"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Captain America: Civil War

tn_cap3You guys know how these super heroes are. Good guys turning bad, bad guys turning good, Hawkeye getting mind-controlled by a magic crystal, alternate dimensions, recastings, reboots, team-ups, betrayals, fake deaths. It’s no surprise they can’t all get along. I mean, it was hard for Nick Fury to convince them to be The Avengers in the first place – in fact a guy had to die and then he had to cover up that he actually didn’t die (see tv show) to inspire them to even stay together in the first place. So it’s a miracle they went this long without a breakup. The Pharcyde only got through two albums. N.W.A only did one before Cube left.

In what is technically CAPTAIN AMERICA 3, but almost seems like THE AVENGERS 3, the government tries to get the Avengers to agree to being controlled by the U.N. That actually seems better than the original formation under S.H.I.E.L.D., a privacy-invading ultra-spy agency that turned out to be controlled by evil space-Nazis or whatever. But after three years of the Avengers as an indie locally-owned Mom & Pop super-team, Captain Steve R. America (Chris Evans,  STREET KINGS, SNOWPIERCER) – who, to his credit, was never comfortable with S.H.I.E.L.D. – is not about to sell out. He doesn’t want to risk being sent somewhere he doesn’t belong, or not being allowed to go somewhere that he does.

But Tony “the Iron Man” Stark (Robert Downey Jr., NATURAL BORN KILLERS, 1985-1986 season SNL cast member) and some of the others think it’s a good idea. At the actual signing ceremony there’s a bombing that kills the King of Wakanda (John Kani, THE WILD GEESE), and security photos pin it on Steve’s war buddy Bucky T. Wintersoldier (Sebastian Stan, THE COVENANT, RICKI AND THE FLASH), who fell off a bridge in part 1 but in part 2 turned out to be alive and had been frozen and had a robot arm and was brainwashed and was a super assassin and evil but maybe he’s still Bucky inside but now he’s on the run (long story). The police and the Avengers are after him to kill him but Steve believes he can be rehabilitated and wants to bring him in alive. So it turns into a ghost protocol with Steve and an all star team of sympathizers going underground, and the two sides get into some scraps.

Sometimes it’s sad that Mommy and Daddy are fighting, but directors Anthony and Joe Russo (YOU, ME AND DUPREE) mostly try to keep it upbeat. I thought a few of the “we’re punching each other but we’re still friends though” quips were forced and overly cute, but for the most part it works, and it’s the rare instance where a comic relief character on each team steals the movie. For Steve’s team it’s Ant-Man (Paul Rudd, GEN-X COPS 2: METAL MAYHEM), whose tricks are totally new to everybody except Falcon (Anthony Mackie, SUCKER FREE CITY, NOTORIOUS) (who he humiliated in his solo movie) and who’s star struck enough to always awkwardly call Cap by the full name “Captain America.” On Tony’s team it’s Spider-man (Tom Holland, but not the director of CHILD’S PLAY I don’t think), a teenage super-powered inventor/vigilante who Tony tracked down from Youtube videos and funded, much like Prince recruiting 3rdEyeGirl off of MySpace. Seeing this actual kid with a squeaky Michael J. Fox voice and no restraint about what to say during a super-fight I immediately thought okay, sure, I’ll see another new Spider-man movie. You’ve convinced me.

mp_cap3But the newest character is King T’Challa, aka The Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, who I will never forget didn’t get an Oscar nomination for his incredible performance in GET ON UP. He’s doing a type of African accent, but you can still hear a little of his James Brown in there. And there is one part where he refers to “the Black Panther” mantle in the third person. I wish he’d do it as often as James Brown did. “Don’t bother, Ms. Romanov. Black Panther will kill him Black Panther’s self.”

It’s an exciting character to have on film for many reasons. As far as racial diversity, it’s cool that Marvel already has Falcon and War Machine, and I’m sure Nick Fury will come back some day, and Black Panther will be the first one to star in his own movie since Blade created the standard for which all subsequent comic book movies strive and fail to ever achieve. But I think it might be more important that Black Panther is African. It’s a fictional country he leads, but that whole continent is a part of the world that our culture doesn’t know much about or think about enough. Just the fact that he dresses cool, but he’s from Africa, that’s pretty new for us. In American entertainment Africans are rarely portrayed as up-to-date in the modern world. These Wakandans, it seems like, are ahead of us.

And it’s also just cool that he’s a leader of a country and a super hero. That’s gonna give him different problems and responsibilities than these other dudes. I gotta finish fighting the monster so I can get home and sign that legislation.

His suit or something enhances his speed and strength so he can go toe-to-toe with the Winter Soldier in a scene that’s pretty much the RONIN tunnel chase but with some of the participants on foot. And by the way, I only saw THE WINTER SOLDIER once, but this makes me think maybe they didn’t tell us enough about that character. Did we know he was this powerful? They’re jumping across moving cars, crashing and rolling like podracers, and then they get up and keep going. At one point the Winter Soldier is running behind a car, jumps onto the back, runs across the top, jumps off the hood and keeps running in front of it! Go pedestrians! At another point he yanks a moving motorcycle out from under a guy, spins it around and lands on it.

Unfortunately, most of the action is done with a jittery/shaky camera style that I don’t like. I think it’s done to add some kind of you-are-there-and-you-can-tell-because-your-head-is-wobbling-around intensity, or at least make you subconsciously think of this as a gritty modern spy movie like the BOURNEs. I really think the scenes would work better without that, though, because it makes it hard for you to get a good look at the poses or facial expressions of the characters. Think about it: that’s the very opposite of comic books, where you can sit and stare at those things for as long as you want.

But I do think the action works, and from my memory seemed like an improvement over WINTER SOLDIER, because the framing does seem designed to show you the moves and hits. It was rarely confusing to me.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that I noticed the second unit directors were JOHN WICK directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch along with their JOHN WICK second unit guy Darrin Prescott and Spiro Razatos of the MANIAC COP and FAST FURIOUS series. Thanks to Dinomite for mentioning it in the comments and reminding me it was worth point out.

In some of the promotions for CIVIL WAR they’ve tried to make it a thing where you declare which side you’re on, Captain America or Iron Man. I don’t think it really works because there’s not a strong enough connection to the real world to make a moral decision. In reality, having the U.N. oversee a powerful army is a better compromise than having them declare themselves world police, but in the Marvel Universe the world has been infiltrated by COBRA or whatever, and there are superpeople, and we can’t imagine Steve Rogers being corrupted or doing something for the wrong reasons. Of course you side with him, dummy.

(I wonder if a hundred years after Tony Stark’s side lost, people will still insist on putting his symbol on their pickup trucks and state flags?)

Besides, the real fanatics I’ve seen online are less interested in a strategic question like that than the gang war between Marvel Comics and DC Comics, and specifically Marvel Studios movies vs. Batman and Superman movies. Even for those of us not invested in this senseless butter battle it’s hard to miss the parallels between CIVIL WAR and last month’s BATMAN VILIFIES SUPERMAN ON THE DAWN OF JUSTICE. Both begin with government and society angry at the super heroes and blaming them for never-mentioned-before collateral damage during the climax of their last movie. Then an unpowered dude with a secret plan fakes a terrorist bombing and maneuvers and manipulates them to fight each other, and there’s a big show-stopping good guy vs. good guy battle. It’s even SPOILER kind of the same ending: bad guy is captured and locked up but indicates that actually he won. I actually thought it was like BvS, that his real goal was to weaken the super heroes to set the stage for an attack from beyond, but nobody seems to see it that way. Anyway, and from what I understand the character who will be attacking in the next The Avengers is, in the comics, a rip-off of the character that will be attacking the Bat Squad.

And remember, at one point both of these were scheduled to be released on the same day!

If I had to choose a preference it would be for the more operatic and painterly approach that Zack Snyder tries for. The Marvel movies have been more consistently entertaining, but I don’t feel like rewatching and studying and interpreting them like I do these Batman and Superman ones. I don’t feel them as deep. There’s nothing in any of them that moves me the way that just the music does in MAN OF STEEL*.

Even so, it’s pretty much undeniable that CIVIL WAR is more effective than BAT V SUPE on virtually every level. It’s just a better story that makes more sense. The big moments flow together better, the characters don’t do stupid things just to move the story to where it’s supposed to be, and the action is way better in the sense that there are all these different characters who we like and they have different abilities and relationships that play out in the battles in fun ways. And the villain, while not necessarily a great character (or exciting use of the great actor Daniel Bruhl from RUSH and INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS) is not horribly obnoxious like Eisenberg’s Max Luthor.

I think the one and only shared aspect that was done better in BvS would be the flashback of Bruce Wayne witnessing the destruction in Metropolis, a far more powerful illustration of the idea than the way it’s done in CIVIL WAR. But that’s the very beginning of the movie, you kinda forget about it by the end.

And of course it would stand on its own, it’s not just a “this is not as bad as the other one.” It’s a very enjoyable movie. There are a couple lines in it that made me laugh harder than anything in KEANU. It may be the most complicated Marvel movie so far, but in the sense of a spy movie that you try to keep up with, and an ongoing saga where you like keeping track of the different characters and where they end up. I don’t think it’s deep or transcendent. But that’s okay because it’s a very strong example of the kind of fun that can be had with this format of the big budget serialized super hero movie.

So in the battle of CIVIL WAR v DAWN OF JUSTICE there is a clear, decisive winner. Congratulations to all the Marvel boosters and Civil War re-enacters on picking the right team this summer. Championship jerseys are now on sale.

I don’t want to be a party pooper, but some time after the parade I think there’s something we should discuss. Has it occurred to you that whoever wins, nerds lose? In my opinion it is for sure a true fact that this whole Marvel vs. DC civil war was orchestrated to divide and conquer, weakening the super hero movies so they won’t be able to defend themselves from the return of the adult relationship drama. I predict that within three years the geek community will have to drive hundreds of miles and across state lines just to find a shitty Green Lantern movie starring a guy from Big Bang Theory opening on a small, stained screen in a second run theater. The mainstream won’t give half a shit about super heroes anymore and the biggest movie of the summer will be the reboot of KRAMER V KRAMER. The bell has rung. So let’s monger some peace and enjoy these movies while they last, dudes in Under Armour Batman compression shirts and dudes in Spider-man Hawaiian shirts standing hand in hand like brothers. Brothers who hold hands.

Back before they made THE FIRST AVENGER, especially since it was being directed by Joe Johnston, I thought there was no way they could make us/me think Captain America was a cool character. Now it’s my favorite of the currently going super hero series. They’ve made me believe in this nice gentleman who is engineered to represent the best of American ideals, and stays true to that goal even when that puts him at odds with the military and government that created him. I like this guy. I look forward to his adventures as Captain Unaffiliated.

*although, come to think of it, there’s a sweet moment during a funeral in this one that got me

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 11th, 2016 at 10:07 am and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

82 Responses to “Captain America: Civil War”

  1. The only two times I enjoyed a Marvel Studios movie from beginning to end were Iron Man Three and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and those are the ones Marvel fans grew standards for so I fully expect everyone to hate and bitch about this one now too. So yeah, as a guy who is usually a grump with these, despite growing up a huge Marvel Comics fan, I really liked this one and don’t have to make up nearly as many excuses to like it as I do with Batman V Superman. I really liked that *start-kinda-spoiler-I-guess* the villain was just some dude who was really driven *end-spoiler*

    That said I totally agree with you about not really wanting to re-watch these, perfectly good, movies while I do want to re-watch the, usually very flawed, DC movies.

  2. I haven’t even seen the film yet and I still have to say that this may be one of your best pieces on modern film so far. Kudos Vern and you’ve finally been the one thing to make me want to actually watch this film rather than wait for a friend to inflict it on me later on.

    “Think about it: that’s the very opposite of comic books, where you can sit and stare at those things for as long as you want.”

    You really nailed something there that has been nagging me for some time about modern comic films but couldn’t quite put my finger on. It’s definitely why I prefer Snyder’s over the top approach to Marvel’s…staid style. I often compare them the Marvel films to a series of TV films and if pressed I probably wouldn’t have been able to say why. Now I know that it’s ALL in the cinematic approach they’ve taken. There hasn’t been a Marvel film yet that matches the sheer excess of style (good or bad) that the 90’s Batman films splattered around. There hasn’t been anything as genuinely gritty and hard-bitten as the Nolan series (good or bad) in the Mavel stable. And there’s nothing that’s been as operatic and totemic as Man of Steel was (at its highest points) on a visual level. Hell, even Singer went SO much bigger when he went DC.

    Marvel’s approach feels so studied and polled and polished and pushed that I can’t get past the “writer’s round table” mentality of them, where they feel like at a point they have those mid-season stop-gap episodes, the one’s that introduce a new neighbor for future romantic involvement, then the big season openers and season finale’s. Then there’s the way that they never seem to, I’m sorry to say this guys AND I have no problems with their castings, but they never go for any real big guns for BIG roles. They gotta get guys who’ll sign a three season deal, sorry.

    It’s like if this were the 70’s and superhero films were big, DC would give us Ken Russell’s “Superman” while Marvel would have, I dunno, John Guillerman’s “Iron Man”. Have fun with casting those two imaginary film’s guys, you don’t owe me.

  3. *sigh* It’s “Guillermin”, isn’t it?

  4. One thing I don’t see any reviewers mention is how unique this film is, from a serial point of view.

    Never before has there been a film that combines 12 other films of various franchises into one big series of payoffs.

    Marvel Studios has gotten to the point with Civil War that it’s no longer “a film”, it is almost solely “the next chapter” in the overall MCU narrative.

    There is so much story, character, drama, and world-building (and destroying) in this film that there is virtually no room to cater to newbies at all. Haven’t seen Avengers: Age Of Ultron? Then fuck you, here’s Vision. He just is, we wont explain it. You shoulda seen the last movie he was in if you wanted to keep up. Which on one hand is fantastic, as for everyone up to speed, this film just picks up and never lets down, but for casual filmgoers, they’re going to have an increasingly difficult time getting into these Marvel Studios films, as the narrative gets more and more complex. Again, I (as a fan of the MCU mega-franchise) love this no-hand-holding approach, but I can appreciate that many will just not be able to get the full experience from many of these films going forward.

    This film is like the final episode of a later season of a television series; if you flip over to it from other channel, it may look neat, but it wont mean much to you. But if you’ve watched it right from the start, through all half a dozen seasons, and every episode of this season, then it’s the episode that brings together so many little threads from each season, and pays them off in a very compelling, and surprising way.


    The film’s real story, of Steve & Tony, Bucky & Zemo, is tightly constructed around many disparate plot threads, and small moments from across the many films before it, and weaves them into a great culmination, that after watching this film (and then rewatching some of the previous ones) feels like was always the inevitable conclusion.

    Little things like in Iron Man (2008), when Tony first gets back from Afghanistan, the first thing out of his mouth at the press conference he calls is, “I never got to say goodbye to my dad…” Then in Iron Man 2, Tony’s issues with his father continue, and along the way it is revealed that Tony’s parents died in a car crash.

    In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers develops a relationship with Howard Stark, which ends with Steve lost in ice, and Howard searching for years, looking for his lost friend (carried on in Agent Carter, showing the depth of his sense of guilt at Steve’s apparent death), meanwhile Steve’s best friend Bucky is lost (also presumed dead), and then returns as the eponymous Winter Soldier, a brainwashed assassin for Hydra. But it then gets worse, as Steve uncovers the current form of Doctor Zola as a crude AI in a bunker, Zola’s stalling tactic includes an admission (shown in flashed snippets) that Hydra had, throughout history, used Bucky to assassinate a number of important people, including Howard and Maria Stark.

    So flash forward to Civil War, and the key climax that the whole film was leading to was not about moral divide on policy regulation, but rather the implosion caused by the reveal of the Winter Soldier easter egg shown in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment by Arnim Zola, brought to the front by an outside party (Zemo) out of vengeance for an incident in yet another film (Age Of Ultron).

    I ask, when in film history has a major blockbuster film sequel hinged it’s emotional core, and entire climax on a moment almost hidden in a previous film?


    This kind of deep, serial storytelling is brand new to cinema, and is both a great thing, and a dangerous thing – depending on the audience, how much the filmmakers expect from their audience, and how much can reasonably be expected of said audience – before we start to hit diminishing returns with the mainstream majority of moviegoers.

  5. This movie was at its best every time Sebastian Stan was on screen.

    Just didn’t buy Tony Stark for the first 40 or so minutes. Just something off in RDJs performance through all those scenes. Can’t put my finger on it though.

    Now I want a buddy movie with Detective John Wintersoldier and Captain Unaffiliated more than any of that Infinity War malarky.

  6. Crushinator Jones

    May 11th, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    There’s no payoff in this. How ridiculous. Cap and Iron Man fight and then Cap sends a letter saying how principled and sorry he is and Iron Man reads it with a rueful smile and allows him to break his buds out of prison. There’s no ideological conflict in this movie other than Stark’s continuing quest for legitimacy (the movie makes it clear he doesn’t believe in the Accords either, they’re just a means to an end).

    Marvel takes a relationship forged over 2 movies (not 12, since Captain America and Iron Man only interact in the Avengers films) and uses it as a cheap out after a superhero smash up. That’s their prerogative but saying that this is some sort of culmination of 12 film’s worth of plot – and that there’s any sort of payoff other than an admittedly awesome fight scene of Cap and Bucky kicking the shit out of Iron Man – is ridiculous.

  7. Crushinator Jones

    May 11th, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Like if you honestly don’t think that a new person could pick up this film then you’ve been brainwashed by the fake depth of the Marvel model. Let me tell you: plenty of people are going to be able to pick up this film just fine, because most people don’t remember a damn thing about the other movies. They don’t remember what happened in Age of Ultron, or Winter Soldier, or any of those. Avengers is just shy of half-a-decade old and I guarantee you more than half the people who saw it in the theater never watched it again. So spare us all the “deep serial storytelling” crap. This is a film where Steve Rodgers beats Iron Man bloody, then leaves him with a letter and a magic phone that says “call me if you need me.” Iron Man is perfectly ok with this, because next movie they have to be friends. The Marvel model demands it. There can be no permanent consequences. That’s not how this works.

  8. “Butter battle.” Well played, sir.

  9. Some people are complaining that CIVIL WAR wasn’t a “real” war because nobody died in this movie. The thing about war is isn’t just horrific because of the deaths, it’s the unspeakable things people do in combat that they would never do under normal circumstances. Things they do because they’re consumed by fear, anger, and revenge. That’s what happens to Tony when he goes berserk after finding out Bucky was the one who killed his parents. Doesn’t matter that Bucky was brainwashed by HYDRA at the time, Tony was so consumed by rage he was willing to murder him right there. In the comic version of CIVIL WAR Tony became unsympathetic because he was uncharacteristically willing to commit war crimes and atrocities to win, like the leaders of nation during wartime. In the movie while he does some sketchy things(blackmailing a minor to leave the country to fight for him) he’s much more sympathetic because in that final fight, he’s a son consumed by grief and betrayal. A grief as he says earlier he never fully dealt with and betrayed by someone who didn’t tell him the truth earlier.

  10. I can confirm Crush’s belief that the general audience doesn’t remember much from one movie to the next. My aunt insisted to me that Ant Man wasn’t introduced before this movie (I know for a fact she saw Ant-Man) and my mom was sure War Machine wasn’t in any other of these things (She has seen all the Marvel movies). Co-workers keep asking why they didn’t mention the events of Batman v Superman (they also don’t understand the concept of a reboot and had one co-worker get stern with me that the Nolan trilogy is in continuity with the Burton/Schumacher movies).

    I also forgot to add in my initial post that I think Vern is being to nice to the pre-airport fight action scenes. They seemed well choreographed but it was difficult to make them out due to the usual shaking and having the camera too close. Oddly all the action scenes in the second half use traditional and good keeping the camera still photography to shoot the action. I guess those were the scenes filmed with the IMAX cameras? Hopefully filming Avengers 3.5/4 in those new IMAX cameras forces them to keep the camera still.

  11. After rewatching Ultron, I came into this with low expectations and enjoyed it overall. It’s not the cinematic triumph many critics are hailing, but it’s passable. Still, there were things that bugged me. I get this is a world where mind control is plausible. We see the good guys when brainwashed commit awful things. (Hawkeye in Avengers, Bucky in TWS and Civil War) But when it comes to Bucky, it’s almost as if Steve wants to gloss over it. There’s a moment in TWS’ final set piece where we see Bucky straight up murder at least half a dozen servicemen. Granted we realize he’s brainwashed and “it’s not him.” but the filmmakers treat it as a showcase for Bucky as a formidable badass and nothing beyond that. We never see Steve have to consider those issues or weigh his friendship with Bucky against the consequences of Bucky’s actions. I just never buy Steve having a struggle with anything morally or physically.

    The widely praised airport fight scene was amusing in parts, but I don’t find it the best comic book action sequence ever. There were times throughout the movie where I was wishing the camera would pull back at times. The quips take away any tension especially when characters on opposing sides ask each other if they’re still pals. I did like Bruhl as the villain and his motivation although it really depended on things outside of his control to happen (At the end, he was really leaning on Stark showing up and a VCR to work properly. Those things eat your VHS tape pretty easily these days).

    I kinda felt when the BIG REVEAL happened before the big showdown, Bucky should have made some attempt to reason with Tony. Perhaps mirroring Steve willing to lay down in TWS, Bucky could have done the same with Tony. Bucky was already starting to consider the hell his past actions caused. He could have told Tony he wasn’t going to fight any longer and to do what he wanted. Then maybe if Tony still attacked Bucky, I could buy Steve’s motivation to intervene and protect his friend at that moment. Instead, I was bothered somewhat by Steve and Bucky ganging up on Tony because he wasn’t immediately cool with the latter murdering his parents due to mind control. Also didn’t help that Steve knew what happened before the scene and kept it from Tony. I may be wrong, but when the fight happens I don’t think Steve is even trying to talk Tony down or call for finding Zemo. I just recall his “I can do this all day” line.

    Some bloggers make a big deal that the Avengers as we know them are now divided, but really doesn’t matter that a handful are fugitives because we know they’ll band together when Thanos comes around for this jewelry and all is forgiven. Maybe we can have a scene where the government is asking the Avengers to return and Ant Man agrees to do it on the condition they have lifetime passes to Disney World (SYNERGY!) or some shit. Not sure how the movie will hold up on a second viewing, but I have no plans to see it in the theater any time soon. 3 out of 5 Shields.

  12. I thought that The Pharcyde did their LOVE MOVEMENT as album no. 3?

  13. For the record, the marvel big baddie is a ripoff of the screen big baddie

  14. *dc not screen

  15. Crushinator Jones – I dunno, that ending came off as a bromance version of a romance. Not a MAJOR bromance like Steve/Bucky, but regardless. Comrades in arms, fought many battles together but then they legit tried to murder each other. That moment when Tony has his hands over his face after his mask is destroyed? He really thought he was going to die. Damn.

    I mean let’s remember something about the ending: the Accords are there to stay, and Stark and even Rhodey (who got friggin paralyzed) are still at end of the day working for “The Man.” Cap on his fellow now-fugitive Avengers are now on the run because they committed crimes and shit. There is no real reconciliation possible for now and Cap/Stark…well, they did just try to outright murder each other. How can you get over that shit quickly? Or face that guy at work everyday? So think of it as a divorced couple. Yeah we were close, we had kids, we had good times…but it’s over.

    I mean for fucks sake, the climax in Siberia its T’Challa realizing OH SHIT I about murdered the wrong guy because of my rage. It’s not exactly subtle the movie’s messaging. Honestly I’m impressed with Zemo’s planning here. Sure a lot of it rides on convenience, but overall…no budget, no Hydra/Ten Rings/Leviathan/whatever excuse for his tools and resources, hell the movie says he’s Special Forces….but NEVER ONCE does anything special forces-y. I’m surprised Vern didn’t notice that in his review.

  16. As for “I don’t follow these things”, for better or worse Marvel operates on that old Stan Lee adage: “Every comic book is somebody’s first comic.” CW really is rich when you play into its continuity-heavy narrative (handled better for non-Marvelites than AOU I suppose).

    I’ll tell you what’s funny. Kids at my 2nd CW screening popped as you would expect…but they popped hard when Ant-Man showed up. Amusing how some people (all adults) wrote him off because of his name and gimmick, yet he won the hearts of kids.

    And yes, Spider-Man’s reaction to Giant-Man was PERFECT.

  17. Other notes:

    *Tony is a Greek Tragedy. He keeps trying to atone for his fuck-ups, which results in more fuck-ups that he has to make up for.

    *”Hi I’m Clint-” “I don’t care.” How can anybody watch CW and not dig Black Panther in this?

    *Notice how the Marvel leads, they like to characterize them in that if they’re all in a room together, each would be a unique personality that would stand out. BP is regal, but so is Thor. The difference is that Thor is more lax and you could hang out with him and shit. He’s a Dude-ite from Outer Space. T’Challa is more serious, less time for bullshit. Or maybe we only saw on him his all-business attitude. In short Thor had no problem giving up his royalty, T’Challa would’ve found that concept gross.

    *I liked that little detail (not mentioned afterwards) that he tried but failed to safe his dad. Oh gee, will the BLACK PANTHER movie a big point of that? Umm…

    *The BP-verse characters teased in this was fun. Had nothing to do, but Martin Freeman should be ace as Everett “introduced on page with no pants” Ross. BP’s all-black bald women bodyguard platoon had a GREAT introduction her. You gotta like the gall of her threatening a fucking Avenger like that.

    *It’s weird people complain about Steve giving Bucky a break about the murdering thing considering COUGH COUGH WHERE WERE YOU PEOPLE?!? COUGH one of Steve’s co-workers is fucking Black Widow, who murdered scores of people before she joined SHIELD and became goodie 2 shoes.

    Hell remember back in AOU, Steve actually had sympathy for those twins and their situation by drawing an allusion to his origin story. He defends Scarlet Witch as a kid to Tony. Both dudes trying to act like Big Brother, but Tony was being a dick about it.

    *THAT SAID, Cap was a dick to play the “help ole living legend Cap here, ok?” card with Hawkeye and Ant-Man, both who have kids and well now they’re fugitives and are separated from their families for a few years.

    *Worth asking: Tony laments about that college student the Avengers inadvertedly killed in Sokovia…so he brings in a teenager into that superhero battle royale. I think I get it, Tony had been watching him for awhile (remember the student grants plot detail?) and would’ve tried to recruit him but the plot forced him to jump his schedule. He probably even thought oh hey this guy has webs that can subdue people without hurting them.

    *Then Spidey gets roughed up and Tony maybe realized “ah dammit, I screwed up again”. Be interesting their relationship in the Spider-Man movie out next year.

    *Cap and Spidey representing their NYC boroughs was GREAT.

    *How about that cool shot where Falcon and Iron Man visually come together in trying to save Rhodey?

    *Vern, the problem as I said before many times with Snyder’s attempt at trying to capture at superhero collateral damage is this: he inadvertedly turned it into disaster movie porn this side of Roland Emmerich. I think CW tackled that idea much better without the dwelling on it. “OK we get the point.” BAM.

    *People are COMPLAINING that nobody died? Oh Christ. Superman died in BVS and nobody cared? Why? It was cheap, it wasn’t earned. It’s amazing people don’t want cheap but then turn around and want it.

    *DAREDEVIL and CW this year, Marvel sure loves action setpieces involving stairs.

    *If they ever do a Black Widow movie, they’ll just recycle the Russo’s Bourne-inspired filmatics and use for her series I suppose.

    *I loved that TWS teased hard that Bucky whacked Howard Stark, and deliciously paid it off here. How about that screwed up touch that Howard recognized Bucky before he was murdered?

    *really Vern, no kudos for that bit where Bucky bent that stair railing to go down a few levels? Loved that bit.

  18. This was another well crafted piece of product by Marvel. They must have a roomful of writers hidden in a bunker to write all those quips. Much more than the individual directors, I think these films succeed on the work of the writing team (of which there are probably dozens).

    Not to get too nitpicky, but I almost wish they had gotten rid of everyone but Zemo, Cap, Bucky, and Iron Man. It would have made for a stronger film. There’s really no reason for Ant Man and Spiderman to side with Cap and Iron Man respectively except for the fact that we want to see the two punch each other, which is fine, but it does seem unnecessary to the main conflict. And the Sakovia Accords could be jettisoned entirely. This is arguably more pretentious than anything in Batman v Superman, which at least tried to explore how people would react if a overly powered alien suddenly came to Earth.

    The only Marvel films I’ve ever rewatched are Captain American 1 and Avengers 1. They’re fun, but you don’t want to spend too much time on them.

    And, yeah, I also really liked Vern’s butter battle line. Pretty damn good.

  19. Bartel – The Love Movement is the fifth album by A Tribe Called Quest. The Pharcyde did have a third and fourth album, but after Fat Lip left.

    Hal – Yeah, that’s what I said, right?

  20. Chris Evans gets Street Kings and Snowpiercer? Not Perfect Score or Not Another Teen Movie?

    That paragraph on the adult drama movement is gold.

  21. I really dig the character arch that moves both Iron Man and Captain America across these movies.

    Tony Stark’s arc started with the issue of accountability; he sold weapons without concerning himself with who was buying them or what they were doing with them. He only became Iron Man as a reflection of his desire to hold himself accountable for the damage he had done by being concerned only with making money. Once he took on that responsibility, he came to realise (in the first Avengers movie) that some problems were larger than he could even fully comprehend. That realisation led him to create Ultron, which came with its own disastrous effects. In this movie, he has come to fear the responsibility that comes with the role he has taken up, or perhaps no longer trusts himself with it, and wants to relinquish responsibility to a body that represents the “will of the people” in its most abstract form.

    Rodgers, on the other hand, starts out as an ethical guy, completely sure that the government was as ethical as him. He was happy to trust the system, until he realized the system was vulnerable to failure at which point, he resigned himself to acting according to his own judgement.

    Stark cannot bear the weight of responsibility (in ways that he may or may not realise) and Rogers thinks that only the individuals with the power to act on that scale can truly bear that responsibility. So they start on opposite sides, both evolve over the course of their individual and collective movies and ultimately find themselves on opposite sides again.

    (In the end of course, Stark is a hypocrite as he – SPOILER I GUESS – signs the Accords but then ends up going out on his own, unsanctioned, to confront Cap because he found out Cap was right, ultimately doing whatever he wanted without supervision END OF SPOILER I GUESS.)

  22. Apparently the directors from john wick were second unit directors and helped with some of the action scenes.

    The reason why Cap says “I can do this all day” is a reference the the first CA movie where he gets beat up by a bully in an ally and says the same words.

    Some people remarked that caps devotion to bucky is a bit extreme given the circumstances. I understand that. But I think it would have worked A LOT better had they not deleted some of caps scenes in Age of Ultron. These deleted scenes (some used in winter soldier) show really well how he feels lost and feels he doesn’t belong here. It makes his zealous protection of bucky much more believable as he is the only thing he has left from his past.

  23. CrustaceanLove

    May 12th, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Yeah, I loved this movie. A huge improvement on the source material that pays off long-running character arcs in interesting and surprising ways. I also think the titular civil war is more nuanced than the review makes out. Yeah, Captain America’s name is in the title, but his connection to his past life and unshakeable loyalty to his friends makes him dangerously naïve about Bucky. And it doesn’t matter if he’s doing something for the “right reasons” if innocent people are getting caught in the crossfire. Iron Man knows the Accords are an imperfect solution, but he’s been mind controlled and suffered a nervous breakdown, he doesn’t trust himself and is desperate to hand off his responsibility to someone else. I’ve seen people complain because the political allegory gives way to personal motivations by the third act punch up, but I love that. People start out with reasoned, considered points of view, but when their resolve is tested they dig their heels in and it becomes a clash of egos.

    I do not get how the ending is particularly dark though. Yeah, the band is broken up, but Cap gives Stark a phone and says “Call me, but only if it’s really important.” You mean, like the world is about to end, like it is in every AVENGERS movie? I thought blowing up SHIELD was a much bigger and more unexpected shakeup of the status quo. I don’t really mind, though. I’m sick and tired of movies trying to lend themselves a false importance by insisting it’s the “dark middle chapter.” And I don’t think having a bunch of jokes makes the film any less thoughtful or interesting.

  24. I really enjoyed this.

    And taking Super Hero movies as the new Westerns I felt like it was a thoughtful engaging genre movie carved out of the always potentially bland Marvel monolith.

    It seems to me that a lot of people are going out of their way to dislike it.

  25. Since no one else brought it up… Shame on you Vern for taking Disney’s money and giving Civil War (a better movie) a better review than Batman v Superman! First the Patreon, now the paid endorsements for Disney! Just admit it, you were never an outlaw and your living in a huge mansion right now! Just like other movie critics and Huffington Post writers! I bet all those good reviews you gave to those movies that are only on VHS were paid for by the now defunct VHS distributors as well!

    My image of you is shattered! How can we ever trust another review of your’s again?!

    Yes, I am way too bemused by Batman fan’s weird conspiracy theories.

  26. I just watched BTS footage of the action scenes. It is frustrating because you see, for example, Black Widow have this pretty sweet long take fight and then you see the camera guy move the camera around like an asshole.

  27. BTW, Jason Bourne BTS also showed Matt Damen do a long take and you can see the camera guy do the same thing. Come on man.

  28. Just waiting for the kiss reaction shot to become a .gif

  29. Geoffrey – all they would give me was a voucher for 50% off one churro at Disneyland. And I can’t afford to go to Disneyland right now. But I take whatever bribes I can get. Marvel 4 lyf

  30. I only have one beef, and it’s a super geeky beef, way geekier then I should have since I don’t even read these comics.
    But seriously, how does Vision not just wipe the floor with everyone during the airport fight? It is kind of the problem I have with Superman movies. Vision really should be able to kill all of those folks while he is playing on his Gameboy. I really think it is why they kept Thor and Hulk out of the movie. Same beef. Really, bow and arrow guy should get knocked out of the fight in 2 seconds.

  31. I think it’s because Vision is learning to be human, or whatever, and doesn’t really want to inflict major damage which is why he’s so bummed when Rhodes gets hurt because of himself being distracted by love. OR whatever.

  32. The shaky, drop-frame cinematography in the first half of this flick just make me appreciate the Smallville brawl in Man of Steel even more. That’s also shot in a shaky, gritty, you-are-there kind of way. But there’s never a single moment in that sequence where I can’t tell what’s happening or where the characters are in relation to one another, but it also doesn’t sacrifice one ounce of visceral impact. It’s the superhero version of The Raid. I think one of the crucial differences is Snyder knows not to shoot everything in close to medium close-up. He actually let’s you see the battle in well placed head-to-toe wide shots. And he let’s those shots breath in length too; not so long it becomes a gimmicky look-at-me! shot, but he doesn’t cut on. Every. Single. Punch.

    I’m really disappointed that that is the case too as I thought Winter Soldier was fantastically staged and edited. Civil War felt like a step back when it came to those kinds on fight scenes.

    Give me more of that airport shit though! If Snyder is the master of viscerally conveying God-like beings annihilating each other, the Russos (and Joss Whedon) have the market cornered on bringing bonkers splash page tableaus to life in a way that makes my inner 9 year old squeal with delight.

  33. Vern’s review of American Ninja 2 reminded me about Civil War. Was I the only person disappointed that the other winter soldiers turned out to be a red herring? I really wanted to see that fight. I get why they were a red herring but they were set up as being cool.

    Also, why go through the regamaroll of getting them to the location when he could have just uploaded the video on YouTube and gotten them to fight sooner?

  34. I felt like it was another revenge “it’s personal” kinda movie and another “where the heroes fight due to a misunderstanding/manipulation” thing. It felt tired. I would have preferred the ideological conflict having been the core of the movie instead of it kinda just being abandoned.

    I really loved the scenes with Ant-Man and Spider-Man thought. Those hyphens make a difference.

  35. Also, Vern, I think you should give Winter Soldier another viewing. I found the action in that one better and more comprehensible than in most of the action scenes in this one, save the Airport scene – which was just fantastic.

  36. I’ll get this out of the way – I’m kind of a DC guy too. I think the Nolan films have mysteriously become underrated by the internet. I think most Marvel fanboys are kind of insufferable and seem to strangely equate DC with Ed Hardy-esque dudebros for who knows what reason. I agree that the MCU movies are way too lightweight, too full of not-really-funny sarcastic glib quip-machines instead of characters, too reliant on ticking clock doomsday scenarios and chasing glowing magical orbs and shit. I literally haven’t been emotionally involved in an MCU since Iron Man 1 (I did actually feel bummed when Colson died in Avengers, only to rescind my bumming when he came right back in Agents of Shield). I’m pretty sure I sat through Ant-Man with a face of stone. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just perfectly bland and adequate which sums up my feelings on like 95% of these movies.

    That being said, I think Civil War is a masterpiece. It’s like they took a checklist of everything I hate about the MCU and fixed it. Not sure what they put in RDJ’s coffee, but I think he’s actually incredible here, and this is coming from someone who got tired of his schtick circa Iron Man 2 and couldn’t stand him in Age of Ultron. I like how Cap doesn’t seem to get much screentime in his own movie, but he pulls off a great old-school action movie performance. His limited dialogue and that helicopter scene showing off his guns felt like something that would happen in an 80s movie. I like how the action scenes (long a Marvel weakspot to me) were incredible and I looked forward to them rather than being exhausted by them. (It might have helped I saw this in 2D whereas I saw TWS in Imax 3D and couldn’t tell what the hell was happening).

    High Points – Too many to mention, but everyone brings their acting A-game here. Besides RDJ, Wanda and Jarvis are so much better in this one than they were in Age of Ultron, they seem like different actors. Ant-Man is funnier and cooler in this one than he is in the entirety of Ant-Man. This is the first time I’ve liked Cheadle’s version of Rhodey in the entire series. The freefall in the suit is actually terrifying and his final scene has real emotion I never expected to see from his paper-thin character. I liked Black Panther more in his first 5 minutes than I like most characters, and they left just enough unexplained that I kinda can’t wait for his solo movie. It’s miraculous how he’s actually integral to the plot instead of tacked on or shoehorned in. Speaking of miracles, they made me want to see a Spider-Man movie again (mostly because the new guy is great, and this movie clearly states we won’t have to sit through another origin story. Also, Marisa Tomei).

    SPOILERS – I think the biggest, most pleasant surprise in this one is the villain. I cannot tell you how relieved I was that it turned out to just be one normal, angry guy behind it all. No HYDRA, no government conspiracy, no Thanos. No disposable alien/robot minions, no ticking clock bomb/portal shit or magic rocks. Who knew the MCU, not normally known for great or even good villains (besides Loki) had this in them? It’s like John Doe in Se7en walked into a superhero movie, complete with a great “What’s in the box???” moment that kinda dropped my jaw a bit (and plays off Slattery’s cameo in Ant-Man, where I was confused why Howard Stark was still alive in 1989 and thinking THEY’RE NEVER GOING TO ADDRESS HIS DEATH, ARE THEY?)

    I was absolutely expecting them to drop the ball in the final act, making Iron Man and Cap make up 3/4 of the way through and then fight Zemo in a mech suit or maybe he injects himself with Super Serum or whatever. Then they tease the Universal Soldier subplot and I’m like “oh Dear God, I can’t believe I’m saying this but I don’t want to see the movie end with a Universal Soldier fight”. But nope, the movie never takes that misstep, it never drops the ball. I’ll be honest I’m completely expecting Marvel to drop the ball and go back to the status quo with Ant-Man 2 and Guardians 2 and we’ll get back to wacky jokes and rock-chasing, but for now I’m just glad we got this movie. It’s the perfect antidote to Marvel fatigue.

  37. Vern, re: The Empire Strikes Back comparisons everyone’s making (I think I saw you asking about this on the twitter sidebar) – other than Spider-Man mentioning the AT-AT scene, there’s a ton of similarities (if nobody’s pointed them out already) – SPOILERS, OBVIOUSLY – 1) Civil War has probably the most cliffhangery, unresolved ending of the MCU. I seriously expected Tony and Cap to make up during the course of the film to fight the real enemy and I was kinda shocked they didn’t. 2) Just like ESB’s AT-AT scene, Civil War has it’s most spectacular battle earlier on (which would be the climax of any other movie) but ends intimately, with a personal hand-to-hand fight in a lab, where…. 3) A guy gets his arm chopped off. This guy 4) ends up being cryogenically frozen until I guess the next installment, even though I really hope this is the end for this character. 5) I’m pretty sure the final shot (the mid-credits one in Wakanda) is an exact mirror of the last shot of ESB, with the characters pensively looking out the window.

  38. Man, I need to re-watch Civil War because I feel like the only person disappointed in it.

  39. Good points Neal. What throws me off is that the last one felt like a dark, cliffhanger ending, and this one doesn’t. WINTER SOLDIER ended with the entire SHIELD agency destroyed and the world upended by secret evil, Nick Fury gone and Bucky wandering, maybe starting to remember. This one they split up but Cap sends a nice letter saying hey bud, give me a call, I promise I will help you and we are still buds forever.

  40. Ha, yeah, I like that the “they’re going to reconcile eventually” ending seemed like the ending to a a romantic comedy, it really lightened up a dark ending (the “my dad made that shield!” moment hit me like a ton of bricks, probably because I haven’t seen Downey display any emotion other than “smug” in almost five years).

    I guess I took the ending of TWS with SHIELD’s dissolution and Black Widow leaking the files on the internet as less of a traditional “cliffhanger” and more of one of those Escape from NY/Escape from LA/Elysium/Surrogates endings where the good guys beat the bad guys but blow up the system. Also it might not have felt like a cliffhanger because I knew it would be addressed 4 days later on Agents of SHIELD. Obviously it wouldn’t be resolved anytime soon (I’m actually not sure if it is even though I still watch the show!), but I never got a sense of “holy shit what’s going to happen next?” Especially since Nick Fury showed up on the show like a month later.

    Honestly I don’t really see why they got rid of SHIELD- the characters on the show still seem to have tons of resources, secret bases, and manpower, not to mention Fury and Maria Hill still seemed to work for them in Ultron and were able to produce a Helicarrier out of nowhere. What difference would it have made if Sharon Carter worked for SHIELD in Civil War instead of the CIA or whoever she worked for? What difference would it have made if the secret underground base was a SHIELD one instead of a German one? It’s all superficial changes.

    That brings me up to another great thing about Civil War – it actually fixes alot of problems with the endings to earlier movies. It gives a storyline reason for why Tony randomly cured himself at the end of Iron Man 3 (so Captain could disable his arc reactor at the end without killing him). It explains why the hell he came back in Avengers II despite quitting in Iron Man 3. It finally shows a consequence to Black Widow leaking that stuff on the internet (where Zemo finds the Winter Soldier info). It finally has Tony showing remorse about the things he’s done (they should have had him outright take the blame for Ultron, which is only implied here but at least it’s better than him cracking jokes at the end of that movie despite the fact he almost killed the world).

  41. I don’t have time to fully build up and pay-off this comment (this is Skani Comment Phase 1), so, I’ll just ramble as per usual…

    I’ve been pretty hater-ish on these MCU films. None of them have been bad, it’s just that for whatever reason, I haven’t been able to get into them. I had friends invite me out to see the first entries for each of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Avengers. I remember digging all of them well enough but not having any desire to revisit them or watch the sequels. I tried to rent a couple of the sequels and couldn’t even finish them, mostly because of the stakes issue–no real stakes, too many of the rules seem fixed and known in advance, and everything is usually tied up in a perfect bow.

    Beyond those elements within the films, I think part of it was this passive-aggressive franchise fatigue. Whether or not it’s actually the case, it feels as thought it’s very difficult to put out any truly novel huge action or sci-fi action vehicle. Everything, even the well-made stuff, feels like it is trading on some nostalgia trip. Even this summer, you look, it’s friggin Bourne and Independence Day and TMNT. It’s like there are no new big epic blockbuster type films being made that aren’t milking our prior investment in some character or universe or source material. I consider the Marvel films to be among the best of these films, but it’s the overall environment that kind of depresses me. That’s what I found so alienating about “Terminator: Genisys.” It’s like all the prophecies of Wall-E or Idiocracy coming true: Are we really so intellectually lazy and creatively bankrupt that we can do nothing other than dumpster dive for remnants and elements of original creative films and then recycle them into a pale, diluted imitations of their source material. Sigh.

    However, I think I’ve unfairly projected all of that broader “what is the world coming to?” malaise onto Marvel. Recently, my kids and their budding enjoyment of these films that has got me to try them out again. We’ve been watching them at a rate of about one every week or so over the last several months. I gotta say, they vary in quality, but on the whole, they’re incredibly fun, well-made, great chemistry, good emotional conflicts, great iconography, etc. And, I do agree that we’ve not seen anything quite like this in terms of all the threads and stand-alones and cross-overs and stuff all tying together and cross-pollinating and converging and diverging, etc. It’s pretty neat and different. And, hell, some of my favorite characters are the lesser-known ones that aren’t as well-positioned to coast on pop cultural capital: I think Bucky’s got my vote for overall bad-ass-est.

    Bottom line, although in many ways, these films exemplify some of the more depressing themes in current blockbuster film-making (franchise-mania, nostalgia-milking, overreliance on massive global grosses, lack of stakes), they are extremely well-cast, well-acted, well-connected, layered, visually dazzling, and just a hell of a lot of fun. These guys make fun, creative films that take their characters to interesting places. I was thoroughly entertained with this one.

  42. I just rewatched Civil War. I was really disappointed the first time I saw it. My expectations were really high coming off Winter Solder which is my favorite Marvel movie so far. I gotta say, the second time six months later or so my opinion has changed a lot. It’s a much better movie then I remembered. I liked how the main bad guy’s plot mirrored the Accords that were introduced into the movie more then I did the first time. Also, having seen most of Batman vs Superman, the Marvel movies on a whole are just so much better. They might not be as much of a single auteur vision but they’re much better acted and the scripting is way better.

    Still on the Marvel train, not coming off it.

  43. Finally caught up with it. Man, the Russos are the worst thing that has ever happened to the MCU, but at least this wasn’t as bad as WINTER SOLDIER. Even their shitty post action fights and chases were this time at least edited competent enough (for the most part), that you could see what was happening. So it was even more baffling when the big airport fight looked like an actual movie and not like some shitty YouTube video, that was shot on a smart phone.

    Unfortunately the fight was underwhelming. It was clearly the highlight of the movie, but mostly because of all these characters trying to kick each others ass, with lots of small vignettes and amusing moments. It’s not the badass and mindblowing superhero fight to end all superhero fight, that the internet declared it.

    All in all the movie was pretty muddled. It starts as a “Who watches the watchmen” story full of real world metaphors, then it becomes more and more a “friends become enemies” story, but we never feel that they are really become enemies. It’s more like the superhero equivalent of two friends yelling at each other, then getting into a fistfight and aftewards having a friendly beer together, with bloody noses and knocked out teeth. When Iron Man throws Captain America into an exploding truck or shit like that, we know that he did it, because he knows that he can take it. So what are the stakes? Their disagreement is obviously not big enough to kill each other and they even exchange friendly quips while fighting on different sides!

    So in the end we are told that the Avengers are more or less split up into two fractions, but the ending also suggests on the other hand that they will fight side by side whenever they have to. “Hey, dude, I can’t forgive you that you stole my girlfriend, but I’m honored that you picked me to be your kid’s godparent. See you next week, when I help you paint your new apartment!”

    At least they didn’t waste Daniel Brühl. I mean, they did, but there is a chance that they give him more to do in another movie. (Spoiler)

    But why am I writing this? I’m sure everybody said more or less the same things months ago.

  44. This is a real thing:

  45. Yeah, so that didn’t work – in a nutshell, Sony are forging ahead with their own little Marvel/Spidey universe and the next film on their agenda is a Venom flick, starring – wait for it – Tom Hardy.

  46. Read that earlier and couldn’t believe it. Maybe this is the price we pay to get Peele off of AKIRA?

  47. Isn’t Venom a heel? How is this movie going to work?

  48. GJ – Yup, Nerdbalance restored.

    Sternshein – The “Eddie Brock” Venom that Hardy is set to play was mostly a bad guy, if memory serves, but then they made him a tragic figure/anti-hero, which I’m sure is the route they’ll go down with the film.

  49. What a complete waste of Tom Hardy and everybody else’s time. When will Hollywood learn that most Spider-Man fans don’t even like Venom. Let alone go see a movie about him regardless of the star. Here Sony goes back to repeating the same mistakes that got them where they are with Spider-Man in the first place. I guess things DO go in cycles.

  50. BLACK PANTHER teaser trailer is here:

    Black Panther Teaser Trailer

    HERO. LEGEND. KING. Watch Marvel Studio's Black Panther teaser trailer now. ► Subscribe to Marvel: http://bit.ly/WeO3YJ Follow Marvel on Twitter: ‪https://tw...

  51. I’m really loving that Afro-futurist look.

  52. That is one of the most poorly composited photoshop joints I’ve seen in a while. Wish we still got painted posters or anything else.

  53. Was pleasantly surprised to have somewhat enjoyed this one. For about the first 2/3rd’s I thought that, while the stakes were established well enough, the consequences of the civil war between the Avengers was kind of tame and just an excuse to have colorful cgi heroes fly around each other – CAPTAIN AMERICA’S VERY POLITE WAR, it seemed like. Let’s have a few jokes about Spiderman’s youthful ignorance and keep the kids happy. And reference EMPIRE STRIKES BACK for good measure. I did enjoy giant Ant Man lumbering around the air field like Godzilla. That was a nice touch.

    And then Roadie falls 1000 feet and doesn’t die and I thought oh come the fuck on. But I gotta say the Steve vs Tony smackdown made up for it. There was even blood on their faces! Has there ever been blood in one of these Avengers?

    I thought it was about on par with CAPTAIN AMERICA – THE WINTER OF MY SOLDIERS DISCONTENT.

  54. New BLACK PANTHER trailer:

  55. I’m simultaneously awed by the ability of the American culture/spectacle industry to turn everything true and beautiful into its opposite and very, very glad that Gil Scott-Heron isn’t alive to see his work degraded and perverted like that. Fucking die, Disney.

  56. Now we are blaming Disney for sampling?

  57. No, I’m blaming them for misappropriating the words of a revolutionary Black artist, in a commercial for a movie about a cartoon man jumping over cartoon cars, as part of a film series that is outrageously horny for US military power and violence, for the purpose of making A Billions Dollars, Literally, for one of the most hideous conglomerates of parasites on this fucking planet, who have their fingers in just about every industry and scheme currently making life a living nightmare for the majority of human beings alive today. That is, uh, ghastly.

    “You will not be able to plug in, turn on, and drop out…”

  58. BLACK PANTHER Review: Marvel’s Most Ambitious, Visionary Film Ever

    An important door opens for black representation in cinema.

    This movie is going to be the perfect example of how white people can’t really understand what it’s like to be black in America. On the surface, based on this review, this one isn’t really any different than any of the other Marvel movies. I suggest this based on the second to last paragraph where the author actually gets to the criticism of the film. Seems like the same issues that people have with the Marvel movies. However, he spends most of the review talking about how it’s ambitious and visionary. Having not seen it I can’t say for certain but I’m sure it’s not any more ambitious or visionary as Guardians of the Galaxy, for example, but it’s a large cast of mostly black people. For a movie like this it’s got to be really incredible to see that. I’ve always grown up with white people just being in these movies so it’s not some revelation to see it. I can’t even imagine what this movie is going to mean to many people. It’s pretty cool.

    However, I find this whole Wonder Woman “women are finally doing it” thing to be so disingenuous.

    Point is, it doesn’t even matter of Black Panther is going to be just like every Marvel movie, it’s going to be a pretty neat event film.

  59. But it’s not just like every other Marvel movie.

    I like every other Marvel movie.

  60. Are you saying you didn’t like Black Panther? I can’t except anybody saying it’s a bad movie when it’s not.

  61. It’s a pretty bad movie, dude. Surprised the hell out of me too. I’ll get into it on the main review but suffice it to say the awful action drops it from kind of boring and badly plotted to just straight up lame.

  62. Iron Man 2 is a pretty bad movie. Black Panther was a very good movie. I was engaged the entire time, the characters are great, it has Marvels second best villain. I’m pretty sure your opinion will not be shared by many.

  63. Is that okay with you or…?

  64. I’m not trying to start shit here. I wanted to like it as badly as anybody else. I just didn’t. This is one of the most hyperbolically praised movies of my lifetime. I think it can handle one outlier pointing out its flaws.

  65. I’ll point out your flaws. You are a stupid head. Just kidding.

    We will see what you have to say after Vern writes his review. I’ll give you one thing, the action wasn’t that great.

  66. That’s an understatement. I haven’t seen CGI stunt doubles that obvious since DAREDEVIL. I think I’d have forgiven everything else if it hadn’t been for that.

  67. I got over it. I got a nice long take sequence so that made up for it. Plus I’m sure you still like Blade 2.

  68. Not really. It’s got some great parts but it’s never been a favorite. In any case, they were pioneering the use of CGI stunt doubles back then. They were allowed to kind of suck. There’s no excuse now, nearly 20 years later, especially since no other Marvel movie has had that problem, including the one that already featured this character doing the exact same shit we see him doing here. I don’t know if it was a schedule problem or a budget problem or if they just hired the wrong effects house, but this shit was unacceptably bad for a tentpole franchise blockbuster in 2018. I see superhero movies for exciting superpowered set-pieces, so if you can’t deliver that, nothing else you do is gonna matter.

  69. I know a movie we can agree on. The Devil’s Express. Just watched it this morning. It’s fun.

  70. Part of my disappointment is that, in the days prior, I watched several excellent low-budget movies with great action. We’re really living in a minor golden age of action cinema right now, which makes it even more egregious that these scenes in BLACK PANTHER were allowed to go out into the world like that. Not only do I know the industry can do so much better, I know Coogler can too. That’s far from my only problem with the movie (it might be the worst plotted non-Michael Bay film I’ve seen in a theater in the past five years) but it is the one that matters the most. In this kind of spectacle cinema, where heroic intentions are illustrated through exciting movements, the action is where the characters put their money where their mouth is. If you drop the ball on that, then all your noble speeches are full of shit. How did Dom prove his love for Letty? With a speech? Or with an amazing action set-piece that had everyone cheering? Action IS character in these movies. It’s the “show” in the writer’s “Show, don’t tell” motto. If your action sucks, you might as well have made a radio play, because you did a whole lot of telling and no showing.

    When you say DEVIL’S EXPRESS, do you mean GANG WARS starring Warhawks Tanzania? because fuck yeah, I can get behind that.

  71. Yup Gang Wars but that wasn’t the original title. I’m going to try to beg the two 24 hour horror thons in Chicago plans this. The crowd would love it.

  72. BTW, my wife, Queen of pointing out stupid plot shit in movies, didn’t complain a bit the plot. The plot was solid and I totally see how it’s speaking to so many black people.

  73. It is truly fucking awesome. I just bigged it up in an article I wrote about blaxploitation for the magazine I edit. More people need to be made aware of it.

  74. I shouldn’t say that. She wanted Serkis to be in it longer.

  75. I was most impressed by the fight scenes not being total garbage in Devils Express.

    I think that you and I would agree the action scenes aren’t great in BP but I think it’s a good movie over all. I liked the themes and I loved the characters which more than made up for any other short comings to me.

  76. Mr M, which Marvel movies have the best action scenes?

  77. I think they’ve all been pretty good, but probably CIVIL WAR and the AVENGERS movies have my favorites because the variety of powers leads to some unique set-pieces. The effects are good enough and the characters are distinct enough that they don’t need a 4.9 ACM or incredible fight choreography to be exciting.

    There’s really only one plot major plot hole in BP. The bad plotting comes through in the repetition, the plot developments that get instantly revoked, unsupported character turns, and the sloppy progression of the story. I’m not kidding when I say none of that would have mattered if the action had delivered (it’s not like any superhero movie is a model of narrative economy) but since it didn’t I had no choice but to focus on that stuff. I liked what the movie was about a lot but I didn’t think it did a good job of being about it.

    I should also make it clear that I love everything this movie IS. I just don’t like a lot of the things it DOES.

  78. *I meant ACR in my opinion

  79. I also totally see why the joy of what it IS goes a long way for a lot of people. Just not long enough for me, apparently. I’m glad everybody likes it. I want this movie to succeed so they’ll make another one that I’ll hopefully like more. The elements are there. They just need to be executed better.

  80. I liked Civil War much better the second time. The airport battle was a great dry run for Infinity War. I also love the action in Winter Soldier.

    I am so jazzed for Infinity War. I hope they nail Thanos.

  81. I was also surprised that I ultimately wasn’t feeling Black Panther for similar reasons. The action was lackluster, especially after seeing something like The Villainess recently that was made for a sliver of the budget of BP. It would be amazing if one of those superhero movies hired some of those folks to at least do choreography or 2nd unit stuff, audiences would lose their minds. There were a handful of shots I liked, such as the long-take in the casino, but those were too few and far between. The Marvel house style really hindered things here, with the same generic lighting and stock fx and plot beats and overexplaining instead of showing. The costumes were nice. Michael B Jordan is really charismatic, but his character is a little half-baked despite being way more compelling than T’Challa. I liked T’Challa in Civil War and obviously in a lot of the comics, but he’s pretty bland here. Also I’m not expecting the politics of a superhero movie to be very enlightened, but having a CIA agent as any sort of heroic figure in a movie called Black Panther is some bullshit. The whole thing comes across as a missed opportunity, and a sorta failed compromise between Coogler and Marvel. I’m happy that some kids might see it and be psyched on people who look like them represented in a big budget superhero movie, it’s a good start, but the overwhelmingly positive response among adults is sorta baffling to me when it’s just sort of a mess, albeit one with some compelling stuff in the mix.

    As far as Marvel stuff goes, I usually enjoy the movies but they also have a disposable quality. I think my personal favorites would be the first Iron Man, Guardians 1, Winter Soldier, and Ragnarok, and I think the first Avengers and Civil War are pretty fun. It seemed like Black Panther could’ve been a rare superhero movie that transcends the genre but it’s pretty middling in terms of action and storytelling. I would watch the sequel though, since there’s plenty of room for improvement.

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