Captain America: Civil War – A Thothfull Movie Review
I Thoth thought…
(Maybe there will never be a comic book movie that ever beats Nolan’s The Dark Knight)
… Captain America: Civil War left me thinking only of The Dark Knight in comparison, after I was done with it. Both movies don’t share a similar plot and I’m thinking they’re both two different kinds of superhero movies altogether. So why the comparison? … I’m thinking, it’s because both movies exemplify just how all-appealing comic book movies can be, regardless of age group or whether you’ve actually read comics. After all, I’m thinking, superhero stories reflect the earliest tales we’ve been telling each other as humans – epic tales of heroism, good vs evil, darkness vs light…
(Am I sounding like that villain from that movie that this movie makes me wish all the more that it could have been so much better)
Dark & Light
I’m thinking, there’s always these two narrow categories I’ve been told comic book movies fall into – Dark as DC or light as Marvel. And while The Dark Knight (as a very dark movie) still is my number one comic movie and perhaps one the best movies I’ve ever seen, I’m thinking – Captain America: Civil War has proven to be all the great things a comic book movie can be (dark and light). Apart from kicking the Dark and Light stereotype in the nuts, by being a movie that doesn’t forget to make you laugh while telling you a dark tale, this movie makes light of casting 12 superheroes in sufficiently significant roles that’ll uniquely impact you, within a 2 and a half hour run-time.
The Dark – At the heart of it, I’m thinking, Captain America Civil War is a movie about the conflicting ideologies of earth’s mightiest heroes finally being set in opposition. Iron Man believes that the Avengers ought to be subservient and accountable to global leaders like humble peace-keeping forces, as opposed to being a private force that wages war on crime where and as they please in the world. Captain America believes that the chances of the Avengers’ autonomy being corrupted is comparatively lesser to any organization that governs their actions. And so in the absence of aliens and Ultrons they fight each other, and I’m thinking it’s bloody epic… but it’s also tragic, because I’m thinking I missed when they just fought over lifting Thor’s hammer.
(Alan Moore’s The Watchmen got it right in a way, when it concluded that the only way to keep humans from turning on each other, is by giving them aliens to unite against… which I’m assuming Infinity Wars will do again)
The Light – this movie is a super-fun action-packed hero vs hero face off, which evenly makes you want to root for all the heroes at the same time. I’m thinking, I can’t remember the last time I was so fully engrossed by a movie. It was so intense an experience, that 30 minutes or so into the movie, someone next to me uneasily shifted and momentarily broke the spell, reminding my dazed head that I was actually in a theater, watching this movie with other people. As for the usual Marvel humour you’re bound to expect, I’m thinking – if you’re thinking that Tony Stark is going to be the only funny guy as usual, then i’m thinking I shalt dropeth the names of two mans – namely an Ant-man and a Spiderman.
The combat in this movie is jaw-dropping, inventive and fresh with each action sequence, but most importantly it is intelligent and meticulously cares about each superhero’s strengths and weakness. I, Thoth vow that, if nothing else, every hero in this movie will WOW you in their own ass-kicking way, and I couldn’t help but talk of at least a few of them, if not all –
Scarlet Witch – I’m thinking, I really loved how they’ve used her in combat, like she’s some long-ranged team-supporting combatant in an RPG game, who’s constantly surveying and manipulating the battles from a distance with her powers. Powers deadly enough to start a war – I’m thinking.
Black Panther – So, I’m thinking, his name hints at a bestial fighting style, and while he can go toe to toe with all the other heroes (Hulk and Thor being off everyone’s list), this guy beats everybody on having the coolest super-suit. A panther-style-Batman-looking-Vibranium-covered suit- what could possibly be better? Chadwick Boseman gives the character emotional depth, even though Wakanda (Black Panther’s kingdom) is a fictional land, the African accent he developed for the movie makes you believe the place exists.
Falcon – Dude doesn’t just feel like a side-kick, I’m thinking. Watching him quickly switch between flight and fight maneuvers, using his wings to perform unusual close-combat and ranged acrobatics is a visual delight. I’m thinking, dude should name his own martial arts style called “The Flying Falcon Style”– he may just get a cameo in the next Kung Fu panda movie, like he did with Ant man
Ant-Man – Have you ever read menus at restaurants that simply describe some dishes as “It’s Fun! Try it”? Well I’m thinking, that’s Ant-Man – so obviously fun that not mentioning this obvious fact would be a disservice. By the way, I’m thinking, I should mention the Ant-Man movie (which previewed Civil War) actually hinted at Spider-Man at the funny final dialogue at movie’s end – “we got everything nowadays, we got a guy who jumps, we got a guy who swings, we got a guy who crawls up the wall…”
Spiderman – Finally! Marvel has – picked a perfect perky petite yet powerful Peter Parker. Abysmal alliteration aside, they’ve cast a great Spiderman in my Thothful opinion! He looks scrawny, weak, nervous and kind of underfed when out of costume, and so when he starts web-kicking ass and cracking jokes in true Spidey fashion, the impact of weak geek turning into strong superhero kicks in delightfully. I can’t help but place my bets on ‘Spiderman Homecoming’.
Captain America – The Russo Brothers have evolved everything right they did with Cap in Winter Soldier. This is one Marvel character that really feels like he’s upgrading with each movie and getting increasingly inventive with how he uses his shield (which being a blunt weapon, is oft mistaken for being a dull one). The Cap feels like he’s come a long way, especially from the first Avengers movie, where he was hardly a fan-favourite, barely keeping up with the Hulk, Thor and Iron Man’s combat prowess. Yet even then, I – Thoth, argued that he was the best of the lot because of how human he was and how he kept evolving and proving (like his origins story) that no matter how tiny humans seem, our ability to grow and inspire is greatest.
Iron man – All I’ll say is this, in this movie – you’re going to see what happens when Tony Stark as Iron Man goes all out lazer-blazing. And, I’m thinking, it gets kind of scary when the funny guy dramatically forces you to take him absolutely serious.
When the two fight (as shown in the trailer), I’m thinking, you can actually see how much they hate tearing each other apart, there’s so much despair on the Cap’s face with each sure punch that he throws. And, I’m thinking, both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. deserve much appreciation for playing that out perfectly.
Avengers v Vengeance –
The movie tactfully borrows some plot points from the Civil War comics, but takes a measured risk by pursuing it’s own themes, which I’m thinking are more related to modern warfare problems. One idea portraying how our human need for accountability, insurance and security dangerously borders on dominating all liberties that we may see as a threat (watch the Snowden trailer). Then there’s the cliched vengeance cycle we humans keep falling for, collateral damage = terrorism = collateral damage. Did I say cliched? But wait – isn’t “Vengeance” being a problem for the “Avengers” rather ironic? Interesting…
I’m thinking, there’s also a third ironical problem that lies in the fact that Captain America believes an individual must always do what he/she believes to be right, even if the whole world thinks it’s wrong. But don’t bad guys think they’re right matters more than what wrongs the world instead? … But do you see? –
The problem lies with us mistaking honest desire to be the same as right action? You may desire something that you know is wrong. “Doing what you believe is right” means being hard on yourself, it means denying yourself the convenience of indulging in the first thing your ego or desires dictate, it also means going against everything you stand for – if you don’t feel right about it anymore. And that’s what makes Captain America a true hero, the fact that he’s a patriot that seems likely to go against even America, if he feels it means “overthrowing tyranny”.
Iron Man on the other hand is “The Futurist” and he cares about the future, especially a future for the Avengers. He logically predicts that even if they don’t sign over the Avengers now, the day would come when the world they wish to protect would ask them to choose between signing up or signing on as super-villains.
Thoth’s Thought of the Day – “To be an avenger is to avenge those that need avenging. But when vengeance seeks the avenger, what then is true A-vengeance?”
This review contained no spoilers – unless you count me telling you that in the scene (in the trailer) when Captain America says “I can do this all day”, it’s an ironical and intelligent throwback to the first Captain America Movie.