GEEK OUT! CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR – GETTING BEHIND THE HYPE (SPOILERS!)

Civil War poster

If the critics are to be believed, Captan America: Civil War is the best superhero movie ever made and Batman V Superman is the worst. But what is really at issue here? One is a Marvel movie and the other isn’t. It’s really as simple as that. Simply put, every criticism of BVS can also be validly levelled at Civil War but the latter gets a free pass, every single time. This bias is not unusual for Marvel fans – its comic fans were famously labelled as ‘Marvel Zombies’ back in the 80s for supporting Marvel no matter how awful the stories and characters were.

Don’t get us wrong, we loved and enjoyed Civil War, but it’s not the best superhero movie ever. How can it be when it does not surpass the likes of The Dark Knight or even Spider-Man 2, never mind Guardians of the Galaxy?!? So let’s move past the hype and examine Civil War the way in which critics have eviscerated BVS, shall we?

Critics were incredulous that Batman would fall for Lex Luthor’s manipulation, and resolve to destroy Superman. But Zemo’s plot is even flimsier. Let us count the ways. 

He manages to easily get through the lax security at the Vienna conference to blow up the place and implicate Bucky Barnes.

He has no trouble impersonating the psychiatrist that visits Barnes – the security is so lax it’s not funny.

He activates an EMP device, which he was storing in his hotel room (!) – how in the world he managed to transport the device to his hotel room (!) is never explained.

He lures Captain America and Barnes to the abandoned Siberian base by leaving clues to other Hydra super-soldiers (more about them later).

Now this is the kicker. Somehow, he has to hope that Iron Man will – (a) discover that Barnes was framed for the bombing and (b) get information from Falcon (whom he has just locked up) that Cap and Barnes are headed for Siberia. Why would Falcon divulge that information to Tony Stark, someone who has just proven that he cannot be trusted?

That last bit is just too convenient to be true. Only then, can Zemo be in a position to reveal to Stark that Barnes killed his parents – which turns Iron Man from hero to would-be murderer – how’s that for flawed characterisation, as well. But it’s okay if Iron Man wants to kill someone, but Batman and Superman can’t do the same, even if it’s accidental.

In addition, critics were complaining about the characterisation of Lex Luthor and how Luthor’s plan was ridiculous. Well, Marvel Zombies, how do you like the manner in which Baron Zemo has been portrayed? This antagonist is so non-descript, there was no reason whatsoever to link him with Baron Zemo, he could be anyone who has an axe to grind with the Avengers for Sokovia.

Which makes it all the more baffling how a nobody was able to do this to the Avengers, without much difficulty and what’s more, succeeded. That bond between Cap and Iron Man has been irreparably damaged. Yet, the critics get upset when Batman and Superman work out their differences and decide to work together? This bias makes no sense!

One more thing, at the end Iron Man demands to know if Cap knew that Barnes had murdered his parents, to which Cap said he did. When did Cap find out? Did this happen off-screen? Worse still, Cap simply shrugs off the fact that he kept such important information away from a colleague and friend as if it was nothing. That does not sound like the Cap we know and love from the comic books. And yet again, the critics do not bat an eyelid about the flawed characterisation.

Well, that’s the main issue that stuck in the craw when analysing Civil War. But in the spirit of the critics who slammed BVS at every turn, here’s our nitpicking list of other things we did not like about Civil War.

Why weren’t the other super-soldiers mentioned in Winter Soldier? If HYDRA had five other operatives like Barnes, why did they not use them? Also, if Barnes was not the only option, why was Alexander Pierce so dead set on using him. After all, logically, Barnes would be a risk due to his previous connections with Steve Rogers, which might threaten HYDRA’s hold over him. In that context, would not the other 5 super-soldiers be a safer bet? In any case, five always better than one!

Sebastian Stan’s limited wooden acting. His only emotion is grimace and maybe that is supposed to reflect his mental state of mind but his acting is so bad that it’s impossible to get a feel of Barnes’ character. There is also no chemistry between Rogers and Barnes – but there is between Rogers and Stark, which makes the whole story even more mystifying and unrealistic.

Again, it was too easy and convenient for Sharon Carter to recover Cap’s and Falcon’s gear – she just drove out of a secured complex with the items in her boot? Lax security – becomes a convenient plot device.

Spider-Man’s appearance was problematic to say the least. When Civil War was written, Spider-Man was not in the equation cuz the Marvel-Sony deal had not been finalised. But once it had been, Marvel felt the need to shoe-horn Spidey into the plot with ridiculous consequences. Are we to believe that Stark was callous enough to recruit a teenager – barely six months into the use of his powers – to risk his life in a super-powered battle? If so, then Stark is really an arsehole – is that the characterisation that the writers wanted to communicate in Civil War? The entire sequence was awkward – Tom Holland makes for an awful Peter Parker – whiny and annoying, Aunt May is now a MILF (Marisa Tomei, of all people) and it’s just an extended advert for the Spider-Man movie to come. Shameless on Marvel’s part, who usually get their own characters right. At this moment, Holland does not come close to Tobey Maguire or even Andrew Garfield as a believable Spidey/Peter Parker. Of course, the Marvel Zombies are eating it all up – ‘we’re finally getting the real Spider-Man!’. Not really.

The best part of Civil War was the airport confrontation – Avenger vs Avenger. Although, it did seem like a training exercise rather than a visceral battle. Everybody seemed to be holding back. Except Vision. That last bit with War Machine seemed tacked on to demonstrate that there were stakes involved in this battle, even if it all was rather humourous. Note that just before, Wanda had been attacked by War Machine, Vision came in to comfort Wanda before shooting an energy beam ostensibly at Falcon, who ducked out of the way and hit War Machine instead. Did Vision intend that all along? Was he getting revenge for Wanda? Was the Infinity Stone in control of Vision at that moment?

We could go on but hopefully, there is enough evidence to demonstrate that fans and critics alike are being biased towards Civil War and have been unfair to BVS. After all, watching movies is not like a sporting event, you can support both Marvel and DC movies, it does not have to be one or the other – as it has seemed to be, judging from the last three months.

… still there’s more …