By Ashley Pauls
Box Office Buzz
The Avengers have faced some difficult opponents, either as a team or on their own: the Red Skull, Loki, the Mandarin, Ultron. However, in “Captain America: Civil War,” they face a new kind of enemy: each other. “Civil War” divides the Avengers, forcing them to align with either Iron Man or Captain America. Iron Man believes superheroes should sign a government document that will keep them all accountable; Captain America fears the government will abuse that power and it would be dangerous to sign. They are also split on exactly how the Winter Soldier — the Cap’s brainwashed best friend Bucky Barnes — should be brought to justice. This conflict will challenge and even ruin friendships, and it will bring an end to the Avengers as we know them.
“Captain America: Civil War” is a tense, thought-provoking superhero film that is both global and personal in its scope. It ventures into definite moral gray areas and sometimes it’s tough to decide who is actually doing the right thing. Although there are a lot of superheroes, and a lot of subplots, the Russo brothers — who also helmed 2014’s excellent “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” — successfully manage everything that’s going on and never lose sight of the central conflict between Iron Man and the Cap. “Civil War” is a must-see for Marvel fans and shakes up the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Civil War” starts by examining a theme that, a little surprisingly, is often overlooked in superhero films: collateral damage. When superheroes battle super-powered villains, city blocks tend to get leveled and the landscape gets destroyed. We may not like to think about it, but in these types of epic battles, civilian casualties would be difficult to avoid. In “Civil War,” Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch, inadvertently kills civilians while trying to stop a bomb. This incident appears to be the last straw in a long line of catastrophic Avengers-related events (New York, Washington, D.C., Sokovia), and the United Nations presents the Avengers with a document called the Sokovia Accords, which are designed to control them and keep them accountable.
Normally the rebel but now haunted by his past mistakes, Tony Stark is one of the first to sign. However, Steve Rogers can’t bring himself to do the same. He’s afraid of giving the government this kind of control, and he is concerned the government could abuse this power. He also believes Bucky Barnes is a victim of brainwashing, even though the government has labeled his as a No. 1 priority terrorist and has ordered their agents to kill him on sight. Captain America ends up going rouge with Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, and several other Avengers, and Tony is forced to hunt him down with the help of War Machine, Vision, and Black Widow — and a couple surprise allies.
While there’s a lot going on in “Civil War,” the directors keep everything running smoothly, and it feels like every character and plot point gets just the right amount of screen time. It’s a more satisfying film than last summer’s “Age of Ultron,” which remains the only MCU film that I don’t own and the only one that left me feeling slightly disappointed. “Civil War” does a better job of managing its large cast and finding time for some quieter, more character-focused moments, even in the midst of all the action. Marvel’s weak link is sometimes its villains, and you could say this film’s villain, Helmut Zemo, isn’t as dynamic as he could have been. But this film was never really meant to be about the Avengers fighting an outside villain: it’s about what happens when they fight each other, and Zemo is merely the catalyst who facilitates that conflict.
Although this is very much the Cap and Iron Man’s film, there are some great cameo appearances and newcomers here. I was excited to see Ant-Man join the Avengers for the first time, and the revelation of his new “special ability” is one of the best — and funniest — moments of the film. I also really loved Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther, and I’m excited for his upcoming solo film. He brings an outside perspective to the conflict, and he’s definitely a superhero you want to have on your side. And no review of “Civil War” would be complete without talking about Spider-Man. I was a little nervous about how the character would blend with the Avengers, but the Russos handle his introduction marvelously, sending Tony Stark to recruit the excitable and lovably awkward teenager. It’s also a blast to see him using his powers in the big showdown between the opposing groups of superheroes.
The film ends on a slightly ambiguous note, which I was actually happy about. There’s not a direct resolution to the conflict, and the Russos don’t completely repair the division in the team. I was concerned the film would try to rush and wrap everything up too neatly, and thankfully, it doesn’t do that. The conflict will continue to impact Marvel films in the future. All in all, I was very pleased with “Civil War.” I’m not sure yet exactly where this ranks on my list of favorite MCU films, but it’s definitely in the top 5. I guess I’ll just have to go see it again.
MARVEL’s Phase Three begins here! And it begins with a story that we’re sure is going to make us emotionally compromised! Best friend vs best friend over previous best friend! To discuss this movie, the comics that inspired it, and what to look forward in it, RevNews hosts Gary Mitchel & Tegan Hendrickson have called together a group of registered experts on the MCU: Mike Nelson, Ryan Guthrie and host of our ESO sister show, Earth Station MCU, Jennifer Hartshorn!
Tune in as our comic book heroes discuss if Tony is a supervillain now; Steve’s character arc vs Tony’s in the MCU; they try not to get Tegan started on the “Martha” thing again; what Spidey’s role in all this is going to be; everyone’s love of the Russo brothers; how we need Captain America branded tissues for the screening; the Team Cap and Team Tony lineups, with how Steve should have played some MMOs before this to better understand making a balanced team; a breakdown on known Infinity Gems so far; Mike’s need for Zemo to be Cobra Commandered; Tegan’s terrible Force Awakens joke and the greenhouse mystery.
The RevolutionSF RevNews theme music is “20 Minutes of Oxygen” by Darkest of the Hillside Thickets. Find them at Thickets.net.
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What’s this? Two podcasts in one day? Has Jen found the Time Gem? No, she’s just had her hands full and hasn’t had a chance to edit. In this episode, John and Jen recap the highs and lows of Marvel’s Phase Two, including Iron Man 3,Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy,and Age of Ultron. You’ll have to wait for the next episode to hear our thoughts on Ant-Man. We also discuss what we’re looking forward to in Phase Three, including the introduction of new characters, sequels, and three huge team-up movies. Of course, since we recorded this shortly after SDCC, we also talk about the latest news on Agent Carter, Agents of SHIELD, and the rest of the MCU as well.
Earth Station MCU on Facebook
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John Rabon at Anglotopia.net
John Rabon’s Cosplay page
Daredevil Season 2 filming
Elektra cast for Daredevil Season 2
Agent Carter at SDCC
Agent Carter Panel
Agents of SHIELD at SDCC
Dubsmash Wars at SDCC
No new “Agent Carter” this week, but Earth Station MCU is back with our third episode! While there are no movies set in the period following Agent Carter up to the start of Phase One with Iron Man, we know a lot about the characters who were influencing events in the MCU during that time. Join Jen, John, Brian and The Phantom Troublemaker as we talk about this week’s news, the Ant-Man trailer, upcoming MCU toy releases and much more!
Earth Station MCU on Facebook
John Rabon at Anglotopia.net
The Phantom Troublemaker at Needless Things
Brian Eason at ComicBookResources.com
The Geek Forge
The Marvel Cinematic Universe Omnibus
Star Lord vs. Captain America – Superbowl 2015
JC and Rita are back and going on MARVEL movie overload! From Blade to Captain America – The Winter Soldier, the dynamic duo break down the MARVEL Cinematic Universe and all things in between! In our Audio Theater segment, the Atlanta Radio Theater Company gives you Narobi Jack Rackham. In Doctor Who, we tell you what Tom Riley might be playing in the show, we tell you why the TARDIS hates Clara (according to Moffat) and we review the Eighth Doctor audio The Seasons of Fear. All this and more on TFA 73!
Links and Lineup after the jump