Captain America: Civil War is the latest offering form the house of the mouse´s super hero division. And as usual when it comes to the Cap movies it is not so much a super hero movie as a movie with super heroes in it. In this case a political thriller mixed with a psychological drama… Is said genres where raised on Rice Krispies. But seeing how it is an ensemble film following in the messy footsteps of Avengers 2 I had my doubts that it would not turn in to a horrid convoluted mess.
It is my great pleasure to inform you all that it in fact was not a horrid convoluted mess.
But I get ahead of myself. The story goes thusly.
In the aftermath of Age of Ultron the world in general and Sokovia in particular are not all that hyped about the Avengers any more. Sure they did save the world.. or at least New York from giant armored space whales, but since they have not had much in the way of wins… Between Iron Man getting his house blown up and thrash a commercial dock, SHEILD trying to take over the world by the way of Hydra (or the other way around depending on point of view). Captain America dropping three very expensive experimental aircrafts on a fairly populated area and no to mention the rogue AI trying to annihilate an entire country… An AI created in part by Tony Stark. And as the movie opens they manage to explode a building when trying to capture a terrorist. To say it has been a couple of rough years is a mild understatement.
So the plan is to turn the Avengers in to a UN/Nato attack dog. This is done by the way of equal amounts of guilt and threats and for ol Steve Rogers this does not really mesh with the idea of them being a global force for good. So there you have the schism. But most people agree it could perhaps be a good idea to at least appear to fall in line. As this debate is going on Steve is informed that his almost dame and favorite British spy Peggy Carter has passed away and while visiting her funeral gets some words of “wisdom” from Peggy’s niece Sharon aka agent 13 aka Steve’s old neighbor. So while Cap and Falcon goes on a buddy road trip the rest of the Avengers gear up to attend the signing of the so called Sokovia Accord.
Here we meet T'Chaka, the current king of Wakanda and his son T´Challa. He seems like a nice guy and as such T'Chaka very quickly get an explosion in the back making T´Challa the effective king. Fortunately for him he does not only get the throne of one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world but he also get a super suit and the alias of Black Panther. This is good as he seek to avenge his father. Go him.
Our buddy cop team of Cap and Falcon get involved in this when it looks like the Winter Solider was the one pulling the “trigger” and Cap want to save his old buddy seeing how pretty much everyone else he knew is dead. We do have to remember that Cap might be closer to 100 years chronologically but he is still a 25-ish year old nerd. This will also be important to remember once we get to Caps romantic sub-plot… if you like to call it that.
So with the issue and the motivation set up for this “civil war” the avengers set out to beat the ever living crap out of each other. As the story unravel we see that much of this fuzz was for a former Hydra agent by the name of Zemo to get access to the Winter Solider so he could find information on a very special mission that the Winter Soldier did back in the days. Turns out that Bucky was not the only Russian super soldier and that he did in fact kill Howard Stark. The plan here seems to be to drive a permanent wedge between Tony and Steve and in turn split the Avengers.
So Cap and Tony kick the snot out of each other and then Cap and Bucky makes off to Wakanda where they put Bucky on ice until they can figure out a way to break his brainwashing.
So… The movie is good in fact I would say it beats A2 by a mile and does so with about the same size of cast. Maybe it is because the story is much more personal and the conflict more anchored in… Well… Reality if that is the word to use. Sure we have to play with a lot of plot convenience and among other things I feel that Cap´s motivations are forced. But at the same time as I said we have to keep in mind that Steve is a young man who has one person left in the world that can relate to him and see him as the person he was before he became Cap. I would go pretty far for a person like that. Same goes for his rather hasty romantic sub-plot with Sharon Carter, forced but not entirely out of character. Sure it is a bit weird but she is the closest he will ever get to the love of his life. Not a healthy basis for a relationship but again he is a young (and in some way emotionally underdeveloped) man on the rebound from a lot of shit. To seek solace in familiarity is not unheard of.
Now I of course have to link back to the comics arch that provided name and over all story to this film… As expected they share very little beyond the name but the movie still do a very good job at hitting key points from the comics. The Stamford incident (one of the most emotional gut punches in modern comics history in my mind) where a villain out of hand blows up a good chunk of a town called Stamford including a school full of children. The super-person superMAX iirc called sector 42 or some such, Spiderman (did not do much in the movie but is kind of important in the comics) and the whole bit with Cap realizing that he is in fact going out of control. These moments all translated in to the film in one way or the other.
So it was a worthy end to the Captain America saga and a way to redeem Avengers age of Ultron for being a messy messy thing. It is with confidence I now turn my eyes towards the future of the Marvel cinematic universe.