Captain America: Civil War / by Kenneth Buff

Captain America: Civil War is the 13th Marvel movie, and the third Captain America movie. So, if you haven't had enough superhero yet, don't worry, this movie, like almost all superhero movies these days, advertises many-many sequels to come.

Well, let me start by saying the only reason I gave this movie three stars is because a little over halfway through we get a battle that is actually fun. And the biggest reason it's fun is the inclusion of Spider-Man. I really wasn't looking forward to a kid Spider-Man, but since he's just a supporting character in a few scenes here for comedy it really works. He shows up to crack a few jokes (the best joke in the whole movie being how Captain America's shield doesn't follow physics at all, summed up the whole movie for me). But on top of the actually funny Spider-Man we have a cool new black superhero named Black Panther, and Ant-Man is back, and he's actually likable in this movie, though not as likable as Spider-Man (the Ant-Man movie was one of the worst movies I've seen in theaters). Those three characters actually make this sequence—the only scene where we get what we were promised, superheroes fighting each other in mass—fun. Everyone else is doom-and-gloom for the whole movie, and honestly rather boring. Even poor Tony Stark has lived past his glory days on screen. There's still the occasional bright moment with him on screen, but it feels like even the writers have grown tired of coming up with interesting situations and dialogue for this character.

The characters and the movie itself seem to be just going through the motions for the first hour of the movie. Nothing really happens. There's some set up for the Black Panther towards the end of this hour, but other than that, it's pretty dull. Another major problem with the first half of the movie is the absent of major side characters who were so important in balancing the main characters in previous movies. Those being Gwyneth Paltrow's Pepper Potts and Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. The Pepper Potts character was really important to giving some humanity to Tony Stark, and to giving him a straight-man to play off of. None of the silly fantasy characters on the avengers team have that same spark with Tony, so the attempted playfulness (which there isn't enough of anyways) feels flat in comparison. Nick Fury was the character who set up the Avengers, and has been in all the movies previous, so it feels strange that he's absent for no apparent reason when something that threatens the fabric of the team's existence is going on, and even weirder that nobody bothers to mention his absence. (Also, where the hell are Hulk and Thor at? Their absence also leaves a hole in the movie.)

So, other than those mechanical problems, there are some moral problems as well. So, there's an argument at the core of the movie of oversight vs. no oversight for superheros. Iron Man is for oversight, Captain America is against it. So I live in the real world where we want oversight for government (let's use Flint Michigan for example), police (think of the recent documentation of brutality), et cetera, so when a movie is pretending to add some seriousness to it, and wants us to take the argument serious, I have to side with the guy who makes sense, Iron Man. The movie sides with Captain America. Now, that would be fine (I mean, the argument to have people running around doing whatever they want as vigilantes is silly if the vigilante's are trying to be poster children for America, like what Captain America does. Batman is different because his character's struggle is that he'll do anything to get the results he wants, look at The Dark Knight and how he takes down Joker) if the movie then didn't make Captain America a hypocrite. So Captain America argues they have the best judgement for deciding when they should go intervene (he says this after a montage of video plays on a monitor of the cities they've destroyed in the last 13 movies), and then later rescues his buddy Bucky, a known murderer, from a police raid on his apartment, and in doing so Captain America breaks the ribs of several cops, and throws them over stair rails. Yeah, this guy seems to certainly have "the best judgment" and I'm glad a movie targeted at children sends the message by the end credits that he's the one they should look up to. The guy who attacks police rather than have his friend face a court of law for crimes committed.

So, overall the film is better than Ant-Man, Thor 2, Avengers 2 and Captain America 2, but that's about it. I can't really recommend it unless you're just dying to see Spider-Man on screen for 20 minutes.