ICYMI: MCU Rewatch Issue #13: Captain America: Civil War

It’s hard to have a Civil War with only a dozen characters, but we still talk about the airport fight. The Geeks look back at the break up of the Avengers.

Buried in this quasi-Avengers sequel is the conclusion of the Captain America trilogy of films.

tomkCaptain America: Civil War

Tony shouldn’t take guff from that woman. I saw her trying to kill Luke Cage on Netflix.

Zemo is really looking forward to Spider-Man: Homecoming.

I see Black Widow is still using that scissor legs maneuver, or as I call it, “the Watson”.

I love me some Giant Paul Rudd.

watson: That scene where Tchalla confronts Zemo on the cliff really highlights why Black Panther was destined to be a great movie. Boseman is regal.
That’s the only moment Zemo made sense.
I’ve seen this a couple of times since the original viewing, and I think I enjoyed it more this time than ever before. Chris Evans really IS Captain America!

tomk: Funny thing. I really liked this movie but for some reason hadn’t rewatched it until now. I’ve seen Doctor Strange more than this!
But you’re right about T’challa.
Though it strikes me that Zemo’s plan is essentially the same as Lex Luthor’s in Batsoup: get the billionaire with a lot of toys to fight the moral paragon through some sort of lucky manipulation.

watson: The plan was crap. That’s what brought this movie down in my mind.

tomk: Well, I thought the original Civil War series was kind of a crap plan that was based on everyone having the most extreme reactions possible.

watson: Daniel Bruhl is a strong actor. He was really more of a framing device than a villain.

tomk: So, typical MCU villain in many ways: a strong actor in a crap role.

watson: What stinks about this movie is I feel like we missed out on a third Cap solo movie.

tomk: Yeah, this was almost Iron Man 4.

watson: This is an Avengers movie with a little Cap backstory.

tomk: Though I said when it came out and still believe this is Downey’s best performance since the first Iron Man. He’s been left behind as just a quip machine in the various other Iron Man and Avengers movies.

watson: Yeah. He got a little more to work with but I still think he has entered an Al Pacino phase of overacting in his career.

I want to see more Sharon Carter. Her chemistry with Evans is off the hook.

tomk: It’s not as good as his chemistry with Sam Wilson.
Or possibly Black Widow.

watson: Evans has chemistry with everyone. It’s what makes him a special performer.

tomk: Maybe ask Downey to do something and not just write a script where he can slide by.

watson: Why couldn’t he have a Kevin Costner circa 1992 type career?

tomk: Because then he’d give Superman crappy advice?

watson: So…how much of your enjoyment of this film was derived SOLELY because of the airport fight?

tomk: Maybe 75%?
Like Winter Soldier, it still had some high quality and creative action sequences throughout the film, there’s the intro of Black Panther and that guy Jimmy likes a lot, it might be the best treatment of Hawkeye to date, and it gave Vision and Wanda some scenes together, even if that would work better for an Avengers movie.

watson: The scene where they were cooking was cute. Again, like The Coors Light Scene™ in Age of Ultron, you can tell these guys (even the new members) really have become friends. Maybe even family. That’s what makes the airport scene more impactful. I believe it hurts them to fight each other.

tomk: Considering how Wanda more or less surrenders to Vision, I agree there.
Though this time around, I wondered if the cooking scene was thrown in like the pool scene in Age of Ultron, to set up something for a future film.

watson: Or, more likely, to pay homage to their long time romance and marriage in the comics?

tomk: That too.
It can be two things. Toss that in, set up something for the future, but do it in a manner where it isn’t Thor in a pool.

watson: It could be three things. Maybe they just wanted to appeal to the synthezoid/Olsen Triplet fetish.

tomk: So….Ryan?

watson: Of the three completed trilogies, Captain America is by far the best in quality. Each of them has one superior 10 of 10 entry for me (Iron Man 1, Winter Soldier, and Raganrok), but the other two franchises have one real stinker (both their second installment) and the other film in each series is decent to passable.

All three Cap movies are really good. No duds in a series that I originally thought would be the blandest because Cap can be a bit of a Boy Scout.

tomk: I would agree with that. If this one is the weakest, it’s only because it almost isn’t a Captain America movie. Thor’s movies were, until Ragnarok, rather average to competent. Iron Man, for all that we love Downey’s portrayal of the character, sure has had some so-so movies when he’s on his own. You may be right about Evans being so versatile and compatible with every actor he seems to work with, Watson.

jonathan: Agree 100% on Evans. As much as Downey is the #brand of the MCU, Evans is the one character i will miss the most when he’s done (next summer?).
He took a Nilla Wafer character and made him the beacon that he was always supposed to be. He isn’t boring. He isn’t too goody-goody. He truly cares for his friends and his teammates. He’s someone truly worthy of looking up to.

tomk: He comes across as the adult in the room.

jonathan: Exactly
Weirdly, he’s kind of an underdog.
Of the Core 4, he’s the least capable
But they all still defer to him.
As far as this movie goes, this one feels the most like a comic book to me. There is a long history of heroes fighting heroes in the comics, but, outside 1 scene in Avengers, we hadn’t really seen it before.
It’s also the most realistic stakes. It’s not the end of the world. It’s a fractured team fighting each other over beliefs.
And the Russos work so well with this cast that even Panther and Spidey feel like they’re part of the family squabble. Like natural parts of the team.
One of my favorite small scenes is when Clint and Nat are fighting and she yells at him for pulling his punches. Things like that make it feel real.
Or when Sam immediately turns back to go check on Rhodey after he crashes, only for Tony to knock him down, clearly not trying to hurt him.

tomk: But clearly still pissed at Sam.

watson: Even though Vision knocked him out of the air.

jimmy: Covering a bit a ground as I play catch-up…

There are certainly aspects that put the spotlight on Cap here, but it is clearly Avengers 2.5 and it could be argued is a disservice to Cap. It even ends with “Spider-Man will return”.

It’s a great movie, and one of my favorites in the MCU, but it never quite reaches that upper echelon of say Winter Soldier, Iron Man or the first Avengers. It’s a bit slow at times and slightly too long. And there are definitely times when you have to force yourself not to think about the plot or you’d start down a rabbit hole of disliking.

Zemo was a weak villain, which is too bad since he’s always been a great Cap villain in the comics.

There’s no doubt the airport scene cures a lot of what ailed this movie…even if it does seem like there should be WAY more characters involved, especially compared to the comic version.

One of my biggest issues with the movie, which is much more prevalent in the first half, is that all the action sequences seem artificially speeded up. And the running in the tunnel looks absolutely ridiculous.

tomk: I’d run faster too if I was stuck in a tunnel surrounded by speeding cars.

jimmy: But not just the speed, it looked fake, like someone trying to animate what a person runs like and had never seen a person run before. I’m not even sure their feet were touching the ground. Almost Wyle E Coyote-esque.

tomk: Jimmy’s right. The movie needed more heroes and looked too cartoony.

 

I mean, we don’t want the MCU getting too cartoony.

 

jimmy: I didn’t think it needed more characters, it just seemed funny that this “war” was like 10 of them or whatever. And with the juxtaposition against the giant empty airport, just made them look like an even smaller group.

And comic book movie or not, it shouldn’t look/feel cartoony unless that was something they were going for like in a Deadpool kinda film.

Oh, and it was pretty fitting that one of Spidey’s biggest fights was against Falcon.

tomk: They only have like 12 heroes on Earth right now, Jimmy. Who else were they going to pull from? 😉

jimmy: Yes. I know. That doesn’t make my point any less relevant.

tomk: That is true.

watson: That’s a good question. Are we assuming there are no other heroes on Earth at that point but those in the airport battle? Kind of like Ryan’s “where’s Batman during the Zod fight”? Could there be other heroes operating (openly) in the MCU or do they need to be introduced later like Dr Strange?
Like…could the FF already be public and just haven’t been mentioned? (I guess there are the Netflix heroes too…)

jonathan: I feel like it would be really hard not to recruit them, let alone not mention them at all
Also, Fury DEFINITELY would have had them in his files for potential Avengers

jimmy: Although the Netflix series like to drop MCU Easter Eggs, they really seem like they are completely disconnected from the movies. You think they are missing here? They’re not in Infinity War either (that I know of).

Strange is a good question. Maybe the link Jonathan posted ages ago might explain if he was active or not yet. I can’t remember, but there may be some overlap with Civil War? (Save it for next week…)

Given what we know, Captain Marvel exists during this time…but who knows where she’s been since her upcoming movie.

And this is ALWAYS an issue with connected universes. In movies, comics, TV. Like why doesn’t Batman just call Superman to take care of a Joker problem in like 2 minutes, etc.

tomk: Superman is generally busy rescuing cats from trees.
Jessica Jones did name drop the Raft in season two, but it’s not like it went there.

watson: More specifically then, when Tony Stark says in his press conference at the end of the first film “I am not a superhero” before confessing to being Iron Man, is he ONLY referring to Captain America as the basis of that term? Had Cap been the only other superhero before Tony started things up again?
Or maybe Captain Marvel already operated?

tomk: Do they have fictional superheroes in their world? Does Tony think Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is any good?

jimmy: Captain Marvel supposedly takes place in the 90’s with Nick Fury involved. It remains to be seen how high profile her appearance is to the rest of the world.

A good question though. You’d have to think there are movies and comic books about fictional super heroes in the MCU.
I was thinking while watching Civil War that it is probably the only movie that is overly concerned about specific dates. 1991, etc. And how the Marvel Sliding Timeline will have to come into play eventually for the movies when they inevitably recast, as Iron Man, Cap, etc never get any older.
With Captain America, at least in the comics, he still fought in WWII, they just have him in the ice for longer and longer amounts of time before finding him.

watson: We do know that Hank Pym was the Ant-Man but that was so secretive that even his Yellowjacket protege doubted his existence.

jimmy: Good point.

watson: I’m guessing CM will be in the same bucket.

jimmy: That would be my guess.

tomk: With I am guessing a time jump to get her into the present to deal with Adult Fangirl Jenny instead of Teenage Fangirl Jenny.

jimmy: If this was called Avengers: Civil War or something similar, would it have mattered? I know it has many aspects that flow through from the other Cap films, and some moments specific to him…but it has almost as many for Tony. We get the intro of Spider-Man (another Tony moment), pretty much the entire Wanda/Vision storyline, etc.

tomk: But isn’t it ultimately a conclusion to the Winter Soldier storyline?

jimmy: Yes. I understand why it is the way it is, it just seems like it gets overshadowed sometimes.

tomk: Maybe. I don’t disagree with you, but I do think the characters handled the ideas of Civil War in a more mature and nuanced manner than the source material did, and definitely moreso than the Civil War II did (stop twitching, Jimmy). The key moment may be when we get to the end and we get this exchange:
STEVE: He’s my friend.
TONY: So was I.
Steve’s letter at the end suggests he won’t turn his back on any friend, even Tony. But he won’t let one friend kill another either.
Quite frankly, if there’s a reluctance for Tony and Steve to work together in Infinity War, it will come from Tony, not Steve.
Steve was always ready to bury the hatchet so long as he wasn’t forced into something against his will. He didn’t really want to fight Tony. That’s the opposite of the comic book, where Tony tries very hard to be the reasonable one, and one of the many reasons that story isn’t that good.

Like here, where Tony offers a hand in friendship and Steve responds by sabotaging his armor rather than talk things out like a mature adult.

watson: Is anyone surprised that Cap and Tony took the stances they took here? Cap is military and should likely be more authoritarian. Tony is a rock the establishment hippie type. Seems they would be on opposite sides of where they landed.
Now…the reason it worked is because they legitimately established the motivation in prior films so there was a smart build up.
Avengers and Iron Man 3 started Tony’s fear of the power they had. His PTSD really led to this.
For Cap, it was Winter Soldier. He saw close up the failure of big, man made systems. Hail Hydra!

tomk: Cap also would be big on not letting anyone prevent him from doing the right thing. Arguably a Bill of Rights or Civil Rights argument if someone did it right. Look how here they discuss Wanda’s rights as a potentially undocumented immigrant.

watson: Cap is fairly enlightened in 21st Century values for a guy who was born in the 20s.
You mentioned earlier the sliding Marvel timeline and how Cap is fairly insulated from that because his ice nap just grows longer.
It’s funny that when he was first created, he’d only been frozen 20 years. Now it is closer to 80.
I actually think that makes him MORE interesting.

jimmy: More man out of time for sure.

tomk: You’d think he used more anachronisms beyond a crack about his barbershop quartet in Winter Soldier.

Maybe the idea is there’s an essential timelessness about Cap. He’s the moral center of any version of the Marvel Universe unless he’s a Hydra mole, and basic human decency never changes.

jimmy: Hydra mole? Now that’s ridiculous.

jonathan: That is COMPLETELY FUCKING RIDICULOUS

tomk: Jonathan’s assertion shows how passionately ridiculous such an idea could be.

jimmy: Secret Empires aside…

Like Iron Man 3, this third Captain America film spends a lot of time dealing with the fallout from the most recent Avengers movie. Unlike IM3, it also follows through on threads and the Winter Soldier storyline that has run through all three films.

tomk: Arguably, Tony’s initial arc ended with the first Avengers movie as he finally acted out for reasons beyond threats to his company.

jimmy: That’s fair. And outside of Winter Soldier it isn’t really until the “I could do this all day” line that the Cap movies really come full circle. I guess we also have the death of Peggy Carter that harkens back to the first film and she was only briefly in the second.

tomk: Cap’s movies show more internal cohesion. Tony’s aren’t terrible either, but Steve’s are better. Thor is all over the map.

jimmy: No. Tony’s ARE terrible.  :-p

tomk: Well, in terms of cohesion when compared to Thor’s.

jimmy: I knew what you meant. 🙂

tomk: Sweet.

jimmy: Well, we’ve reached the point in the conversation where the boys have run out of things to say, and Jenny doesn’t want to play. Shall we do some scores?

tomk9 out of 10 GIANT CAPTIONS.

jonathan9 “Does anyone have any orange slices?” out of 10

jimmy: Nice.

I’m torn between 9 and 8.5. And since the precedence was already set by Tom on Ant-Man, I’ll go with 8.75 “Welcome to the MCU Spider-Man!” out of 10.

jenny9 “everyone has a gimmick these days” out of 10

jimmy: While we wait for Watson, we never really talked about the debuts of Black Panther and Spider-Man. BP was a new entry and they seemed to handle him well. How about Spidey? Outside of the fact that Aunt May is now a hot Marisa Tomei for some reason, I thought they handled him really well. And thankfully, they never got into his origin at all.

tomk: Who wouldn’t like this Spider-Man? Only a buncha lousy commies, that’s who.

watson: I give Captain America: Civil War 8.5 Mission Report: December 16, 1991s out of 10.
Jimmy – I talked about Black Panther. Said Boseman’s charm and regal nature illustrated why BP would break records.
I also thought of giving it a nine but settled on an 8.5 because 8.75 is not a thing.

jimmy: Heh. Well, let’s see what Calcutron-2024 thinks…

Captain America: The Winter Soldier 10.0
Iron Man 9.4
Guardians Of The Galaxy 9.4
The Avengers 9.3
Captain America: Civil War 8.9
Captain America: The First Avenger 8.7
Thor 8.0
Ant-Man 7.8
Avengers: Age of Ultron 7.6
The Incredible Hulk 6.7
Iron Man 2 6.6
Iron Man 3 6.6
Thor: The Dark World 6.6

MCU overall 8.1
Phase 1 8.1
Phase 2 8.0
Phase 3 8.7

Interesting that half of the top six films are the Cap “solo” movies.

tomk: So, will we hear more from Jenny next week?

jimmy: Why? Are we watching something that might interest her?

tomk: You’re right. Let’s just skip the next one. It and it’s star are entirely forgettable. Professor Weird starting Benedrine Cucumberpatch.

watson: I’m cracking this code to determine that Dr Strange is our next film.

Sincerely,

William “Fibonacci” Watson

jenny: Did someone say Benedict Cumberbatch!?

tomk: No, I said Brindlesauce Campersatch.

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