Sunday, May 06, 2018

Captain America, Civil War

I watched this over the past two days, in prep for seeing The Avengers tomorrow. I’m a bit wore out with these movies but it was largely pretty good. The Marvel Universe is worth examining and deconstructing.

The character of Captain America intrigues, what with him being lost in time. Fighting Axis originally then into the future to fight whatever in the name of justice. Obviously he verges on zealot with his enthusiasm as one man army. In the movies he’s so earnest. Chris Evans is pretty much perfect in the role. He's not flouncing around with the pain of his circs. He just goes forth against the angry tide.

Civil War takes the unusual step for Hollywood of contemplating (however superficially) the idea of collateral damage. Think of Independence Day where so many are killed and so much damaged and it is yay! when the aliens lose. Dum-de-dum-dum, we won. Superheroes just let everything go when it’s clobbering time. Here, tho, the King of an African nation dies during a Super Battle and lo, the idea of registering your superhero arises.

Half The Avengers, working the self-guilt, acquiesce to this bureaucratic demand. The rest believe vigilantism is a good thing because they do it and they are good. Captain America is particularly believable in that way. And don’t forget Hawkeye, who wants to go back to his home and family, and perhaps a paying job, but evil exists and he must fight.

I never saw Winter Warrior, the previous Cap flick. In it, Cap's former sidekick, Bucky, who played Robin to Cap's Batman, appears in the present as Dark Side Captain America. Civil War begins with evil Bucky. He's a bad guy for a while until I don't know how, Cap brings him back to the Good side. Also there's a guy seeking vengeance for the death of his family, who died in that ridiculous Ultron-induced floating city disaster. The physics of which...

The son of the dead king shows up as Black Panther. He seeks revenge on the perps of his father's death, caused by a wayward levitation by Scarlet Witch that destroys a building. Revenge, thou art an excuse for sequels. From there to the end we see a lot of intramural sparring. Spider-Man and Antman show up. More like cameos, they supply some antics and further twine the various strings of Marvel Universe Inc.

I think we're on the third cinematic Spidey. I didn't think improvements were needed on the first but I have to say, offering him up as a nerdy but enthusiastic teen hit the right chord, at least in this small dose.

Civil War comes down, and I mean down, to Cap and Bucky battling Iron Man. The question arises: why do these people all fight hand to hand? No one gets hurt, if you're knocked down you get up. It seems like Iron Man's armoury would have something that would turn Captain America and Bucky into smoke but in the end Cap wins. The near impossibility of injury takes a big bite out all all this rough house stuff. It's some nice sound and fury but drama is left to a soft simmer.

We can surely turn to Shakespeare for myriad examples of the twisting power of revenge. Our superheroes tend to boil that down to an outsized incompatibility with life issues. Only the simple expedients of crashing, banging, exploding and so on shall soothe their souls. There, my friends, is the nature of contemporary politics, the unexamined ache of anger. I do not hold Marvel responsible but that's the abiding business plan.

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