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Captain America 3: Civil War

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The UN decides that the Avengers are more “vigilantes” than “heroes,” operating outside the law to the detriment of the general public, and the Avengers are given an ultimatum – sign the Sokovia Accord, which will basically make them subject to a governing panel, or retire. Tony Stark heads the group that opts to sign, whilst Steve Rogers leads the group that opposes it. Meanwhile, Bucky is being hunted down after he’s accused of bombing a UN meeting. When he’s found, Steve naturally leaps to his defence, which triggers the “war” between the heroes.

The Good

  • They managed to present the weighty issue of the governance of superpowered people, along with the opposing views – “we need to be put in check” versus “we need to be free to choose” – in a way that was clear and compelling. There was talking, but just enough to get the points across without being tedious. You could see why Tony thinks the way he does, and why Steve thinks the way he does. (The only one that was perhaps not very clear was Natasha’s thought process.)
  • Hawkeye/Clint Barton steals every scene he’s in. I was just so happy to see him when he appeared in the Avengers’ base to get Wanda. He gets fun little lines and at least one sombre, angry face-off scene with Tony when Tony discovers they’ve been put in jail. I wish there was more of him in the story here.
  • Antman/Scott Lang was surprisingly amusing here. I could’ve done with more of him too. I liked his strategic role in the big group fight. They’ve done very well by this character – on paper he sounds really silly, but the way he’s depicted onscreen and the way he fights makes you forget the basic silliness of “a man who can shrink down to the size of ants.”
  • Wanda and Vision’s budding romance was something I’ve heard about ever since Avengers 2. Comic book fans have said that the Vision and Scarlet Witch get together in the comics and it seemed likely to them that it would happen on-screen. Looks like those people were right. There was nothing outright sappy like a dramatic kiss, but you could tell there was an interesting romantic undercurrent in all their interactions. The looks exchanged and the dialogue all just worked. Very nicely done and woven into the story – it’s not just a random subplot, but the growing mutual interest is what gives Wanda’s decision to join Cap’s side even more weight, and is what results in Vision’s accidentally shooting Rhodey down.
  • Natasha staying behind at Peggy’s funeral because she didn’t want Steve to be alone just then was awfully touching. I just wish we had a shot or two more of Steve during/immediately after Peggy’s funeral. What we got were mostly medium and wide shots, which are not the most effective at showing emotion. There was a slightly detached feeling in most of the funeral scenes that diminished the gravity of it and what it would have meant for Steve.
  • Steve’s uniform in this movie appears to be his old one from the ’40s and I do really like that. So much more practical and at the same time it looks appropriate for him.
  • I appreciated that the villain was not some crazy robot or alien bent on worldwide domination and destruction. In fact, it’s refreshing that the villain is just this one almost powerless guy who is driven by revenge to make these heroes turn on each other. A far more insidious threat, and this villain actually did succeed in some measure because he did manage to cause a rift in the Avengers.

The Bad

  • It felt like Steve Rogers only appeared half the time in this movie. The other half was dedicated to Tony Stark, with Spider-man getting a little too much focus. This should’ve been called Avengers 3, not Captain America 3. (Okay, this is probably mostly because I don’t have the same affection for Tony that I do for Steve, nor was I ever enamoured of Spider-man so I got absolutely no kicks out of that character’s appearance in this movie.)
  • I was not fond of the connection between Bucky and Tony. Bucky’s being responsible for the deaths of Tony’s parents felt oddly forced; something about that didn’t sit well with me. I understand why it was necessary for the story – Tony would probably not have felt as desirous of pummelling Bucky into the ground had he not found out about it. I also didn’t understand why Steve first denies knowing about Bucky killing Tony’s parents but then retracts it and says he did know. Huh? How did Steve know? I’m confused. Did Bucky tell him about it? And if he did, I’m not sure that I comprehend why Steve denied knowing about it at first. It didn’t seem like a very “Steve Rogers” thing to do.
  • The ending of the movie was somehow a bit of a downer. Sure, it ends positively in that Steve manages to get Bucky away alive, and he also frees those locked up in the “Raft” (or whatever that submarine-like prison was called), and he even sends an apologetic but conciliatory letter to Tony with assurances that he’ll be there if Tony ever needs him. But it still ended with Steve more or less having to go into hiding and having to leave behind his iconic shield because Tony spitefully claimed it didn’t belong to Steve. The movie didn’t leave me with a smile on my face. Wait a minute…

The Miscellanous

  • … It now occurs to me that all Cap’s movies have ended the same way. In the first one, he saved America by crashing the ship into the ocean but the end was heartbreaking with him waking up in the modern day and realising that he’s alive but has also lost years of his life when he was frozen (and lost Peggy in the bargain). The second movie ended with the world beind saved from Hydra, which had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D., but that meant that Steve had once again lost a place he’d gotten used to, and he resolved to find Bucky who may or may not have regained his memories. So the Captain America movies have never truly ended “happy.” The endings have been positive and “happy” for the general public in the story (i.e. the world is saved from a cruel fate) but not so much for Steve.
  • Sharon Carter still hasn’t grown on me. I don’t get the same vibes from the Steve and Sharon dynamic that I do with Wanda and the Vision. And I felt nothing but irritation when Steve kissed her. I find it weird that he now apparently has feelings for Peggy’s niece (in his defense, he had no idea she was his niece until Peggy’s funeral). However, I might be simply too biased because I can’t see anyone being as important and perfect as Peggy was for Steve. It was hilarious to see Sam and Bucky’s smug faces when Steve turned back to look at them though. hahaha
  • T’Challa from Wakanda was okay. I’m not overly interested in this character either but he fit into the movie easily and didn’t detract from it. I did wish that he’d just tied up the Zemo guy and then gone to break up the fight between Steve and Tony.
  • I want to know how Steve found the prison where Sam, Scott, Clint, and Wanda were being held. That seemed a bit inexplicable. I would have liked to see reaction shots from more than just Sam though.
  • There seemed to be a theme of “distractions and their consequences” in this movie. Steve comforts Wanda when she’s feeling upset over the Lagos incident, saying that he’s to blame, not her, because he got distracted at the mention of Bucky. The Vision is distracted by a “moment” with Wanda and Sam manages to dodge his attack, which then accidentally strikes Rhodey instead, sending him plummeting to the ground and results in his paralysis. Clint distracts Tony for a moment so that Wanda can pull down a barrage of cars onto him. Zemo chooses to distract the Avengers from his true intention of breaking them up by  pretending that his aim is to free the others who are like Bucky and to control them. Hmm.
  • It’s a little sad that Tony and Pepper’s relationship is apparently rocky. I just wish the reasons for this happening were made clearer. But it does give more insight into the reasons behind Tony’s actions – by signing the Sokovia Accord he’s trying to somehow redeem himself in Pepper’s eyes, as well as to make amends for the chaos the Avengers have inadvertently caused?
  • It was also a little sad to hear that Steve feels he’s never really fit in anywhere, but it’s a very understandable feeling. (Marvel has turned Steve Rogers into the one superhero that I feel I can relate to on an emotional level. It’s really surprising.) He was the little guy, then the scientifically enhanced super soldier, then the man out of time, the leader of heroes, and now a fugitive? I want to hug him like Natasha did. He needs hugs.

I spent the entire ending credits (while waiting for the post-credits scene) trying to figure out if I liked the movie or not. Some parts of it I really liked, and most of those had to do with Clint Barton. Some parts I didn’t like so much, and most of that had to do with the fact that I got too little Captain America in a movie called “Captain America.” In conclusion, it’s not a bad movie at all – it is pretty good and I kinda like it, but I prefer the previous movies.

Rating: ★★★½

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