a person to this point? Every good super villain has his origin...
I’ll refer to my Age of Ultron review on that one, which started here:
“Avengers: Age of Ultron – What’s My Age Again?
I guess I should start this off by saying that I really didn’t like the first Avengers movie. It upset me how much I didn’t like the first Avengers movie. The action was cool. Thor was there. We got to see the Hulk for the first time since Harlem, and RDJ could play Tony Stark in his sleep by that point. The ending action sequences were some of the best I’ve ever seen. What was not to like? And there is a very simple answer for that: the previous hour and forty-three minutes that didn’t feature Tom Hiddleston.
For whatever reason, Joss Whedon decided to make Black Widow and Hawkeye the main characters/protagonists of the first movie. MANY people have argued me on this point stating that the entire thing was an ensemble piece, and while it’s true that ensemble pieces focus on “Everyone” they still have “main” characters tiered in importance of their screen time and level of conflict – ie the first movie was ENTIRELY about Hawkeye’s betrayal, redemption, and forgiveness while Thor…was just kinda “there” hitting things with a hammer.”
and ended up here:
“I’ll spare you the ham-fisted romance angle, the barrage of one-liners trying WAY too hard that felt like “bad Buffy fan-fic dialog”, and the fact that Thor was ONLY in this movie to set up Thor: Ragnarok but I will comment that Ultron’s master plan was straight out of Rocky & Bullwinkle.
It didn’t feature Iron Man fixing things for 23 minutes while trying to figure out what if any plot there was, and it made no mention of Iron Man 3. For that alone, I’d say it was Leagues…sorry “Avengers” better than the first one. It’s not deep, it’s not incredible, you’re not coming out of this with “Sin City” “Watchmen” or “The Dark Knight” but if you enjoyed something between “The Avengers” “Winter Solider” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” you’ll absolutely love this movie and insist it’s either the best or worst of those four options.
If you’re like me, think that Mark Ruffalo is the worst possible choice for Bruce Banner, and that to date, Thor, Incredible Hulk, and Iron Man are the best MCU movies, you might just be too “old” for the Age of Ultron.
I sum up this movie with the following very dissatisfying phrase:
“Stop fucking with Thor! He don’t have time for your movie! He’s busy with Asgardian shit!”
B- “Quantity not Quality!”
Mad Max will be out soon!”
I didn’t remotely care about anything else coming down the pipeline and then… the clouds parted, the sun shone again, and we got Daredevil season 2 and Jessica Jones. Hell, Ultron burnt me out on movies so much, I was just not a happy camper until this sumbitch dropped:
I mentioned I’m not a fan of the comic event, “Civil War”, while being a HUGE fan of the Captain America portion… I guess we should start there before we jump into the politics of the war itself. Let’s begin, with Bucky.
I have never hidden the fact that I’m a HUGE fan of Dick… Grayson. Seriously, this is the Nightwing presently on my desk at work:
Another in the LONG line of King Kirby creations, Cap debuted in 1941 under the banner of Timely Comics. Much like the OG territories later swallowed by Silver Age DC, Cap was just one of those free-agent predecessor books. Problem was, Marvel had no multiverse, and the now popular again character was destined to join the Avengers. They quickly came up with the plan to freeze and thaw him:
While Detective Comics decided to share their bouncing baby boy wonder with the world,
By the time Cap was a fixture and then leader of the Avengers, they decided to give him a tragic back-story about lessons and loss, ie the “Death of Bucky Barnes”
Much like it’s tricky to see who showed up and got popular first (the answer is Dick Grayson) it’s a much tighter race to see who came back to life first, Jason Todd, or Bucky Barnes.
I’ve never reviewed everyone’s FAVORITE MCU movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It was good. Hell, it was as great as everyone says it is. Yes, it plays to the same formula, but it’s well-written, well-directed, and even offers a sense-making political thriller for children. Honest Trailers tried to eviscerate it (flash fact: at the time of writing this, their HT for Civil War drops in four days, and I for one cannot fucking wait. No one rips apart movies people love like Spencer J. Gilbert, Jeremy from Cinema Sins…and me…and the cinema snob. Mike, Jay and Rich from RLM on Half in the Bag…and Best of the Worst… Ok, so lots of us do it now.)
There are two reasons I haven’t reviewed Winter Solider. The first, it’s as good as everyone says, while still being an MCU formula flick. The review would be like “More of the same, but the best they have to offer. Politics and punches. See this movie!”
and a guy by the name of Ed Brubaker, who made me give a shit about Captain America.
For someone who “isn’t a marvel fan”, I’ve got almost an entire bookcase full of the stuff. And the reasons are simple; I love Spider-Man, love the Uncanny X-Men, really like Thor, Jessica Jones, and Doctor Strange…and every now and then something is SO good in the movies/TV I track down the source material and am blown away.
When I read Brubaker’s Captain America: Winter Soldier, I immediately had to re-read Under the Hood to decide which was better, and it goes back and forth almost daily. Had we gotten that Bucky, and that story in the MCU movies… fuck, those would actually be the best things ever. But, we didn’t. We got a great Winter Solider movie, with a forgettable silent Bucky who was easily the worst part, and a TERRIBLE Bucky Barnes in the Civil War movie. I’m gonna describe aspects of the comics vs the movie here and there, but I strongly urge you to go and pick up the three Brubaker collection trades immediately.
Now, let’s talk about something I love, slow-burn deeply thought-provoking politics. The most unforgiveable thing about the Prequels, isn’t that they were based 93% on slow moving senate meetings… it’s that the meetings themselves as well as the outcomes didn’t make any God damn sense! Game of Thrones has proven you can put 40 hours of political discussions on screen, and as long as you distract people with naked women and violence, they’ll eat it up if it’s handled carefully enough.
In addition to these long drawn-out reviews, I also write up quick thoughts over on Letterboxd. Here is what I said about “Captain America: Civil War”, which is currently my 19th ranked film in a TERRIBLE/FORGETTABLE year of film:
“I didnt get it. It wanted to be a fun schlockbuster like the original Avengers, but it was mired in ridiculous "Prequel" level political overtones in a constantly changing tone that never once fit. Daredevil season 2 did this expertly, and BVS did this like a meth head who was tweaking.... Civil War reminded me of the Muppet Babies, specifically the episode where they role play "R-itendo". You got the feeling that whoever was writing it, had something they wanted to say, but realized they were constrained to "having to say it to babies/children". The result was probably entertaining for them, and lost on anyone who tried to think about it. I never liked the comics Civil War, but at least that one made sense. This never did. They would never fight, and Cap would never choose this asshole iteration of Bucky. Someone should have shot him in the face immediately.
Horrible rendition of one of my favorite Marvel villains, but I'm used to that by now. I absolutely hated every scene with Tom Holland, and the cartoony spider-man takes me right out of the movie/looked like a video game.
of all the things this year that did the "Civil War" plot, id rank them as:
1. Daredevil Season 2
2. X-Men: Apocalypse
3. The Jungle Book
4. Captain America: Civil War
5. BVS Ultimate Edition
6. BVS Theatrical Edition
it's kinda sad/hilarious, that the movie that actually WAS for children, handled changing political tides and the Civil War concept better than the big two superhero ones with years of buildup.
Fun, but forgettable and stupid. Perfect summation of this year/summer for movies. 3/5 or a B-“
that’s right Spider-Fans, this year has redone the SAME story over and over and over. I don’t know if it’s a race thing (Trump) or a Lady thing ([H]illary), or just pure coincidence for the most part, as many of these things were initially written and created 10-30+ years ago, but everything seemed to be echoing the current election and the mindset of the country. Hell, you can definitely add the disappointment that was Purge: Election Year, which still handled it better than either cut of BVS
So, let’s break them down and discuss what Civil War did and didn’t do correctly.
Part Two: Fifteen Characters in Search of a Sequel
As the title (the one way the fuck at the top of this page) suggests, Captain America: Civil War, an Avengers movie in a “Stand-alone” Halloween costume, is the absolute death knell of the MCU “Stand-alone” movies. This was easily my biggest complaint with Ultron (see that bitch-fest above) as they sacrificed story in favor of more of that God damn universe building that I already don’t care about.
Flash Fact: Disney, you have built your universe, EXPERTLY since two thousand-fucking EIGHT! STOP BUILDING! It is built, we came- many of us literally, to rewatches of Winter Solider- Put down the metaphorical trowel, and let Captain America be “the Captain!” We do NOT need this shit:
Civil War exists because Ultron under-performed. Guardians did gangbusters, and then lots of shit came out throwing the charts out of wack. Disney said, “We wont be able to outdo the original Avengers, but we don’t need to blow an Avengers size budget. Let’s just make a third Avengers, and call it Cap 3. We’ll make a billion, and save money in the process, and we can do all the shit we woulda done in the third Avengers.”
Then someone else said “But what about the Infinity Gauntlet? People are waiting to see that!” and the first guy replied “SHUT THE FUCK UP, NERD! They’ll keep waiting! It’s been ten fucking years and they’re still waiting! We need to set up Black Panther, the Hawkeye and Black Widow Netflix, a standalone Vision/War-Machine buddy cop drama, and nine more Hulk movies!” then he shot the dude who objected in the fucking face.
Here is how you make a movie adaptation out of Civil War. Step one: read the comic book. Step two, do everything they did panel for panel.
Ok.. .so they don’t have all the rights to the characters, and they haven’t been active with established relationships to one another for 20+ yrs…and they can’t blow up children (yes, that happens, read the comic. The first two issues are great)
Let’s try that again…
Here is how you make a movie adaptation of Civil War that will fit in the MCU.
Have Speedball (Speedfreak? Whoever) and the others HIRED by Crossbones and Sin. Yes, you absolutely need human form Sin. If you don’t know who Sin is, you shouldn’t be excited to see a fucking Captain America movie, let alone the third one. Have him blow up a school, an office building, a playground, hell, Mark Hammil killed schoolchildren on the CW Flash. We didn’t explicitly see it, but that shit happened!
Next, you deal with Cap’s introspective about having lost people, those he trusts letting others die. He doesn’t trust the govt. He’s starting to question his “Murica” and says “Fuck this noise, I’ll go WWII on their asses!” Cap goes rogue and starts acting as a super vigilante. Tony, feels guilty over Ultron and introduces the mutant reg… the superhero Regis… what the fuck did they call it? Doesn’t matter. That happens. Sides break down, Tony finds Bucky. There is NO conflict, no nothing. Bucky was a dick in Winter Solider. He killed some people. Tony engages him while blasting Dirty Deeds or Those About to Rock. He can even make a “We salute you” quip. Bucky plays fo realsies and kills Rhodey. Rips him in fucking half or blasts a hole in him… you know, like this: cause fuck Rhodey, he hasn’t been relevant since before Steel was a thing, and MCU fans have little to less than “no fucks given” interest in him.
Tony travels through his “heel turn”, and becomes a complete dick with no more fun, jokes, or coddling. The Avengers begin murmuring “Benjamin Franklin… hmm Benjamin Franklin” (that’s a South Park joke) and the audience is left to struggle with the question; am I on Tony’s side? Or Steve’s?
A lot of people say that Zemo’s plan made no sense. Some go so far as to compare it to Eisenlex’s plan- which I’m still trying to figure out what the shit he was doing- it makes “sense”, it’s every other character in the movie that does NOT make sense. And it’s basing yet another movie on this asshole:
We don’t need a Black Panther subplot, and he shouldn’t be the one confronting Zemo at the end.
We don’t need Ant-Man or cartoon five year old Spider-“Man”. Yes,the airport scene was “cool”. You can watch it on Youtube. It doesn’t fit with anything else in the entire movie and it’s nothing but a set-piece in which absolutely nothing happens until rhodey gets blown up cause Vision obviously needs a subplot. The LAST thing Infinity Gauntlet needs is a 23 minute Vision-centric subplot questioning his alliances and morality. Opening scene, Thanos fucks shit up, punches his hand into Vision’s skull, rips out his gem, and “kills” him, until Vision inevitably shows back up T2 style rerouted with alternate power. STOP BUILDING THE UNIVERSE! It’s fucking BUILT! We need character moments. We need things like this- not "Acted" out by Sebastian Stan:
(you can read Jim’s much more favorable review here bt dubs) :
“The ending fall-out, with half the cast in jail, and Cap/Tony going their separate ways, sounds like great setup for a Civil War movie”.
This movie wasn’t “Civil War”, it was the prequel setup to it. This was “Attack of the Clones” to “The Clone Wars”. Two and a half hours wasted on Bucky, and Wakanda accomplishing nothing, and changing no stakes. They couldn’t even follow-through on killing Rhodey. Sure, Peggy Carter died. So? He should have been heavily involved in the plotline of Sharon Carter under control of Sin and Crossbones, losing the baby, and then shooting him in the heart.
Part III: Thirteen Movies
While the last section was a play on my all-time favorite story ever, The Twilight Zone classic: Five Characters in Search of an Exit
This one is a play on one of the best political drama thrillers ever (and cause I’m hoping there are in fact presently 13 Marvel movies) Thirteen Days
Thirteen Days is a movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis and handling (or lack there of) of said crisis. It’s an expertly crafted “political drama-thriller” on the level of Crimson Tide, All the King’s Men, Fail-Safe, etc. This is due in large part to the fact that the characters and the audience are constantly questioning “who is right here?”
While you can have amazing stories with a shining white knight, and a mustache twirling villain dressed all in black, political stories where you aren’t sure who is right are the best way to go. This is the main reason I didn’t care for Glory, (that and I really just don’t like Matthew Broderick), but I absolutely love Red Badge of Courage.
In terms of the ACTUAL Civil War, if you remove the SJW revisionist history, and observe it only from the mindset of the people of the time, you’ll find it wasn’t about “Slavery” or any one issue. It was actually not unlike our Revolutionary War, ie where we gained our independence, and this was what the South was actually fighting for. Jumping in from a distance with a directed world-view ie “Bucky good. Tony mean” will assure that only ONE SIDE comes out as the clear “moral victor” despite what actually happens within the film.
I remember in the lead-up to the flick, I made an impassioned case about how Tony is clearly the good-guy, and in the MCU it’s clear that the Avengers are the villains (a thought confirmed by Vision and by Thunderbolt Ross in this movie) the causalities and property damage are mounting. Sure, the FIRST Avengers wasn’t their fault. It was “war-war” and everyone was in the trenches….Winter solider, Thor 2, Ultron, Ant-Man, and now this? The Avengers are just fucking dicks. Their egos are writing checks the earth can’t handle, and we need to regulate the shit out of them, or treat them as a hostile sovereign state and nuke the fuck out of them. Putting them in a Tiger prison black site, was the responsible and humane thing to do. Fuck Bucky, and fuck Steve. They made Captain America into “Captain Treason”. That’s worse than this shit!
and my answer is “Shut the fuck up, Perry White!”
Oh wait, my answer is actually,
“You can fire off your blockbusters for children from the Tower of Terror (that’s a Disney joke) but you can never strike… X-Poc!”
Of all the unpopular opinions I’ve said out loud or in writing this year (and I’ve said repeatedly, that Kate Mara should just retire… today and never act again) the one that has come under the most fire is my feeling on X-Men: Apocalypse. Most people hated it, and if you read the NON fan section of my review you’ll see my thoughts were, “Good! You are supposed to hate it! The movie is not made for non fans of the comics!”
but God damn, from that fan perspective, was it PERFECT (or as close as J-Law would let it be)
X-Men Apocalypse is HOW you do a schlock battle meets “Should we have nukes?”
The fucking Jungle Book, had me sympathizing with Shere Khan and thinking “Mowgli is an asshole… they should have just eaten him so he can’t burn down the Jungle.”
Civil War had me thinking “Why the fuck did they ruin Zemo? Where is Sin? Why do they think I care about Bucky? He’s played by Sebastian fucking Stan!”
There was no expert monologue by a Karen Page type asking the people “Would you be Frank Castle? Or are you just happy that he exists in this world so you don’t have to do what he does?”
There was no Clark Kent failing miserably at covering high school football.
FUCK YOU, PERRY!
I didn’t hate this movie, I’ve said a few positive things above, and I’ll tie it all up shortly, but before I get to the absolute most unforgivable portion that will undoubtedly explode into future tangents for movies I had already decided I didn’t want to pay money for (Spider-Man Homecoming), I know when I’m outclassed, and on the Marvel field of battle, or even dealing with 80s wrassling (something I do love), “nobody does it better” than my partner in crime, Jim Foote.
I had this whole thing drawn out about matchups in Civil War, vs the ones in X-Poc, and the ones in the Civil War comics. I was gonna blast Mortal Kombat on repeat, but I know Jim, and that motherfucker will quote Van Damme and cite the Bushwackers. So, for this next portion, I tag in the Ayatollah-of-Schlock-n-rolla; Sim Sim Salla Jim himself; (while I fill in any comic related holes and gaps)
Part IV: Bloodsport (guest written by Jim)
“Okay let's see... where to start, where to start.
I'd like to first point out I enjoyed Civil War. Thing with Josh's review style, he goes full Rain Man at times. He can give an absolutely scathing review, call it dumb, etc. and still give it a B. On the other hand, he can look at something else, scream "fuck it," and give it a zero. Zero point zero.
If we're looking at the 0-10 scale, 5 would be average. Looking back at the flick, I'd probably rate it just a little lower than original, but that's left for another time. The difference between Josh and I on the Civil War landscape is he holds the comic as a "do this, it works." Meanwhile, I'm no longer expecting the comic stories to translate over in a more direct way. For example, look at the upcoming Infinity War (and what I'm expecting to be Infinity Gauntlet for the yet to be named fourth Avengers movie). If you were going to do an actual direct adaptation from the book, you'd need Reed Richards, Wolverine, Daredevil, Galactus, Death, Adam Warlock, etc. There are so many characters they either haven't introduced yet or won't be able to introduce at all. So we'll get a shuffling around of characters and hit some of the main points. I very much doubt it ends with Thanos on a farm. If they end it like so, I'll give it a fucking standing ovation.
My basic point here is Marvel will pick one thing, for the most part, and stick with it. They may change some of the elements, switch in and out characters, or the like. Still, they can say "this movie is Winter Soldier, next one is Civil War, then Infinity." DC goes, "Let's add one part DKR, one part Man of Steel sequel, another part Injustice, mix well and serve."
Now with Civil War, they made certain changes in order to build further movies/the universe. You can't have Spider-Man unmasking because he's new to the scene. I mean... what's the point of pulling the trigger on a monumental event you haven't built to. It would be as if Batman and Superman met one day, tried to immediately kill each other, and then be best fwiend butt bodies. Wait...
Wrestling has always been a love and inspiration of mine. I could Ken Napzok almost anyone in trivia. I remember things no one has the right to remember. So with Civil War, they were going into my favorite type of territory. Team up fights. WWE, then WWF, had an event called Survivor Series. They would pit teams of 4 or 5 people against one another, until an entire team was eliminated. You opened yourself up to do so much with matches and stories like these in ways you couldn't do with a single rivalry. So, this year, three major comic book movies employed this technique. Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse and BvS. Now before you say BvS didn't, I can prove otherwise.
Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Lois vs. Doomsday, Lex, KGB, and various henchmen. Lois is like the manager who's been put in the match, comes under danger, and has to retrieve the key to victory, the kryptonite spear. Lex is the scrawny villain who tries to slip away when he sees he's defeated, yet gets picked up in the end.
Damn it. I broke my rule. I promised I'd never call him Lex. Shit.
Anyway, X-Men: Apocalypse got the Survivor Series right. I'm here to tell you why. All of the good Survivor Series matches had a balance and unpredictability to them. There was a purpose and a storyline push, whether it be a smaller one due to an opening match or a company wide shifting one near the main event. Let's look at the teams and match-ups of X-Men and Civil War.
Oh, and BvS is already out of the discussion. They did almost nothing right in that movie. I don't understand how people love that flick. Maybe I'm just closer to becoming the old man in the bathrobe yelling at kids to get off my lawn.
X-Men: Apocalypse pitted Team X vs. Team A.
Team X: Mystique, Quicksilver, Beast, Cyclops, Nightcrawler and Jean Grey.
Team A: Apocalypse, Magneto, Storm, Archangel and Psylocke.
You get so many matches here. Cyclops vs Storm, Beast vs Psylocke, Archangel vs Nightcrawler are your mains. We get some Mystique and Quicksilver vs Magneto, Xavier vs Apocalypse (in his mind) and then everyone vs Apocalypse. The catch is you can easily keep track of where everyone is and each's goals during the battle.
Civil War had Team Cap vs Team Iron Man.
Team Cap: Cap, Falcon, Bucky, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and ANT-MAN.
Team Iron Man: Tony, Rhodes, Vision, Panther, Widow and Spodermon.
ANT-MAN KICKS SPIDER-MAN IN THE MOTHER FUCKING HEAD. YEAAAAAH BOYYYYEEEEEEE.
So the Avengers were pretty much done way before that fight even happened.
Again, it's not to say I didn't enjoy the hell out of that movie. I did. I'll soon be buying it and rewatching it. That being said, I think X-Pac... I mean X-Poc... clearly did the better team fight when it comes to actual meaning.
But seriously... Ant-Man was the breakout star of the airport scene. He opens it by kicking Spider-Man in the face, is the only one to provide a real threat to Panther (as Giant Man) and his appearance AS Giant Man is the biggest moment.
ANTS. ANTS. ANT-MAN!
Now back to your regularly scheduled Josh Krubner.
Part V: The “R” Word
Finally, we come to the elephant in the room. If you’ve ever seen the movie version of Constantine, or that “Spoiler Alert” episode of How I Met Your Mother , that’s how I walk through life. I’m about to lift the veil on Wonderland, Alice, so it’s your last chance to bail out.
One of my first gigs post college involved writing for and working with a number of companies that manufactured goods based on various movies, tv shows, video games, comic books, etc. In the jungle, these various properties are known as “licenses”. When you work with them directly, you lose any semblance of “joy” or mystery and find out first hand what a crazy person Linda Bl- hmm not sure if even all these years later I can even name drop that one. Anyway, the other thing you do, when you get good enough to weigh in on what should be bought or passed on, is how to watch a single trailer analyze it down to frame by frame. Oh, and around that time I started doing reviews full-time too. You get so accustomed to breaking down trailers, as I’m sure just most reviewers do, that you literally can’t watch a single trailer (and I wont, for movies I have actual genuine interest in) without being able to map out two thirds of the flick…and when a new trailer comes out with “reshoots” yea, you can pretty much peg those too.
As of writing this, I haven’t seen Suicide Squad yet, but I still have notes on those trailers/the reshoots. I have seen Civil War, which is why we’re all here. Holy tonal shift, Batman. When Ant-Man ended, we were treated to the most depressing and slow moving post credits stinger (yes, that’s what they are actually called) to ever hit the MCU.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICehDJKVOHk (Ant Man Post Credits Stinger: Bucky/Accords)
We see Cap, Falcon, and Bucky in some kind of mechanic bay/garage. They mention “Tony” and the “Accords” and the actual comic book fans in the audience get out their nerd soap box and explain “This has to do with Civil War” same as they explained away the post creds in X-poc… (a later article for a later time)
Then the fist trailer drops with Thanksgiving:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnv__ogkt0M (Captain America: Civil War First Trailer Nov 25th 2015)
A few things on this. Did you know that the all-time suicide rate outside of Alaska (which has literal endless Winter quite often) spikes during the “Holiday Season”? This means from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve..ish depressed people decide to end it all. It has been linked to things like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD for short lol), a plunging lack of melatonin/serotonin, and other things, a rise in tryptophan (the shit found in turkey that makes you sleep) and being a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.
This trailer hits with the depressing dulldrums of November and what do we get? Our same initial shot of the “motor pool”, sad, and depressing statement or visual after sad/depressing visual, and an unintentional foreshadowed dig at BVS that is in retrospect hilarious!
Listen to the slow plodding score, the lecturing tone of Thunderbolt Ross, the reminding of how many times the Avengers have fucked up, Tony’s impatience with Cap, the insistence of putting Scarjo as the focus of yet another fucking movie, the heart-breaking “So was I” from Tony when Cap says that Bucky was his friend. It all culminates with what the trailer masterfully built to; in writing, it’s called the “lowest point”. Being as Disney packs all the subtlety of ….well any scene in a Disney movie prior to 1993
and then… a few months later in some warmer, sunnier weather, while eating wings and waiting for kick-off during the “Big Game”… we get this shit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZVd2unfoFk (Captain America: Civil War Superbowl TV spot)
What the fuck is this shit? Gone is the entire movie from the previous trailer. It’s the Ultron trailer 1 vs trailer 2 and 3 phenomenon all over again.
We have some bizarre nazi countdown, intercut over shots of our heroes uniting to fight a common unseen foe. We have “hero shot” after hero shot. Everything is bright and sunny. There’s an inclusion of characters not seen previously, and the two sides are apparently squaring off in some big action figure battle royale. Where did the movie I was promised go?
And then, on March 10th, we get this, and I lose ALL hope/ALL interest in seeing this movie in theaters:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKrVegVI0Us (Captain America: Civil War Trailer 2 March 10th 2016)
By 55 seconds, I’ve pinpointed a movie that will spend its first hour on lecturing the heroes for fighting off an alien invasion, having some nameless forgettable villain manipulate Bucky from behind the scenes, resulting in a 5 minute Iron Man vs Cap fight having none of the stakes or gravitas of the comic.
At the one-minute mark we are treated again to the “Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth” comment, but this time it’s said in casual conversation, like a co-worker saying “your team beat mine this week, fuck your mother lol”. There are no stakes. There’s no weight to any of this shit. We then get our first obvious reshoot, a Dark Knight Rises meets the opening reshoot scene of the original Avengers with Black Panther chasing Bucky. We can tell in the actual movie, this scene will go on for WAY too long, and only exists because they have to set up a Black Panther movie no one cares about (while shoving Audi product placement literally into our faces). The trailer sets up Bucky being “mind-controlled”, removing all the stakes regarding him. The conflict over “he’s my friend/so was I”, is also lost forever.
The music again crescendos- entirely different, uplifting music- and shots of the original heart-breaking fight are now intercut with the airport scene bullshit, a literal shift from “night to day”, and then the unforgivable happens.
Tony stops all tone, and audio of the trailer to call in “underoos” as a horrific looking cartoon “Spider-boy “appears out of a bad video game cutscene with the voice of a child, at which point the internet loses its collective shit.
Spider-Man joins Tony’s team out of fear and desperation. His entire arc in the comics event of Civil War is this:
something the movie clearly missed the boat on.
Are reshoots always a bad thing? No, of course not. Reshoots, and studios CAN save a movie. This wasn’t a movie that needed saving. It was yet another MCU jaunt that if allowed to be its own thing could have been SO much better. “Better” was sacrificed and whittled down to “good enough” so that they could setup Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Would you have rather had the movie sold to us by the first trailer? Or were you blown away by the 20 minute Airport Scene, some people are somehow calling “the best action scene of all time”, which then made you forget the hour and ten minutes of the movie that made no sense, packed no stakes, and you’ll text during/fast forward over to get to the airport scene upon each rewatch, exactly how you skip the opening 20 mins of the Avengers…and the 20 mins where Tony fixes the helicarrier.
The more we reward this behavior, the more we will encourage them doing shit like this:
It’s like I said as above, so below; “The movie was fun, it was enjoyable, it was politics 101 for easily distracted children, sacrified to a studio intent on building the biggest spectacle imaginable sacrificing any and all story or substance in the process.”
Comics and comic book movies are not supposed to be “Realistic”. They are not supposed to be about “representation”, or “identity-politics”, or any of that nonsense. Female superhero movies don’t need female directors. That mentality IS sexist, you regressive morons. Same with black heroes/movies. “Black Panther, we should get Ryan Coogler!” I love Coogler, and I’m sure he would do a great job, but how did anyone say those words/put them in writing and not think “look how fucking racist I sound lol!”
There’s a reason I love the silver age. I’ve never been to Rann or had a liason with a hot alien chick while coming in hot off a zeta beam, and yet while reading “The Essential Showcase” on a plane ride that would change my life (more on that later) I was confined to 20 pages of some asshole named Adam Strange before ever being exposed to that red gun who runs fast on the cover…and it was fucking great! It was the height of sci-fi 50’s schlock. Buck Rogers in color. I loved it. I didn’t identify with Adam. I didn’t feel represented or shunned by the gender identity politics of Rann and how they treated Alanna. I thought “This shit is cool!” and even at the age of six or seven, as a prospective writer, already comprehending how a story is put together, everything I was taking in made sense to serve a greater narrative.
Taking the stories away from established characters to check boxes and appease “fans” or shareholders so you get good marks on Motherjones, is NOT how stories should be told or movies should be made.
You kicked the shit out of the DCEU. Congratulations. It’s not hard to beat a one-legged methhead at a three-legged race. Captain America The Third..ish was “fun”. It was “enjoyable”, and it was “good enough”. It was a B in every sense of the word. It was the kid who “set” the table for grandma by throwing a napkin haphazardly across a single plate that the thrown fork and knife clattered off of before hitting the floor. It was the kid that says he brushed his teeth, but all he did was chew on some toothpaste. It was “good” but in no way was it “good enough”. The height of disappointment and my absolute breaking point for the non Netflix MCU.
If however, they ever follow-through on that “Civil War” story that this movie presented, it could make for a damn good Civil War movie.