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Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War has it all. The action feels fresh and exciting. Some scenes had the entire audience in tears from laughter, others were truly heartbreaking. It is not afraid to ask the tough questions and the leave you to ponder them on your own, refusing to give you a simple solution.

And despite the size of the story and the numbers of characters all pressed into 2 1/2 hours of screentime, the movie remains a Captain America movie at heart, in tone and topic but even more because it has Steve firmly placed at the centre, refusing to move even one inch, while everything else moves around him.
Overall, I'd say the movie is about 50% Captain America, 30% Winter Soldier, 15% Iron Man and 5% Avengers.

Once the first rush of excitement has ebbed away, I don't expect it to quite be able to challenge Winter Soldier for the top spot of my favourite MCU movies, but I fully expect it to settle for a close second.

There is so much I want to talk about, and I will probably write a few more detailed posts on specific topics when I've seen the movie a couple more times.

Edit: I just saw the movie for the second time and liked it even better! It's just so character driven. I don't think I'll ever tire of all the details and different motives. I truly do understand every single character's point of view, even if I don't agree with all of them.
Since my opinion hasn't changed on anything major, I'll just add a few things here, and change one or two I didn't remember correctly after the first time. All changes I make will be in bold


For now just a long list of thoughts from the top of my head:

SPOILER AHEAD




Let's start with Steve, who stands his ground so firmly and unfalteringly, illustrating perfectly why I went in Team Cap and never once questions my loyalty. I don't think I could have if I tried.

Don't get me wrong: I'm sure if there were a real life group of people like the Avengers, I'd expect them to answer to someone. And yes, I guess you could say that there is a certain arrogance in saying "The safest hands are [still] our own". You could also call it experience.
Look at the incidents that prompted that Sokovia accords:
  • New York was nothing anyone could have predicted. SHIELD messed around with the cube. The Avengers went in and saved who and what could be saved. The World Council were the ones who wanted to nuke Manhattan to solve the problem. How many lives would that have cost compared to how many were lost by opposing the higher authorities?
  • D.C.: The very threat came from the organisation that was supposed to "oversee" the Avengers. So if anything, it supports Cap's side of things.
  • Sokovia: That one is on Tony (and maybe Bruce to some extent) and Tony alone. I don't mean that in a hateful way. I know what his intentions were, but he is the one responsible. He didn't start the Ultron programme as a member of the Avengers but as Tony Stark, and would have regardless. He even actively kept it from the team. The Avengers just cleaned up the mess the best they could.
  • Lagos: That's the only one I have to give them to a point. Then again, what was the alternative? Working with the local and global authorities, but not under their command sounds like the most reasonable compromise to me. Problem is: We don't know enough about that particular mission to really judge what would have been sensible and possible under the circumstances. How much time was there to react?


I also want to take a look at Team Iron Man's arguments:
  • "The UN is not the World Council or SHIELD": And what's the difference exactly? What makes the UN more trustworthy? It's still a group of powerful people sitting in a room making decisions, probably with an agenda of their own, usually a political one.
  • The correlation between the number of enhanced people and the number of threats: Well, maybe the threats the MCU faces asks for the involvement of more "enhanced" people, who would otherwise have kept to themselves? There is no other reasonable cause and effect I can see, since the "enhanced" people haven't really posed a lot of the threats so far, have they? They have mostly cleaned them up. And the ones who may cause threats are not exactly the ones who'll end up working for the UN and let themselves be kept in check.
  • The only argument that made sense to me was Natasha's: Take the chance to keep at least one hand on the wheel, before you are forced to give up control altogether. But we all know that Steve isn't the kind of guy to compromise on what he believes is right. Original credit for this argument actually goes to Tony. Sorry.


What actually sealed the deal for me, though, was the question of choice for the people with powers. Sure, if your power comes from a suit or similar, you can just quit, at least in theory (unless you're called Steve Rogers and are incapable of looking the other way). But what about Wanda, Vision, Bruce, and to some extent Steve and Bucky?
Seeing Wanda locked up in her golden cage, no trial, no warning, allegedly for everyone's protection including her own... I couldn't possibly support the side that does that to her. No way!


Talking about Wanda and the Avengers Mansion (or what I consider the MCU version of it): Remember when Steve said that he was home at the end of AOU? I love that he really did make it a home, not just for himself but the entire team. He isn't just their leader, he is a friend too. The scene between him and Wanda after the Lagos incident was heartwarming. Steve was heartbroken and guild ridden himself, but still found the strengh to console her because he knew she needed it.
Yes, she fucked up. They both did. They are human after all. People tend to forget that. Steve, when he froze after hearing from Crossbones that Bucky had remembered him after all ("Your pal, your buddy, your Bucky") just to have his memories ripped away from him again. And Wanda... Wanda tried her best to save not just Steve but everyone on that square. Judging from the size of the explosion, most of them would have died. Now other innocent people died instead. It's a horrible choice to make, but it was a split-second decision and the only one with a shot at saving everyone. So who can blame her? It's still something she will carry with her for the rest of her life, and another thing Steve will have to shake off to continue.


Let's talk about the other guy who has a lot to shake off: I didn't think my love for Bucky could grow even more but it did.
After Winter Soldier, I wanted him to go on a revenge trip and burn Hydra to the ground, every last trace of it. I was (and still am) so angry about what they did to him. I wouldn't have blamed him for setting the entire world on fire in response to what he had to endure.
And then seeing him, so calm and kind, just trying to stay out of sight, not asking for a single thing other than to be left alone. Looking almost small and unassuming, despite the strength to tear through a small army. So determined never to kill anyone ever again, and only fighting when left no other choice to keep the one precious thing he is not willing to part with again: His freedom.
From what he tells Steve, this freedom is something he has to protect over and over again, always running, always looking over his shoulder. And yet you will find him in a market, buying plums with a small, sad, kind, and grateful smile. He reminds me of Bruce in the first part of The Incredible Hulk, and I couldn't be prouder of him.
Just like Bruce he is dragged back into the entire mess by no fault of his own. Unlike Bruce, he is not alone.

My Steve/Bucky heart could not have asked for more. I could fill entire books on their relationship in this movie alone, but for now I'll stick to a few highlights:
  • Steve led to believe the Winter Soldier is back and deciding that, if Bucky had to be brought in, he'd be the one to do it. I know he says because he's the one most likely to survive the encounter, but let's be honest: The real reason is that a) Steve will be the only one to bring him in alive and b) Steve can judge whether he really deserves to be imprisoned or whether he is innocent. No one else will give him the benefit of the doubt if it turns out he's really Bucky again after all. And Steve just can't give up hope.
  • Steve unable to do anything but help Bucky after just a few words between them. Doesn't matter that Bucky still doesn't really know him. Steve knows Bucky, and he knows that Bucky doesn't deserve what's coming. That's enough.
  • Bucky standing down twice just because Steve silently asks him too
  • The helpless look on Steve's face when they are arrested, and later having to watch Bucky in his cell, not knowing what will happen to the most important person in his life.
  • Steve almost signing for Bucky (but then not when he is reminded that it goes against everything he believes in)
  • Bucky insisting on being called Bucky instead of James
  • Steve even more helplessly having to watch Zemo activate the Winter Soldier, while Bucky fights it with everything he has but without a chance
  • Steve dragging an unconcious Bucky out of a river, in a perfect parallel to Winter Soldier
  • "You're Mom's name was Sarah. You used to wear newspapers in your shoes."
  • Steve and Bucky fighting side by side, in perfect sync like no time has passed at all
  • The flight to Siberia: "It wasn't you. You had no choice." - "I know, but I still did it." It's such a powerful moment. Steve desperately needs Bucky to know that he doesn't blame him for any of it. Not just because he's Bucky, but because he truly is innocent. And Bucky does know that it's not his fault, that he was/is a victim. In some way, he already made his peace with it all. Or maybe resigned to his inability to ever make it right. The blood will always be on his hands, and he will always remember every single person those hands killed.
  • Including Howard and Maria Stark. Obviously we already knew. But seeing it is something different entirely (though I think it would have had even more of an impact had they brought back Dominic Cooper to play Howard). The shock on Tony's face. The look on Bucky's, feeling responsible, even when he knows he isn't, but unable to offer anything that could possibly mean anything to Tony. And Steve, visibly shaken but standing strong by Bucky's side.
  • And then Tony and (later) Steve just explode, too much anger and pain bottled up for way too long. I've never seen Steve this out of control, and for the very first time he scared me, when he raised his shield one last time.
  • And Bucky, the one who has every reason to be furious at the entire world, is the one who only joins the fight for two reasons: 1) Steve and 2) his freedom. At this point he is so used to running, that this time he even listens when Steve tells him to get out of there, tries at least to let Steve save him this time.
  • Steve and Bucky leaving the bunker, leaning heavily on each other, but alive and together.


Then of course there is that mid-credit scene... Despite the emotional roller coaster this movie provides at times, there were only two scenes that genuinely had me fighting tears, both of which had a very peaceful feeling to them, despite the sadness. Which probably just made them a whole lot worse:

1) Peggy's funeral. Peggy has lived a long and full life and dies peacefully at a truly blessed age. But letting her go still hurt, and watching Steve lose her even worse. Starting with the text message, that made his whole world stop for a moment, and continuing with the funeral. Steve looked so lost and alone through it all, but as always determined to keep it together. I can only hope (and have little doubt) that Sam convinced him to take the time and allow himself to grief.

2) The mid-credit scene: I was somewhat spoiled for that one. But the spoiler had made it sound like T'Challa had captured Bucky and put him into back into cryo. So seeing Bucky sitting there, himself and free to make his own choices was first and foremost a relief. Accpeting the choice he did make was a bit harder, and clearly almost impossible to bear for Steve. But it was Bucky's choice and I'm sure Steve would rather have died than not accept that.
I fully understand Bucky's need to make absolutely sure that the Winter Soldier can never hurt anyone ever again. That doesn't make it hurt any less. (I'm actually tearing up again right now, just writing about it.) It's not giving up. He knows Steve won't stop searching for a way to free him from the Winter Soldier once and for all (which would prove a lot easier if they still had Tony on their side), and Bucky is ready to come back as soon as he's safe. The "which might be never" is left hanging in the air. Steve will be searching till the day he dies if he needs to, but this time at least he knows that, in the meanwhile, no harm will come to Bucky.
I hope we'll have Bucky back soon, and on the team at Steve's side, where he belongs.


No major character dies in this movie (not counting Peggy, Howard and Maria) but that doesn't mean there aren't any consequences. Proving that you don't have to kill off characters to create an impact. Steve and his team were forced underground, Rhodey may never fully recover and Bucky is back in cryo... how much these consequences actually mean, depends largely on future MCU movies, but right now they are.

It's impossible to say who won. In some way, I'd argue that Tony won the battle but Steve won the war, in another that they all lost. Or that it isn't resolved yet.

The most important thing in my eyes is that Steve stood firm and will soldier on with his team by his side and under his protection, in whichever way he can under whichever circumstances he has.
Equally important is that he doesn't hold any grudges. When Tony asks and it's the right thing to do, he'll be there. And of Tony doesn't ask and it's still the right thing to do, he'll do it as well, even if he's hunted for it. He's Steve Rogers after all.


A few additional notes:
  • Both the airport scene and the "car chase" were amazing. Just when you think you've seen it all in terms of action sequences.
  • What I didn't expect was for the airport scene to be this funny. But the fun and lighthearted side, even in dark times, was always something I liked about the MCU
  • I firmly believe that it even gives the truly dramatic moments more impact. When Rhodey hit the ground, the entire movie theatre suddenly fell silent. You could hear people hold their breath where there had been laughter just moments ago.
  • I'm glad that neither Rhodey nor the direct shot at Tony was really Bucky. The first not at all, and the second not in control of his own mind.
  • I'll be honest with you: Yes, Spider-Man was the closest to his comic counter part I've seen so far and yes, he was funny. However to me 1) he felt overused 2) he felt generally out of place in this movie and 3) for the life of me I can't picture him carrying his own movie.
  • T'Challa on the other hand was flawless and fit in seamlessly. I wasn't overly excited for his movie before, mostly because I didn't know the character very well and as a result felt rather indifferent towards him. Now I can't wait for the Black Panther movie.
  • I was a bit (pleasantly) surprised by Clint's "Steve called because he was in trouble so I'm here to help. Let's go!" attitude. I didn't expect him to be this loyal to Steve, but apparently he is. Well, loyal to Steve and to Wanda of course
  • Natasha can't help it either, it seems. I'm very happy that she changed her mind and decided to help. Also just their friendship in general.
  • I'm not even sure I'd call it two teams. More like a lot of characters with a lot of opinions on what is the right thing to do. Some of the changing their mind in the course of the movie to at least a point: Tony, T'Challa...
  • I was fully prepared to actively ignore the entire Steve/Sharon thing, because of a) her relationship to Peggy and the truly horrible timing and b) they had no chemistry in Winter Solider. Surprisingly enough, while a) still stands, they were actually kinda adorable. It was only two scenes, so the relationship wasn't shoved in our faces nor took it time away from anything else. And seeing Steve's coy little smile and what I can only describe as a hint of pre-serum Steve... I'm always game for that. Plus, Bucky's and Sam's reaction alone was worth it.
  • Talking about Sam and Bucky, can they just get their own movie together? I don't even care what it is about, as long as I can watch them bicker for two hours. If you've read the Brubaker Captain America run: Their relationship during Bucky's time as Cap is pretty much where they were headed. So I fully expect Sam to call something a "Bucky plan" in a future movie.
  • The movie's interpretation of Redwing was pretty cool
  • Scott Lang. That is all
  • The community reference was perfect
  • Sam diving with Tony in an attempt to save Rhodey, and asking about him later in the prison. Because no matter how angry they are with each other, none of them truly hate each other. And none of them want to see anyone get hurt.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
dimturien
May. 25th, 2016 09:38 pm (UTC)
Judging from the size of the explosion, most of them would have died. Now other innocent people died instead. It's a horrible choice to make, but it was a split-second decision and the only one with a shot at saving everyone.
Ich würde sogar so weit gehen und sagen, dass sie die Bombe eigentlich hoch genug - ähm, "werfen" wollte, so dass sie nur in der Luft explodiert und im schlimmsten Falle halt nur die Fenster kaputt gegangen wären und die schlimmsten Verletzungen ein paar Schnittwunden gewesen wären. Hat leider nicht geklappt. :(
Irgendwas musste sie ja tun, das ging ja alles so schnell und sie konnte wirklich nichts dafür.... Sie hat mir da so leid getan!

The shock on Tony's face. The look on Bucky's, feeling responsible, even when he knows he isn't, but unable to offer anything that could possibly mean anything to Tony. And Steve, visibly shaken but standing strong by Bucky's side.
And that wasn't even the first scene in this movie that made me shed one or two tears... And I am usually not really emotionally involved in the MCU.
But I guess I am now.

And then Tony and (later) Steve just explode, too much anger and pain bottled up for way too long. I've never seen Steve this out of control, and for the very first time he scared me, when he raised his shield one last time.
Same here. All three of them scared me, tbh. I just wanted this scene to end and them to just hug it out. :-/

It's impossible to say who won. In some way, I'd argue that Tony won the battle but Steve won the war, in another that they all lost. Or that it isn't resolved yet.
IMO they all lost. And they all lost a great deal.

Although... Maybe Bucky is the only one that won something. At least sort of. He won a bit of peace. He knows that he's safe now in cryo, not really free, but safe from evil forces who may want to turn him into the Winter Soldier again. So - I guess he's the only one who won at least a tiny bit.

Steve and Tony lost their trust in each other. For the most part at least. That'll take a while to heal for both of them. If it'll ever heal completely...

Equally important is that he doesn't hold any grudges. When Tony asks and it's the right thing to do, he'll be there. And of Tony doesn't ask and it's still the right thing to do, he'll do it as well, even if he's hunted for it. He's Steve Rogers after all.
Well, apparently Tony doesn't really hold any grudges with Steve, too. Otherwise he would have stepped in when he got word that Steve was breaking his friends out of prison. But he deliberately put Ross on hold to buy Steve some time. At least that's how I interpret that scene....

2) he felt generally out of place in this movie
Yep, he somehow did feel out of place.
dimturien
May. 25th, 2016 09:39 pm (UTC)

T'Challa on the other hand was flawless and fit in seamlessly. I wasn't overly excited for his movie before, mostly because I didn't know the character very well and as a result felt rather indifferent towards him. Now I can't wait for the Black Panther movie.
T'Challa was just awesome! Seems like he's a great character and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of him.

Talking about Sam and Bucky, can they just get their own movie together?
OMG, yes! Please, can they? <3

Help! I'm crying... Why am I crying? Where do all those feels suddenly come from? o.O

Anyway... Uh, I think I was neither on Steve's nor on Tony's side/team. I mean, I was secretly cheering for Tony, but I would've never joined his team. And I would've never joined Steve's team. I would've just been like, "Fuck this shit, I'll just retire!" (Because that worked so well for Clint... *coughs*)

But really. I don't want to take sides in this. I understand them all. Like really, all of them and I couldn't disagree with any of them.

I understand Steve saying that he doesn't want to sign, and I understand Tony saying that they should sign. I understand Steve's loyalty to Bucky. Were I in his shoes, I'd do exactly the same. I also understand Tony being angry, because Bucky killed is parents. Yes, Bucky was brainwashed to do so and the real Bucky would've never killed them. But Tony can't see that in this particular moment. He just sees the person who killed his parents and wants revenge. That's how people are. And Tony is just a normal human being. One with a lot of issues, PTSD, anxiety-attacks and - honestly - a very low self-esteem. Even if he says otherwise but he's really just hiding behind a mask.

I keep on rambling about Tony. Why is that? o.O

Erm, okay. I know why. I can relate to him a bit more. I like him a bit more than the others, I admit.

But still. I couldn't take sides. I just wanted them to hug it all out. Braid each other's hair and talk about their feelings or something like that... (My babies! I just want them all to get along!)
gwaevalarin
May. 26th, 2016 06:22 am (UTC)
T'Challa was just awesome! Seems like he's a great character and I'm really looking forward to seeing more of him.
I honestly didn't know what to expect from him but I definitely didn't expect being this blown away by how great he is.

Help! I'm crying... Why am I crying? Where do all those feels suddenly come from? o.O
Yeah, sorry, probably should have warned you. ;)

I keep on rambling about Tony. Why is that? o.O
Honestly, I was under the impression from the start that you at the very least lean towards Tony's side. I don't doubt what you say, that you wouldn't want to join either team and understand both sides. But I'm under the impression that you may side with and identify with Team Tony a little more than you want to admit. Am I wrong? ;)
Well, and then maybe it's because I basically don't talk about him at all, which I promised to explain.

I don't think it's a secret that I'm very, very firmly Team Cap.

One of the reasons is simply loyalty (and right now I want to cry just writing this but for comic not MCU reasons, so this doesn't belong here).

Another is that I do agree with his side a lot more than I do with Tony's. Even more after having more time to sort through everything. As a general idea, I see where Tony is coming from. But in the context of the MCU... let's just say Steve's arguments make a hell of a lot more sense to me.

There is a third reason, though: Their opinions on the Sokovia Accords aside, some of the things Tony does in this movie... from the massive hypocracy to recruiting a teenager who is obviously too starstruck and has too little information to form an actual opinion to almost getting Sam and Bucky killed, and starting every single physical fight between the teams... And this time his intentions don't make up for it.
So the reason I hardly talk about Tony, is because it's either that or a lot of negativity. And I don't want to focus on that. I'd rather walk away from it all with Steve and admire him for managing not to hold a grudge.
Sorry, I guess I had to let at least some of that out.
gwaevalarin
May. 26th, 2016 06:15 am (UTC)
Ich würde sogar so weit gehen und sagen, dass sie die Bombe eigentlich hoch genug - ähm, "werfen" wollte, so dass sie nur in der Luft explodiert und im schlimmsten Falle halt nur die Fenster kaputt gegangen wären und die schlimmsten Verletzungen ein paar Schnittwunden gewesen wären. Hat leider nicht geklappt. :(
Irgendwas musste sie ja tun, das ging ja alles so schnell und sie konnte wirklich nichts dafür.... Sie hat mir da so leid getan!

Oh, I definitely agree. Her intentions were so save everyone, and it didn't work out simply because there was not enough time. I don't blame Wanda one bit for what happened.

And that wasn't even the first scene in this movie that made me shed one or two tears... And I am usually not really emotionally involved in the MCU.
But I guess I am now.

I noticed. Welcome to my world. ;)

Same here. All three of them scared me, tbh. I just wanted this scene to end and them to just hug it out. :-/
Bucky didn't scare me, actually. Now that I think about it, it's strange since he had a burst of rage and anger too. I guess it probably has something to do with the fact that he was literally fighting for his survival.

IMO they all lost. And they all lost a great deal.
They did. I still do find some peace, though, in the fact that Steve still has his team, as well as a safe place for them all, and most importantly Bucky, in Wakanda. And he has the certainty that, for the most part, he put his trust in the right people. I'd also say that Steve will have an easier time coming out of it all feeling justified in his actions, but maybe that's my bias speaking.

Although... Maybe Bucky is the only one that won something. At least sort of. He won a bit of peace. He knows that he's safe now in cryo, not really free, but safe from evil forces who may want to turn him into the Winter Soldier again. So - I guess he's the only one who won at least a tiny bit.
He won a lot more than that. He got back his agency. Going back into cryo, as sad and painful as it may be, was the first real choice he was allowed to make for himself in over 70 year. Let that sink in.

Steve and Tony lost their trust in each other. For the most part at least. That'll take a while to heal for both of them. If it'll ever heal completely...
I don't think they ever trusted each other 100% in the first place, but yeah.

Well, apparently Tony doesn't really hold any grudges with Steve, too. Otherwise he would have stepped in when he got word that Steve was breaking his friends out of prison. But he deliberately put Ross on hold to buy Steve some time. At least that's how I interpret that scene....
Not disagreeing with you there. I just didn't put any focus on Tony here for reasons I'll explain later.

Yep, he somehow did feel out of place.
Thank you! I was starting to think I was the only one feeling that way. I do have to say though, I didn't mind him quite as much anymore the second and third time around. Still could have done without him.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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