The Marvel formula is back for another round and this time the focus is on a hero’s responsibility when it comes to collateral damage, especially when it comes to the innocent lives lost as they fight for the greater good. After all, what breeds villains more than the desire for revenge?
Characters Worth Noting
Captain America (Chris Evans) | Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) | Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) | War Machine (Don Cheadle) | Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) | Spider-Man (Tom Holland) | Zemo (Daniel Bruhl)
Main Storyline (with Commentary)
In the film a woman says, “They say there is a correlation between generosity and guilt” and that sets the tone for the film. For what this film boils down to is revenge and justice. Two things usually on opposite sides and one side often representing the hero who seeks justice, or a hero in the making seeking revenge. On the other side is usually a villain seeking revenge or their idea of justice. But with this film the heroes of the past are now villains.
Reason being: Collateral damage. The cost of saving the world against aliens and other beings is that humans died. Said humans were people’s mothers, fathers, children, wives and husbands, and that one woman, after Tony gives a huge financial grant to MIT students, confronts Tony Stark about the son she lost due to him. Making it so when the United Nations decide that the Avengers needs to be monitored and called upon when only necessary, he is for this for his guilt weighs heavy. However, on the other side of the aisle is Captain America, Steve Rogers, who out of fear of red tape and not being able to act when he believes he should, he is against oversight.
Thus leading to the first spark of civil war. One which eventually evolves into something much more. To be specific, what you’d think would be a war over this oversight really becomes about Bucky, the Winter Soldier. Someone who finds himself accused of setting off a bomb which kills T’Challa, the Black Panter’s, father, and something else quite unforgiveable. But despite all the people Bucky has screwed over, killed, or more, all because he is at the beck and call of Hydra, or any organization, or person in Zemo’s case, which learns his password, Steve stands by him.
Ultimately leaving us with a film which is all about how Steve’s loyalty knows no bounds. For whether or not he has to bring in old friends, find new ones, or even beat on a kid like Peter Parker, Buck is always first priority and he’ll stand by him no matter what. Even at the cost of dozens, if not hundreds, of lives, who knows how many injured, and all the friendships he has made since he thawed out.
Questions Left Unanswered
Why does everyone take off their mask so often?
The Fights: While there unfortunately aren’t any winners in any of the fights, assumingly to not diminish any character but make them all seem strong, oh they were something to see. For whether it was Spider-Man taking on Captain America, Black Panther fighting the Winter Soldier, or Iron Mans battles with Captain America or the Winter Soldier (see the pattern here) they all were a sight to see. Especially in terms of Spider-Man since while everyone else were having serious, back down or I may end up killing you, type of fights, Spider-Man is joking around and seriously lightening up the mood.
The Concept of Hero Responsibility: There isn’t a superhero movie out there which doesn’t have destruction on a massive level. Buildings toppling down, explosions, nameless people being “knocked out,” and lack of dead bodies dismembered and bleeding are common. However, no one answers for it. All we see is the great villain destroyed, captured, or simply defeated, and the hero stands tall and the audience applauds. But what about the nameless? What about the hundreds of people who were just on the street and couldn’t get away? What about those who don’t get no reparations or justice when the dust settles and they have funerals to plan? Well, this film puts that into play. Which isn’t to say past superhero films haven’t addressed the issue, but I feel it is done in a fairly serious matter with this one. To the point where if it wasn’t for the dozens of characters to focus on, and this went the X-Men route and brought non-heroes into this, the movie could be a bit emotional. Hell, even though Zemo is the movie’s villain, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to fully damn him because you can, to a point, see his point of view.
Introducing – Peter Parker: While a lot of my excitement about this film was primarily seeing the Black Panther on the big screen, Peter Parker stole his, and damn near everyone’s thunder. I mean, forget a trailer, if you are not sold when it comes to Tom Holland playing Spider-Man in this film, I don’t know what to tell you. He has the demeanor of a teen, is more engaging than even Tobey Maguire, and honestly his scenes with Tony Parker are gold. To the point that Tony being in Spider-Man’s first movie under the MCU has me wanting to buy my ticket now.
Collateral Damage – War Machine: One of the big appeals heading into the movie was I thought someone was going to die. In the comics it is Captain America, but being that this is his movie that seemed like an odd decision. Much less, I’m sure they still have Chris Evans under contract for probably half a dozen movies. So while it isn’t much, I did find War Machine, Lt. James Rhodes, getting injured to be a consolation prize. If just because, for a moment, what seemed to be his death made things seem just a bit more real.
Felt a Bit Long: Claim I have ADD, am just not a comic book geek, or just too used to the Marvel Formula to fully lose myself, but I must admit about an hour or so on I was checking my phone. Not just because AMC does not have the most comfortable chairs for their regular theaters, but because with so many heroes packed into one movie, there is just this feeling that one person or another really doesn’t deserve as much time as they get. One prime example, to me, was Scarlet Witch’s (Elizabeth Olsen) amount of screen time. Especially when it comes to Vision (Paul Bettany) seemingly falling for her. On top of that, there is this build toward the idea of additional Winter Soldiers, and considering what happens with that storyline, which you are originally led to believe maybe so big it may spill into another movie, it leads to a serious facepalm moment. Though, in general, the main issue is that as the MCU expands and tries to bring everyone’s favorite to every other movie, so comes the problem of justifying someone’s role and doing what is necessary, storyline wise, to make them relevant. Like Scarlet Witch accidently killing a bunch of people and essentially jump starting talks about Avenger oversight.
They say there is a correlation between generosity and guilt.
— Captain America: Civil War