Imagine you have super powers; it can be any super power you can think of: telepathy, flight, x-ray vision, super strength, a metal exoskeleton, speed… just anything you can think of, and you use that power to save the world. Sweet, right? Now, how would you feel if the government initiated an act that caused you to declare your power to the world, and be on retainer to a panel who decides where you go and when you’ll save people. Those powers don’t seem so cool now, huh?
Well, that’s the premise of Captain America: Civil War as the aftermath of Age of Ultron, and its leveling of an Eastern European country, killed hundreds – possibly thousands – and left even more without a place to call home. It is what’s within these “Sokovia Accords” that cause a rift between the Avengers, and cause each member to choose to back either Tony Stark or Steve Rogers. Those for the Accords followed Tony; those against them with Steve.
[Note to readers: do NOT read past the image unless you want spoilers for the movie.]
(This is also the premise of the comic series of the same name; however, it deals with all persons with mutant genes, superpowers, and extraordinary abilities to register their name, location, and power into an official database for the government to keep track of. That doesn’t sound like a good time to me, nor to the thousands of Inhumans, enhanced individuals, or the super-powered.)
However, there is more to Civil War than being #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan, and there is certainly more to the story than the “Sokovia Accords”; Bucky Barnes – childhood friend and brainwashed Hydra assassin – is accused of blowing up the UN and killing dozens during the signing. Including King T’Chakka of Wakanda.
Now, let’s think logically about this for a moment: why would someone who had been on the run for two years bomb a government building and let himself be seen on camera to be pursued? Could Bucky actually be innocent of this malicious attack on these sovereign nations? Steve seems to think so; so does Sam Wilson. And it turns out, they were right.
Colonel Helmut Zemo (who, in the comics, is the son of notorious comic villain Baron Heinrich Zemo), caused the explosion at the UN to frame Bucky and pit Steve and Tony against each other as the good Captain would work to clear his friend’s name while Tony tries to apprehend him and send him to Marvel’s version of Azkaban.
Zemo only causes this strife between the two sides because he was seeking retribution for his family’s death in Sokovia, and he blamed the Avengers for the tragedy instead of Ultron and his army of murderous robots. In the wake of Zemo’s retaliation, numerous people die – including five other Winter Soldiers that Hydra created.
The final drift between Steve and Tony (and their subsequent followers) occurs when Tony found out that his parent’s deaths was caused by, none other than, The Winter Soldier, Bucky. To make matters worse, Steve knew; most likely not about Bucky being the direct cause of their deaths, but that Hydra was the cause. Needless to say, Tony wanted to kill both Steve and Bucky at this point, so they fight a la Battle Royale style until Steve and Bucky walk away (one armless), and Tony is left on the ground with a disabled Iron Man suit.
Want My Honest Review?
Captain America: Civil War is the best movie that MCU has released to date. Joe and Anthony Russo do a phenomenal job at bringing balance to the comic book plot and the current MCUs “it’s all connected” status. They stay true to the story of the Superhuman Registration Act, aka the Sokovia Accords, while addressing some mysteries the Marvel Cinematic Universe had barely touched on before.
It’s a movie that, while including eleven out of thirteen members of the Avengers, is truly a Captain America movie. It’s compelling and serious, all the while maintaining the humorous balance that the MCU is known to dominate in the field of comic book inspired movies. It has the appeal of being an action thriller while staying on task in telling the story.
Speaking of action, Captain America: Civil War has some of the best fight scenes in the MCU, and – quite possibly – in the last twenty years of cinema history. Within the first ten minutes, Cap and Co. are going head to head with Hydra and Brock Rumlow, aka Crossbones. At fifty minutes in, the CIA and the Black Panther (the newly crowned King T’Challa of Wakanda) have located Bucky and are fighting him on rooftops and chasing him through tunnels. Just past an hour, Bucky, Steve, and Sam are fighting to escape custody; however, just before Bucky goes on the lam, he and Steve go hand to helicopter before plunging into a river. [Hmm… it seems we’ve seen that happen before.] Twenty minutes later, Team Cap and Team Iron Man go head to head at an airport, and, well, they destroy everything.
The final fight scene, between Captain America, The Winter Soldier, and Iron Man takes place in Siberia, at an undisclosed Hydra base in which Bucky – and the other Winter Soldiers – had been detained. This particular fight, Tony finds out about his parents’ death, and has nothing to do with the differing opinions of the Sokovia Accords, but with one friend trying to save the life of another while his other friend is trying to kill the first.
Does Tony have a right to be angry? Absolutely. However, his anger is misdirected. He’s angry with a person who was brainwashed into doing the bidding of an evil organization instead of the evil organization itself. And at a person who – upon further reflection – most likely wouldn’t have done the job if he were in his right mind. For example, many times throughout the film, whenever Bucky wasn’t brainwashed into acting as The Winter Soldier, he was still the guy that grew up with Steve and fought side-by-side him in World War II. Albeit, someone who is forced to retain all his memories of his missions and previous kills. My poor Bucky.
There were some points to the film that I wish were elaborated on, and even a couple left out altogether. Firstly, there was absolutely no reason to really include Sharon Carter in the movie. From the initial posters and stills from set, I really thought she’d play a bigger role that what she’d been reduced to: niece of Peggy Carter. And really, does there have to be a romantic element to the movie? Absolutely not. What could have been a strong female character has just been passed off as a possible love interest for Steve, and I’m kind of mad about that. Not that I don’t want Steve to be happy, but the entire thing came out of nowhere.
One can argue that the line between love and hate is a very thin one; however, when we first see Sharon in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, she is Steve’s attractive neighbor that he tries to ask out for coffee. Well, as it turns out, this neighbor is actually a SHIELD agent who was tasked to keep an eye on Steve, and you could tell he was hurt by the betrayal. However, now in Civil War, all of that is pushed behind him when he finds out that she is the niece of the woman he loved back in the 40s? No, I’m sorry, I’m not buying what’s trying to be sold here. Flesh her out a bit more, but even then the lack of chemistry between Sharon’s Emily van Camp and Steve’s Chris Evans can’t salvage that disaster.
While we’re on the subject of Carter women, can I just say that even though I was told well in advance of Peggy’s death (a friend of mine was an extra in that scene and texted me immediately after they finished filming it), I was not emotionally prepared to see how the funeral played out on screen? I really wasn’t. Not only that, but I am severely disappointed that we found out nothing else about her life other than that she was an exemplary SHIELD agent. What the heck?
And, here’s a train of thought, if the show is alluding to her “Happily Ever After” with – American SSR agent – Daniel Sousa, why would her body be returned to England to be buried/cremated there? Really, there were things left unanswered regarding her life post season two of her own show that – if we don’t receive any additional seasons of Agent Carter – may be left unknown. That’s something that doesn’t sit well with me, at all.
With the release of Civil War, it also brought along the homecoming of Spider-Man and Peter Parker to the MCU. I admit it, I am not much of a Spider-Man fan, and was a bit wary of the announcement of a new Peter and Spidey into my beloved universe. However, my fears were for naught as Tom Holland’s portrayal of the iconic character were what I imagine Peter Parker to be if he were real. While Peter and Spider-Man’s role was small in the grand scheme of this film, it left an impression on the audience as it sets precedence for the upcoming Marvel Spider-Man movie Homecoming, and actually has this writer waiting to see what good can come from Spidey’s return to Marvel.
Paul Rudd also co-stars in Civil War with a reprise of Scott Lang, and he returns to the MCU with a little something extra up his sleeve: he can now be Giant-Man instead of Ant-Man! Talk about growth of a character! His quips, jokes, and general tomfoolery parallel that of what we have seen previously in Ant-Man, and one can only hope that his movie franchise will continue to grow and develop into the greatness it can be.
Stan Lee’s cameo is probably the best he’s done. At the tail end of the movie, when Tony is helping Rhodey in physical therapy, he comes to the door dressed as a FedEx driver and asks for “Tony Stank.” Like Steve’s slip of “language” in Avengers: Age of Ultron, I doubt Tony “Stank” is going away anytime soon.
All great movies – even some not so great – have moments in which the audience will remember forever. Steve Rogers crying while carrying Peggy’s coffin, the video footage from where The Winter Soldier killed Howard and Maria Stark, and the great BroTP moments between Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes are just a few in this film. However, for me, the two most poignant scenes are within the final minutes of the feature.
The second most memorable scene is just after the fight in Siberia, and the audience sees Bucky sitting next to a cryogenic tank. What we learn seconds after is that Bucky has elected to be frozen again so he cannot be used as a weapon anymore, and he can be be woken up after a cure for his brainwashing can be found. It’s an honorable choice, and one that he couldn’t have made lightly. What makes this so memorable, and so touching, is that Steve just got his best friend back just for him to – in a sense – disappear again.
However, the most memorable moment is actually in Siberia after Tony blows off Bucky’s metal arm, and Steve deactivates Tony’s suit, and Steve just drops his iconic shield and walks away from it. This was, of course, prompted by Tony’s tantrum of shouts that he doesn’t deserve the shield that his father made, but for this character to just walk away from that particular symbol of strength absolutely gutted me. The shield, which is a symbol of strength and protection – actual qualities of Steve Rogers himself – also represents the strong ideals that the SSR and SHIELD vowed to protect.
What this means for the future of Steve Rogers? I have no idea. Will Tony get his head out of his rear and reach out to the super-soldier before the next Avengers movie? Who knows. Will Steve’s new ally in T’Challa, King of Wakanda, afford him Vibranium to make another shield, something to represent this new era? I wish I knew. But I do know that as long as Steve Rogers is alive and fighting for those who cannot fight, he is the shield we need.
And it is due to this that I will, always, remain a faithful member of #TeamCap.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear why you remain loyal to your team, and/or why you changed loyalties.
And if you have yet to see the movie, but have made it to the end of this post against better judgement and want to yell at me for spoiling it; I warned you!