Many, many SPOILERS ahead.

captain-america-civil-war-movie-reviews

  1. Did it seem weird that the opening battle didn’t take place in Wakanda? Wouldn’t that have made more sense than the convoluted story about the Wakandan exchange students? I suspect a rewrite made the case that the movie needed real locations throughout, and perhaps they’re saving some Wakanda reveals for T’Challa’s own film. (For example: maybe it’s the new home of the refugee Avengers.)
  2. Why wasn’t this Black Widow: Civil War? Then we would have had far fewer Bucky/Baron Zemo/concrete bunker scenes (boring!) while also getting that whole female-led Marvel superhero movie out of the way (except that some people would have kvetched that it didn’t really count).
  3. Was that first glimpse of Tony, all CG-ized to make him look young, meant to bring me right back to those Air America/Soapdish/Chaplin/Only You days of yore? I could see that the answer might be yes (see below).
  4. Anyone else wonder if William Hurt’s role as Secretary Ross – yes I know he played the same role in the last Hulk film – was originally offered to Samuel L. Jackson, who might have wanted a little more money? (Hey Marvel, what’s in your wallet?)
  5. Why is the Marvel Cinematic Universe doubling down on actual years? Examples: The Vision pointing out that it’s been eight years since the events of the first Iron Man (which was released in 2008, eight years ago), Secretary Ross pointing out that it’s been four years since the events of the first Avengers (which was released in 2012, four years ago). It’s fascinating partly because it’s so unlike the comics, which have to strain to compress and stretch time when appropriate. I suspect this is part of a long-term plan to age out Tony Stark and others and replace them with fresher blood while preserving continuity.
  6. When did Bucky become Thor? Bucky broke out of United Nations captivity and managed to kick the combined asses of Sharon Carter, Tony Stark (granted, with only an Iron Hand), and Both Blacks – Widow and Panther?! Either one of those latter two should be able to mop up the floor with three Buckys.
  7. Anyone else notice that Steve went against himself from his previous movie – he’d argued with Nick Fury for the necessity of more governmental supervision – and that Tony went against himself from his previous movie, where he insisted that he could be trusted with war machines? I love a comeuppance and reversal, but CA:CW doesn’t comeup and reverse as much as just pretend the past never happened. (Also, have you noticed that Cap’s BFF, Sam Wilson a.k.a. The Falcon, now wants us to see drones as adorable?) Yes, it’s like the source comics, but then, it’s not. Relatedly…
  8. I’m all about the Steve-and-Tony show – which is good, because that was the movie – but couldn’t we have used one more piece of dialogue along the lines of “That’s the difference between you and me”? (Not that cliché, but something.) Too often, it felt like Cap and IM were just choosing sides for the heck of it – if Viola Davis had approached Steve instead of Tony with her dead son, would the roles have been reversed? Perhaps something during the final fight where Iron Man truly almost kills Bucky, and Steve accuses Tony of needing the U.N. to give imprimatur to his assassin’s tendencies – and Tony counter-accuses that Steve needs the U.N. because he (Steve) isn’t the boy scout he pretends to be. Something.
  9. When did Black Widow get superpowers? I used to think Natasha got by on her talent and training, but that TV-ready hair and makeup at all times is, to quote Spider-Man, “not obeying the laws of physics.”
  10. Could Don Cheadle be more underused?
  11. Why, when Zemo spoke the Manchurian Candidate words to Bucky, didn’t Bucky just shout “LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”?
  12. How did Tony learn Spider-Man’s secret identity? Maybe that will come up in a 2017 film that Downey’s signed for, the deliciously named Spider-Man: Homecoming.
  13. Could Tony/Downey have been any happier about his Only You reunion with Marisa Tomei? No. But Tony, Tony, Tony, you didn’t have to keep bringing up how hot she was. P.S. Not young enough to be an aunt? Uh, probably more than half the world’s aunts to teenagers are younger than Marisa Tomei, but never mind.
  14. Did we just see Peter Parker bring back his non-organic web-shooters? Was that the real reason Tony sought him out, for the patent? Did Tony design Spider-Man’s costume? (Also, did Tony create a Spider-signal for Peter?) All this is very un-canonical, but it’s fun for that.
  15. Was it me, or did Ant-Man sign up for Mission: Go to Jail a little too easily? What happened to the guy in his solo movie who wanted to go straight on behalf of his daughter? Considering that Tony’s entire M.I.T. grant (what was that, a billion dollars?) may have been a long play to get Spider-Man on his team, it sure was a lot easier for Clint Barton to swing by San Francisco and drag Scott Lang to Germany (it only looked like Lang had been drugged in a van for a day; we can assume he was merely disco-napping since the airport). I guess Lang was blinded by Cap’s celebrity, but wow, that’s Donald Trump-fan levels of denial.
  16. Why didn’t anyone acknowledge just how much #teamironman WAY over-matched #teamcap? (Especially when you see Hawkeye running into a fray while NOT notching arrows.) It wasn’t anywhere close to a fair 6-on-6: in the comics, Iron Man, War Machine, The Vision, and Spider-Man could have, each by himself, done fairly well against Cap’s six with the possible exception of Wanda (hard to tell which canonical powers she has or can control). Perhaps Ant-Man saying “uh, guys, is this a fair fight?” would have hurt Cap’s stock price.
  17. If Cap and Bucky were always gonna commandeer that jet – as The Vision and Black Widow seemed to know – wouldn’t it have been easier for Iron Man to just slash its tires or likewise? (Maybe they were going to steal whatever jet they could. Is it that easy to just press the buttons and get a plane moving?)
  18. Would Iron Man and War Machine really worry that much about The Falcon chasing them? What was The Falcon gonna do, spit on them? And can The Falcon really fly as fast as a jet? (IM and WM were chasing a jet.) Can’t IM and WM blast their own bogeys and not ask a robot do to it from 1000s of feet away? As a comic fan I love setting up Wanda and The Vision’s vulnerability for each other (didn’t think the movies would ever have time to go there), but there had to be more plausible ways than this.
  19. I never thought I’d say this but: can we have more Scott Lang? In comics, Scott Lang can be kind of a drip, but now that he’s played by Paul Rudd I love that the movies make him Paul Ruddier, as in lines like “This is your conscience, we haven’t talked in a while.” The way he verbally set up the Giant-Man surprise was also letter-perfect. Yes, I loved Spidey and Black Panther as much as the next person, but just want to say that Marvel was smart to cast a smart-aleck; the larger Avengers dynamic needed it.
  20. Did that seem strange that Cap, Bucky, and Iron Man showed up to fight five Winter Soldiers, and they were all dead? What exactly did Baron Zemo use them for? $20 says that wasn’t in the script’s first draft, but someone said, “uh, the movie is already pushing 2 ½ hours, we need to trim something, how about we just have our heroes find them dead and skip straight to the final Tony-Steve battle?”
  21. In any previous movie, have we ever seen a missile silo with that many – well, any – internal ledges? On the other hand, I guess scientists do need to work on parts of the rocket…okay, all other movies with missile silos, you guys suck.
  22. How lucky was Baron Zemo to be able to execute that final Steve-Tony-Bucky battle? What if Sam Wilson hadn’t told Tony about the Siberia plan? What if Tony had decided not to go, or only with some of his friends (like The Vision)? What if Cap had just punched out the screen before Tony learned who killed his folks? Just saying, better to be lucky than good. (By the way, did Baron Zemo just become the first super-villain to win a movie without throwing a punch?)
  23. So, they thawed out Bucky in 1991, put him back into deep freeze, thawed him back out again in 2014, and now they’re deep freezing him again (per the mid-credits sequence)? How often do they refreeze this guy? I saw Winter Soldier but the logic still escapes me. Whatever, I hate all things Bucky.
  24. Let me get this straight: by movie’s end, Spider-Man is free and clear, and The Avengers are vigilantes? That’s quite the reversal from most Marvel comics.
  25. Tony looked back 25 years; how will movies like Captain America: Civil War look 25 years from now? I’ll answer that one. These are the salad days. Creating what’s effectively a Part 3 for two different but related franchises (Captain America and The Avengers) while raising the stakes and remaining somewhat original? Not as easy as it looks, and despite studio plans, not as replicable as you’d think. In 25 years, when we look back at the spinning plates of various franchise imperatives crossed with action scenes, acting, and character work done at this level of professionalism, there’s a verb that describes what we’ll do: marvel.