Captain America: Civil War - Avengers: Infinity War Marvel MCU Movie Marathon
As we continue our movie marathon, as always, there will be spoilers.
While distinctly a Captain America film, Captain America: Civil War is arguably the best Avengers film to date. To me, its superior to Avengers: Age of Ultron and maybe even the original Marvel's The Avengers. Although, the first Avengers film will emotionally always be my favorite.
First of all, we see the Avengers as a well oiled machine as we follow Cap (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) on a mission in Lagos, Nigeria to stop Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo), aka Crossbones, from getting his hands on a biological weapon. It was just amazing to see them all in action and, as with the Russo Brothers' fight choreography in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the fighting sequences here are up close and in your face. You really feel like you are fighting along with the Avengers.
After seeing Natasha reduced to a love interest in Avengers: Age of Ultron, here she is in this film in full glory. She's a leader who kicks butt and takes names. Sistahs are doin' it for themselves. And, I, for one, am glad to see her back.
Falcon is putting his new suit to work. His wings are retractable and bullet proof. He's got projectile missiles and even a mobile spy which he calls Redwing (which is the name for the actual falcon he had in the comic books). Like Captain America, Falcon is motivated by heart and by mission, so he would run into battle without any bells and whistles, but you can tell he is reveling in the new technology.
Wanda no longer has her Sokovian accent, thank God. It was just so distracting in Age of Ultron as she went in and out of that cartoony acccent. She is working well as part of the team, often teaming up with Falcon and Cap. For the most part, she only uses her telekinetic powers in this film. Again, I wonder why the Russos chose not to use her mind control powers. Perhaps it would be too easy to stop a villain like Crossbones by getting into his head and they wanted to keep the stakes high.
Unfortunately, its when Wanda tries to contain an explosion to save Captain America's life and those around him, she ends up taking out a piece of a building causing multiple fatalities. This is the last straw and the United Nations puts together the Sokovia Accords, signed by 117 countries that would put the Avengers under their control. Any of the Avengers not signing would be forced to retire.
This, of course, had mixed reviews from The Avengers with two philosophies from their leaders.
Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) is wracked with guilt from the fallout from Sokovia and it being his creation of Ultron that caused its destruction. He feels he has too many tools at his disposal and needs to be regulated.
Captain America, having been screwed over in the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and seeing how any organization with an agenda could potentially fall under evil hands such as Hydra, is very wary of being put under control of the UN. He cannot see something go south and not do anything about it.
While we first learn about Wakanda in Age of Ultron, this is the first time we see the Wakandans. King T'Chaka (John Kani) and his son T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), soon to be the Black Panther we know and love, attend the ratification of the Sokovia Accords. We also later see members of the Dora Milaje, Black Panther's elite guard. There is a continuity error, though. In Black Panther, its T'Challa that decides to open Wakanda to the world. But, in this film, it is T'Chaka who talks about Wakanda coming out of the shadows and that their presence in Lagos was an outreach mission. Personally, I am willing to let some of these continuity errors go because you have multiple directors and writers developing and working on different movies. These errors happen in the comics, so they're going to happen in the movies.
The Avengers are immediately put to a test. Cap's best friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is framed for the bombing of the United Nation causing the death of T'Chaka. The immediate response is to hunt down Bucky at all costs. Cap does not believe his friend could have done this. Under the Sokovia Accords, he would not be allowed to investigate. So, he goes to find him which results in a battle with Hungarian police and Black Panther seeking revenge for his father and a chase along a major thoroughfare.
With Cap and Falcon on the run with Bucky, Secretary of State Ross (William Hurt) - yes, that Ross from The Incredible Hulk - wants to put out a Special Ops team to take them out. But, again, there are so many shades of gray here. Tony just can't see his family and best friend destroyed and asks to have some time to talk to Steve. But, Tony is unwilling to listen to Cap about Bucky being framed. Steve also learned that there are more Winter Soldiers that might be compromised before they are able to get permission from the UN. This leads to the exciting battle at the Berlin airport featuring Team Iron Man - Iron Man, War Hammer, The Vision, Black Widow, Black Panther and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) who Tony recruited and Team Cap - Captain America, Bucky, Falcon, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) who Falcon recruited. To me, this battle felt like something out of the comic books. It was such a delight to see both Spider-Man and Ant-Man in this battle who added a lot of humor. The fight is so much fun to watch.
In the end, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Falcon and Scarlet Witch end up in the maximum security prison The Raft in the middle of the ocean. Captain America and Bucky go to hunt down the man who framed Bucky. Tony finds out that Cap was right and that Bucky was being framed and goes after him.
It turns out that a man named Helmut Zemo, a member of Sokovian Intelligence, who lost his family in the destruction of Sokovia. He masterminded a way to take down the Avengers by destroying them from within. He did not have a nefarious power grab in mind. He wanted vengeance for his family. He shows Tony that Bucky, as the Winter Soldier, was the one who killed his parents and that Cap knew about it. He wanted them to hurt as much as he. Tony goes into a rage trying to find his own vengeance for his parents. T'Challa, though, sees that this vengeance that he and these other men were feeling was destroying them. Tony tells Cap he doesn't deserve the shield his father made for him. Cap walks away from his shield and goes on the run. He leaves Bucky in Wakanda for reprogramming, he is sure to let Tony know that he is there for him whenever he needs him.
I loved how personal this movie was. Helmut Zemo, in the comics, is your run of the mill Hydra leader wearing a ski mask and a crown. But, in the movie, by giving him this motivation to seek revenge for his family made him ultimately more interesting, especially because he was able to use his skills in Sokovian Intelligence to really break the Avengers down. I think he is one of the best villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Another villain that I liked was Crossbones. I thought they did a cool job in translating his comic costume to a practical real world costume. And, his motivations were also very personal. Its too bad he had to die in the first few minutes of the film.
I love the continued development of Steve's and Natasha's friendship. Despite her siding with Tony, Natasha still cares for Steve. I liked when she visits him after Peggy Carter dies and tells him the reason why she's there is that she didn't want him to be alone. She wants Steve to see her side, but she doesn't hold it against him either. And, in the end, she ends up helping Captain America and Bucky escape.
I think I know what it is that bothers me about Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp). Its not VanCamp. I honestly just feel nobody would be as good as Peggy Carter for him. So, I feel like he's cheating. But, I did like her in this film. My question is - who does she work for? Does she still work for S.H.I.E.L.D.? I noticed in the end credits, they were running shadows based on their characters in the credits. Over Sharon, there was the number 13, alluding to her being Agent 13 in S.H.I.E.L.D. And, then, Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), who was described as the Deputy Task Force Director, had the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo. Again, is S.H.I.E.L.D. still a shadow organization or is it out in the open? I am confused.
I loved Sam's and Bucky's rivalry in the film. It's like watching two brothers who are always fighting each other, but, at the end of the day, they are brothers. And that's what they are to Cap.
I also like how they allude to a budding relationship between Scarlet Witch and the Vision (Paul Bettany). The Vision is drawn to her because her powers are derived from the gem on his head which, we know, is the Mind Stone, In the comics, these two characters were actually married, believe it or not. So, it will be interesting to see where this relationship goes.
Captain America: Civil War is definitely one of my favorite Marvel films. I was originally worried about their doing Civil War because I hated the comic book event so much. But, I could really see the logic of both sides. There were no real bad guys here on the Avengers side. It will be interesting to see what happens in Avengers: Infinity War with the team as fractured as it is right now.
Stan Lee Cameo: FedEx guy delivering package to Tony.
By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth...Doctor Strange is next.