I finally got a chance to see Captain America: Civil War over the weekend. I know its been out since May of this year, but life has been busy and movie going funds have been low. My daughters and I have been patiently waiting for this, the next installment in The Avengers saga to come out on DVD.
The movie promised one of the largest cast of superheros ever assembled for one movie. There were familiar favorites and fresh new faces. This was going to be great, or so we thought. We popped our popcorn, poured our sodas, turned up the volume, clicked play and once again we were immersed in the world of good versus evil. Or were we? It might be more accurate to say good versus good, or maybe even evil versus evil. Therein lies the fundamental flaw of Captain America: Civil War. It was hero versus hero for almost the entire movie.
Sure, I knew this going into it. Its got the name “Civil War” right in the the title. The posters even sported the intriguing image of Captain America squaring off against Iron Man. It’s a great marketing angle. The whole idea of two of my favorite superheroes fighting each other brought on immediate curiosity. Looking back on it, that curiosity was akin to the morbid curiosity that comes over all of us when we stumble across a You Tube video that shows a real live automobile crash, or someone getting murdered. I normally skip right over those videos, but I have to admit that its sometimes really difficult. Something in me wants to watch even though I know I’ll regret it.
In the case of Captain America: Civil War, I gave into the curiosity knowing there was going to be a fight that I knew I probably wouldn’t enjoy, but I had to see it anyway. However, my comparison to the morbid YouTube videos stops there. Those videos guarantee darkness and they always deliver. Avengers, on the other hand, have always come with a guarantee of good winning out over the darkness. Sure, we expect the Avengers to have their dark moments too but I went into Cap A Civil War with the expectation that the darkness would only be temporary. I fully expected that the light would overtake the darkness well before the credits rolled and we’d be provided with the heroic ending that we expect from a Marvel Avengers movie. I waited patiently for the scene where the men and women, who had earlier been at each others’ throats, would come together for a final battle to defeat the real villain. That scene never came.
This is not so much a spoiler review as it is a warning review. I’m warning everyone who hasn’t seen this movie that the Avengers did not come together until the very last 30 seconds of the movie. Even that was more of a wink that better things might be coming our way in the next movie. The final climactic scene that I’d been waiting for, the scene that I expected to redeem this otherwise fallen movie, turned out to be the worst scene in the movie in terms of Avenger against Avenger.
I do have a few good things to say about Civil War. The action scenes were incredible to watch, as usual. Spider Man practically steals every scene he’s in. Ant-Man was also alot of fun to watch. I also liked every scene that involved the character called Vision.
However, I cannot recommend Captain America: Civil War mostly for the reason I’ve outlined above. Plus, there was more cussing in this one than in previous Avengers movies. But the biggest problem for me and my two young teenage girls was the sick feeling that all three of us felt as we watched our favorite Avengers pound each other until they were seemingly near death.
I have no problem watching superheroes bicker with each other, and even an occasional fist fight is fine. The fight between Iron Man and Thor in the first Avengers movie was actually a great scene. It worked because it didn’t take long after that scene was over for them both to see the need to work together and begin to respect each other. But, when the fight becomes the whole plot with no true resolution, it ceases to be a good superhero movie. I didn’t see the recent Batman V Superman movie, but I hear it also had a similar darkness to its story.
I know my little blog post is powerless to change the dark direction that both Marvel and DC studios have been taking lately, but I’m hoping and praying that future story lines will look up rather than down. Let our heroes be heroes. They don’t have to be perfect. Show us their faults and insecurities, but for goodness sake, let their good side always win out over the bad.
Why? Because our kids need heroes who are really good. They need to know that its better to be a good person than a bad one. They need to learn that being courageous brings good things for other people and for themselves. On the flip side, they need to see that selfishness and cowardliness hurts people including themselves. They need to learn to respect laws and do what they can to uphold them rather than brake them. I know that its not necessarily the job of movies to teach these things to our young people. We parents have the greater responsibility. I humbly accept that challenge. But, I fear that most parents in today’s world do not. They’re either confused about the difference between good and evil, or they just don’t care. Our superhero movies have a unique opportunity among today’s pop culture to make a difference for the good. We still look to them to show us what it means to be a hero. We’re looking at you Marvel and DC. Your movies can make a difference for good or bad. I’m hoping you’ll return to the good.
4 thoughts on “Captain America: Civil War … Good vs Good = Bad”
For me, as a novelist, the story just didn’t hold together. They’re worried about super heroes causing too much property damage, so they… send super heroes out to arrest other super heroes and cause a whole bunch more property damage. Really?
As a fan, I was quite annoyed with Tony for deciding that, because he was having trouble controlling himself, everyone else had to be shackled, too. No way. Sign on the line if you believe it’s right for you, but don’t make that decision for everyone in the world! Gah…
On the other hand, I really enjoyed Black Panther and the way he handled the final confrontation. “The living are not finished with you.” I have hopes for his solo movie.
Meantime, I’m also looking forward to the Dr. Strange movie coming out next month!
Good observations Deby. I didn’t focus too much on the silly plot because my post was already getting too long. The whole notion that the only way to solve this disagreement is for both sides to try to kill each other was really hard to swallow. Since they are all friends who have the same end goal in mind couldn’t they have tried alot harder to find another way to resolve their differences?
And I too enjoyed Black Panther’s character. I somehow forgot to mention him, but he was definitely one of the bright spots in the movie. I’m not sure what to think about Dr. Strange yet. The story sounds good, but the trailer didn’t impress me. Honestly, with so many new superhero movies coming out these days, its getting harder for a new character like him to stand out in the crowd. But, I’m hoping it turns out to be really good. I’d love to see it be a big hit and for him to be a likeable character that has a good effect on the Avengers universe. They’re saying he will play a role in bringing the Avengers back together in their next big film.
Please don’t hate me for this or take me too seriously but…..
Personally I feel the movie was pretty decent. I’ll admit, property damaged being the drive that started their civil war was not the best story they could have gone with. However the dark and gritty tone has a valid lesson. Both Marvel and D.C. originally wrote their story archs in dark tones. When they were criticized for it (because mainly kids were reading comics at the time) they changed their tone. Now the writers realized that their audience is growing in the teen, young adult, and adult group. Those people tend to want to see the darker themes. However this may be a point, is not my point.
You mentioned that previous movies that there is always a somewhat positive outcome. That is true, and now both D.C. And Marvel are getting farther from that. This is because the characters are growing, and becoming more complex in their thought process. This is why some villains are more powerful than previous villains and are harder to destroy as well as why the Avengers disagree( This also explains the extra violence and cussing but that is besides the point). As a result, it will be harder to succeed in our heroes winning.
You mentioned how children need an example in our heroes that good always prevails. As much as I want to agree, I disagree because that doesn’t always happen in life. That is what is happening in Captain America: Civil War, though there is more to the message.
In life, bad things happen and you do not always succeed, but that doesn’t mean you give up. The Avengers’ story is not over, their is still hope for them. That is why it didn’t show them coming together until the last few minutes. They are healing but it will come together soon, and I think that was the goal. If that is not enough then I will say this…
It was also probably a marketing strategy by Marvel to make the audience want to know how the Avengers will come and work together again in Avengers: Infinity War.
I rest my case 😂
Grace, thank you for your comments. You’ve made some great points and I appreciate your younger perspective. I agree with most of what you’ve said. The movie was a huge success at the box office, so its probably safe to say that most of America would agree more with your point of view than mine. However, the difference in my article and your comments is our point of view. You are coming at it as a young person who has grown up with superhero movies, especially the Avengers. When the first one came out you were 12 years old (I think) and when the new one comes out you’ll be 16 or 17. You have matured physically and mentally. Not only can you handle darker movies but your parents probably allow you to watch darker movies than they allowed you to watch when you were 12. You are exactly the audience that Marvel is going for. Your age group and up to around 21 is the most profitable audience for Marvel and they are playing to your group only. You are correct in saying the audience is growing and Marvel is making movies that will hold onto their young fans. It truly is a marketing strategy as you pointed out. A very effective one too.
I, however, am coming at “C.A. Civil War” from a different perspective. Yes, it is an old fashioned perspective, but its the way I think. My point of view is that of a middle-aged father of four. As you know, I don’t have little kids anymore. My kids are all grown or into their teenage years, But, at some point all of my kids were little and they all wanted to watch the same movies that the teenagers were watching. My concern is for parents that still have young kids. I wish Marvel and DC would own up to the fact that they are not only making movies for teenagers and young adults, but they are also making movies for young kids, as young as 5 and 6 years old. I still remember my son Kendall, being obsessed with Batman and Spider Man at age 5 through 10. All I’m saying here, is I have a perspective that you may not get until you have kids of your own. When I was your age, I believe I thought the same way that you do. The darker movies for more mature audiences are naturally more appealing for a teenager.
I also want to respond to your comment about heroes. I guess I disagree with you on this point. I know that life has more sad or boring endings then happy exciting endings. But, I believe that it’s OK to allow our heroes to transcend real life. We need to see them acting in good ways and winning their battles. I know its not very realistic, but that’s not the point with heroes. Having heroes that succeed in life gives us something to root for and even strive to be. I don’t think anybody really expects to become Captain America or Iron Man, but its good to have role models like them that we can look to and imitate in some ways. On the other hand, if our “heroes” are despicable people who don’t seem to know the difference between good and evil, then that is what we will strive to become too. Not that I’m saying our comic book heroes should be perfect citizens who never have a problem. I think it’s great to allow them to have problems and sometimes make the wrong decision. I just want to see them work through their problems and come out on the side of good and be the winner in the end. That was my problem with “Civil War”. I’m OK with our heroes getting in a fight, but lets see them realize they are in the wrong and come together in the end. I know, its probably going to all work out in Infinity Wars (hopefully), but I just thought Civil Wars should have showed us more of the resolution.
On a more spiritual note, there is and always will be real evil at work in the world. And to have a movie that is all about the good guys fighting the good guys is the wrong message to send. Remember, our little kids are watching too. I wish we could return to the message of good triumphs over evil.