Captain America 3 – Civil War

(Spoilers throughout)

It’s not every day Marvel blow up a building where your mother used to work.

I know there’s a rest of the film that isn’t set in Vienna, but I am, for somewhat obvious reasons, stuck on that bit.

Moving on to the actual film, although I will return to the above later, it’s definitely the best of the Captain America films and it’s a fine pragmatic adaptation of the Civil War story.  I use pragmatic in the best sense of the word, because whoever the writers are obviously went ‘what were the missteps of the comics Civil War arc, and how do we avoid them?’

And they have.  Even Tony Stark gets to make reasonable, sensible points, and the Sokovia Protocols are significantly less stupid than the Superhero Registration Act.  (My own views are somewhere between Cap’s and Vision’s, with a fair dose of Natasha’s thrown in.  You’ll notice I’m on Cap’s side despite that.)

Discussion of superhero politics

Admittedly I did mostly want to shout ‘stop falling for sentimental illogic’ at Tony, but at least his reasoning was better in the comics.  Part of my problem is that, Ultron excepted, I’m not sure any of the things that happened (New York, Washington or Lagos) would have ended in any other way had there been an oversight committee or if the Avengers hadn’t been there.  In fact, I’m reasonably sure that the Avengers not being there would have lead to far worse things in the case of New York, Washington and Lagos.  (To wit, alien invasion, Hydra getting hold of the Insight Programme and Hydra getting hold of a biological nasty.)

So while I dig Tony’s personal guilt re: Sokovia, I don’t think this is the best way of assuaging it.

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I basically came out of the film going ❤ T’Challa, Sam Wilson and Rhodey.  No really, all my love belongs to those three.

Also that Nat and Steve (and Clint and Rhodey and Sam) are the very, very best friends anyone could ever hope for (except mine.  My friends are the most awesome.).

Discussion of Steve’s Awesome

One of the things that really interested me is how everything that Steve does is defensive, from preventing Hydra getting hold of whatever the bionasty was, to protecting Bucky.  Even when he’s doing that, even at the end when Tony is (understandably) kill crazy, Steve’s also doing minimal damage.  He’s so lovely.

I also loved that shot just before the end of the fight with Tony where Tony thinks he’s won because Bucky is unconscious and Steve’s disarmed and Steve just puts up his fists and OMG he looks so much like pre-serum Steve, and, if Tony Stark without Iron Man is a billionaire playboy philanthropist, Steve without anything else is a heart of gold.

I also completely and utterly stars and hearts love that Steve’s motivation was ‘I don’t want them to kill my friend’.  Like he’d be okay with jailed, was okay with jailed, just not with killed and I just want to give him a hug.

Discussion about the bad guy

Okay so I saw Daniel Bruhl being sinister and he’s a German actor and I thought ‘oh no, here we go again’, but oh they went to interesting places instead and used Bruhl’s talents and that scene with Zemo and T’Challa!!!

It was interesting that they gave Zemo the same motivation as two of the good guys and had the good guys (or at least T’Challa) admit that.  And !!!! again.

I could have done without infinitely punchable psychiatrist (as ably portrayed by Martin Freeman) but Zemo as a whole was interesting.

Iron Man and the family Stark

When I say they made Tony Stark more reasonable than in the comics I meant it.  But that doesn’t mean he was any less himself than usual.  I mean, the rest of it, including the revenge rampage I can understand, but imprisoning Wanda and dragging in child soldiers, not so much.  (I do not care how old Peter is supposed to be, he looks like a child.)

He also did the usual Tony thing of starting something then not seeing it through.  So okay, Cap is out and away, (along with Bucky) and he’s okay with that, but he’s happy to leave Clint, Wanda, Sam and Scott Lang in prison.  Fuck you Tony with a vengeance.

Robert Downey jnr does a fantastic job throughout of being just lovable enough to get away with it and just aggravating enough to be Tony Stark.  He’s marvelous.  (As are whoever did the CGI work for young Tony because that’s uncanny.)

The twist of who was in the car is solid.  As in I didn’t twig before the film wanted me to.  (Also the music for that scene was really good.)  It’s also a solid example of when there is no “right” thing to do in a situation, which there are several of in the film, which I really like.  I can see Tony’s point that he had a right to know, but that suggests that if it had been AN Other SHIELD agent who’d been killed, he’d be okay with it (see also being okay with Black Widow despite what she’s done).  Then again, Steve’s reason for not telling him isn’t exactly selfless either, ‘I know how you will react and I would like you to not go kill-crazy on my best friend’ is again, understandable if flawed.  As usual Marvel, both films and comics, is best when its messy rather than clear cut.

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Now we get to the bit where I snark.  About things like the German armed police being involved in a raid in Bucharest, and all the cars having the wrong number plates.  And the area around the UN buildings being nothing like that.  I was hopeful when the establishing shot was right but the location shooting was blatantly not in Vienna.

But yes, I did have a fun moment of going ‘yay, it’s my home town they’re blowing up,’ which friend L says is odd because he’s getting sick of London being blown up in films.

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While I still think this should and could have been Avengers 3 (even without Hulk and Thor), the ending bit made it clear why this was named for Captain America.  Oh Steve!

Batman vs Superman

Batman vs Superman was two, maybe two and a half good films, frankensteined into one that doesn’t quite work.


I actually really liked Superman vs Lex Luthor (except for the bits where they make Lex too Jokerish [not every supervillain has to be the Joker, DC], and the bit at the end where they reduce him to a herald for Darkseid. Which is not Lex Luthor’s job.). Lex is evil in a clever way, and Clark gets to be lovely (mostly).

Batman vs Superman was quite good, except for the bits where Clark was an idiot. Because Clark isn’t an idiot. I’m even okay with self-righteousness, but I don’t think I’m supposed to think ‘shut up Superman, you don’t understand what’s going on. Think a little harder.’ at various points. Unfortunately, they gave Alfred the same “logic” and, well, I really don’t like going ‘shut up Alfred’. I am so totally on Batman’s side on this one.

I will even accept their excuse for the new Batsuit, even if, in that sequence, I wanted to go ‘Clark, the quick solution to this is to tell Bats what’s going on’. I really don’t like it when they make Superman stupid. (Also, I know people who can lift more than Batman. That’s just wrong 😉 )

Despite the fact that I think Wonder Woman was the third best thing about the film (Batfleck and Lex Luthor are 1 and 2), I could have done without that Justice League stuff being shoved in. Most of it (except the wonderful ‘some boys share’ bit) felt rushed and squashed and took up valuable time in the film.


What I really don’t get is how of the characters the one they get right is Bruce Wayne. Who theoretically is the difficult one to do right. I don’t like their Superman, I have some issues with their Lois (very few, mostly I love her) and Clark, but Bruce and Batsy I love.

No, really, I want to draw stars and hearts around Ben Affleck’s Bruce and I’m actually quite sad that I won’t get an Affleck solo Bat film.

It might be that it is easier to do grimdark Bruce and still be true to the character than it is to do Superman grimdark and still get the real Superman in there (I do think it’s possible. David Goyer is just not the guy to do it.).


I know the film wants us to go ‘yes, Superman and Alfred are right about Bruce weaponising kryptonite’ and yet, Superman might not be the only Kryptonian about and there’s no point assuming the rest of them are going to be cuddly. I am once again on Team Bats.


Two things really annoyed me:


1 – The evil terrorists at the start, I think I’m supposed to be annoyed when they kill Lois’s sidekick rather than being really angry at him (and the CIA) for endangering every other journalist in the world.

2 – Since when is Superman American? Why is he getting a US military funeral? I realise that when the MCU mentions the rest of the world it’s ham-fisted, but hey, at least they try. I wouldn’t mind if Batman vs Superman was just hyper-focused on Gotham and Metropolis (like the Nolan Bat films are), but it’s not, in the oddest ways.

Also, in a much smaller way, why is Luthor suddenly half-German?


I could also have done without Snyder’s continuing love affair with the slow-mo, and the constant Messianic overtones with Superman. I have spent enough time in art museums to know most of the archetypal paintings Snyder is ripping off. And it is ripping off, not referencing. 

The other thing I didn’t like is spoilery. 

Superman’s “death”. 

The phrase, ‘like you really would’ springs to mind. It robs the scene of all pathos. I think badly injured would have been better and actually more tear-jerking. 

This all sounds more negative than I actually felt about the film.  It’s enjoyable popcorn and would probably be better without its pretensions.