Captain America: Civil War

There has always been a certain amount of tension between Captain America and Iron Man. Tony Stark’s ironic worldliness doesn’t mesh well with Steve Rogers’ earnest and unapologetic squareness. They’ve been rubbing each other the wrong way ever since they met.
It explodes in Captain America: Civil War. After the events in Age of Ulton, Winter Soldier, and even going back to the first Avengers movie, the leaders of the world’s nations are concerned about all the city destroying violence. The body count from collateral damage is rising and there is a sentiment that maybe these powerful beings should be registered and held accountable for their actions. They draft the Sokovia accords. Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., is wracked by guilt over his role in those events and signs on immediately. Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, due to his experiences in the Second World War is distrustful of authority and refuses to sign the accords.
Then the signing ceremony for the accords is bombed, killing the King of Wakanda, a reclusive African nation. There is footage of someone who looks like Bucky Barnes, played by Sebastian Stan, committing the crime. T’Challa, played by Chadwick Boseman, was the heir to the Wakandan throne. He is also the Black Panther, a superhero in a vibranium lined suit with strength and agility almost equal to Cap’s. He swears vengeance on the Winter Soldier.
This fractures the team, breaking it into factions. Captain America’s side is on the run. Tony convinces his new boss, Secretary of State “Thunderbolt” Ross, played by William Hurt to let his side try to take the others in alive.
This is actually more of an Avengers movie than a Captain America movie, but Steve Rogers is still the focal point. Chris Evans is so good at this role. He’s put in an untenable situation where he has to betray one ideal, one friend to stand by another and Evans does a great job of showing the conflict on his face as well as the resolution to do the right thing as he sees it.
At this point, it’s impossible to imagine anyone other than Robert Downey Jr. playing Tony Star/Iron Man. If they ever reboot this thing they may have to leave Iron Man out of the next iteration. Downey is just too definitive.
All the performances are terrific, but this movie’s real strong point is the script by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. There are a lot of characters in this and they are all given their moments. It doesn’t feel like anybody is given a simple cameo; they all have big emotional scenes that fit well into the whole. There is a villain, Zemo, played by Daniel Bruhl but he’s not played as an outsized megalomaniac in the grand Marvel tradition, he’s rather low key with a modest goal and a pretty good reason for being angry. Only Marvel would have a courage to do it this way. The main conflict in the film is between Tony and Steve and it runs too deep to be resolved by the realization that they are being manipulated into fighting each other. And it is not resolved by the end of the film either.
Marvel is making a series of distinct separate films but they are also making a huge narrative that spans all those films and all the TV and Netflix shows as well. And boy are they smart. Smarter than me. I would have been satisfied with every film feeling like the first Avengers or the first Captain America movies but Marvel keeps evolving their properties, giving them more serious tones; mining current events and making this wonderful fantasy world echo our horrible real one.
The geeks are running the asylum and everything just keeps getting cooler.


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May 2016
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