Josh’s Movie Review Catch-Up Extravaganza, Captain America: Civil War
By Josh Morris
In “Captain America: Civil War,” the federal government via the newly promoted Secretary of State Ross (William Hurt) decides to enact the Hero Registration Act, a law that places global regulations on when a hero may act. This results in a deep division amongst the Avengers, with Iron Man (Downey Jr.) supporting the Act claiming the team “must accept limitations” and Captain America (Chris Evans) dissenting due to his believe that the “free will to choose” is more virtuous than political convenience.
A ranking of the MCU’s best to worst entries would leave “Civil War” close to the bottom, only slightly above Iron Man 2 (2010), which is far from praise-worthy. I understand the Russo Brothers may have they set the bar considerably high for themselves with the near-perfect Captain America: Winter Soldier (2012)–their Marvel debut–but “Civil War’s” shortcomings come mostly from the sense that it’s merely a stepping stone to other films. Bigger films. A preamble to the Phase 3. The producers force us to sit through the introduction of so many characters meant to come into play in later films, and all we’re left with in return is a little more conversation, a lot less action and a choppy pace. Naturally, Spider-Man was played flawlessly by the newest reboot’s star Tom Holland, but other newly introduced characters like Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) have too much time on screen and others like Crossbones have too little.
What’s more, the title is shockingly deceptive: it was something of a disappointment to sit through “Civil War” and–here there are spoilers–not have Captain America die. That is the zenith of the Civil War in the comics! Not only that, but to have none of the established characters die isn’t very much of a “war” at all; it amounts basically to superhero tag. The only time one of the Avengers even got seriously injured was caused by accident.
I wasn’t expecting a blood bath or anything (that’s what Games of Thrones is for) and I don’t expect or even want R-rated violence in every Marvel movie (it only works well in some, like this year’s Deadpool), but the inability to kill a character due to financial motivations or creative limitation is still a form of cinematic immortality in its own way and rings entirely untrue in this film. And it’s boring! The certainty of death is something that connects humanity. George Herbert put it best when he wrote, “the blast of death’s incessant motion, fed with the exaltation of our crimes, drives all at last.” Basically, nobody’s perfect and everyone dies. This is especially important when dealing with “superhuman” characters. Why should the audience care if there’s no real threat to the existence of the characters? If they always have the moral high ground? If there’s no real connection to them?
Rather, why should they continue to care, film after film, purchased ticket after purchased ticket?
Captain America is a character who has tried to kill himself in a desperate act of heroism and even that didn’t work! There’s something lacking in surprise, suspense and storytelling when we already know the fate of a character.