What Did You Think of Captain America: Civil War?

captain-america-civil-war-181827I’ve been looking forward to Captain America: Civil War for a while now. The early trailers made me want to know more: Why are Captain America and Iron Man fighting? Why are they dividing up into teams? Who’s on each team? Do they really want to hurt each other?

I saw the movie on Saturday, and I really enjoyed learning about all the answers to those secrets. I won’t spoil them here, but I do want to talk about one particularly clever element in the movie.

In most other superhero movies–particularly those in the Marvel universe–the good guys end up fighting an enigmatic villain and their hoards of minions. The minions are nameless, generic people/aliens/robots who mindlessly serve their leader and go down with the slightest punch.

Not so in Captain America: Civil War.

In this film, the heroes are fighting each other. Unlike the generic minions of years past, I care about these characters. They’ve been around since Iron Man was released 10 years ago or so. I feel like I know them, and I don’t want them to get hurt.

There are about 4 incredible set-piece action sequences in the movie, and each one has gravitas because the heroes are fighting each other.

What makes this different than Batman vs. Superman? Other than the haphazard script, I think the problem there is Superman’s near-invincibility. There are no superheroes in Civil War that have that level of power creep. Even when Iron Man gets hit, you know it hurts.

I’d love to see this type of meaningful action in other superhero movies. That isn’t to say they always have to be hero vs. hero. But if you have a villain, it makes each scene more powerful if you find yourself rooting for the villain just as much as the hero. The perfect example of this–perhaps one that will never be eclipsed–is The Joker in The Dark Knight. Loki does well for himself too.

What do you think, either about this idea or about Captain America: Civil War?


4 Responses to “What Did You Think of Captain America: Civil War?”

  1. Bryan McLemore says:

    Closest I’ve seen to it being well done is daredevil on Netflix. The dynamic with the kingpin there is fantastic.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s great to know! I must admit I didn’t get quite that far in the Daredevil series, but it sounds like I should have been more patient. 🙂

  2. It’s interesting that these two movies are basically about the same thing (the effects that superheroes and their battles have on the rest of the world), but one is so much more effective than the other. In Batman V Superman it is very obvious from early in the movie that Lex Luthor is manipulating the situation. The audience knows the two are going to fight, but we also know the inevitable outcome is that they will eventually team up against the real bad guy. In Captain America things are not as obvious and are handled so effectively that the situation can be seen from both sides throughout. Captain America also keeps the audience guessing until the end. You think things are going one way and then it goes a different direction. Captain America does a great job of making the issues and discussion have both global and personal importance to the characters. It doesn’t ever feel like that in Batman V Superman. Part of the problem is also how they handle the Superman character. The writers are trying too hard to make him conflicted about his powers and how and if he should be helping people. Superman isn’t like that. He can be all powerful and a “boy scout” and still be interesting. Captain America is very similar to Superman in those regards and Marvel continues to find ways to make him interesting. It’s all about how Cap reacts to the present day world based on his differing paradigm. Superman should be handled the same way.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Brian: These are great observations. I think you touched upon a key point with the underlying mystery throughout Captain America, as well as how Superman can be much more than what they’ve done with him so far. I look forward to seeing the next step in his evolution.

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