Wednesday, 4 May 2016

captain america: civil war

so i wasn't going to write about this one at first because i really liked it and i didn't have a particularly interesting take on it or anything say so i thought i'd let it go. i mean, it's not like people are waiting to hear what i think of it before they go and see it. at the same time i don't want to be one of those bloggers who only reviews the shit they didn't like, even if my dislike does take the form of somewhat strained political analogies. so in the interests of celebrating something great here's what i thought of captain america: civil war.

i'm not going to rehash the plot because ... trailers, but it's safe to say that the disagreement between iron man and captain america is a hundred times more complicated than the forced dispute in that other movie that we all saw. what makes it work and subsequently what makes the whole film work is that both characters are right and wrong at the same time. it's a complicated issue, and if superheroes are going to start punching each other then their reasons need to have a certain level of complexity to be believable.

with batman and superman it was two good guys who want the same thing getting into a fight because ... reasons. go read my review, i explained it better than the film did. here, the government want the avengers to submit to rules because otherwise stuff blows up and people die, and half the avengers don't want to do that because rules suck. there is a bad guy who tries to manipulate the situation, but what i loved (and this may be a spoiler) is that ultimately he's inconsequential. i mean, i know who the character is and i'm sure he'll come back with a cool mask and shit but in this film he's just a guy causing trouble because he was pissed off, he saw a weakness and he exploited it. despite the fact that this is a film about superheroes, the motivations of everyone in the film make sense and feel real.

i often refer to the fact that superhero movies are really for kids and trying to force them into an adult world causes problems. i will always maintain that nolan did it most effectively with his batman movies as i argue rather effectively here -

but what civil war did is remind me that when i was a kid i was always arguing the opposite point of view - i was arguing that these were grown-up stories that just happened to be accessible to kids. like they did with winter soldier, the russo brothers have taken the most over-the-top, ridiculous characters and placed them neatly into a serious political thriller. with a ridiculous over-the-top fight in the middle. the fight at the airport does, to be fair, feel like it's from a completely different film because it's so tonally different to the rest of it. that said, it works so well on its own that it kind of doesn't matter. it's a very well crafted scene in which everyone is given something to do, the action is clear, the dialogue is entertaining but at the same time there are serious consequences. it's not a scene from a serious political thriller, but it's a fucking cool scene so who cares. and spiderman is cool. i fucking hate spiderman, he was always my least favourite character, and yet here i am admitting that spiderman is cool so this movie must be doing something right.

my concerns about the civil war being mostly a boys fight with a token woman on each side were mostly valid and i'm not sure the film even passes the bechdel test. however, what is nice is that as well as black widow and scarlet witch we also get sharon carter and references to her grandmother, all of which make it clear that this is a world in which women do stuff. they are not mothers and girlfriends, and scarlet witch is even presented as being the most powerful of all of them, even if that's not really followed through in the action. black widow isn't given too much to do and looks like she spends way too much time on her hair before work in the mornings, but that said she also has a couple of cool character moments. she remains by far the most interesting and complex character in the marvel cinematic universe and badly needs her own movie.

my only other issue is that two major plot points are to do with the deaths of characters' parents. it's handled way better than it was in batman v superman but seriously, can no one think of any better reasons for superheroes to be fucked up?

that said, there is so much that this film gets right and that's what i want to focus on. to tell this story with so many characters and to make it feel real and human as well as complex and yet easy to follow was kind of an impossible task, but they really have pulled it off. i think that's worth celebrating, and if you haven't seen it you should definitely check it out. there is something very rewarding about watching filmmakers and actors take a thousand ill-fitting jigsaw pieces and assemble them into a satisfying whole, and that's exactly why captain america: civil war is a success.

No comments:

Post a Comment