Saturday, 30 April 2016

10 Things I Liked About Captain America: Civil War

Spoilers

So I’ve just seen Captain America: Civil War, my expectations for it were so low you’d have to dig for them – I loathed Civil War the comic book and I’m still sick of the Winter Soldier from when he was Captain America Buckycap. In short – it was brilliant (except I want to know how Cap got from America to OH VIENNA so fast, I thought Quicksilver was dead), I’m now going to spit into the ocean by posting about it online. I write a blog on the internet so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise I think my opinion is of vast importance to the human race but my credentials include:
I’ve read every Avengers book up until Siege, and many after that, and yes I hate what Brian Michael Bendis did to them, but then I just hate Brian Michael Bendis’ writing on 616 books in general (Ultimate Spider-Man rocked though).
I’ve read every issue of Iron Man up to Extremis, then some of what came later
I’ve read every issue of Captain America up until Bucky took over, then I just stopped caring, I’ve read some stuff since then
I haven’t quite read every Spider-Man book up until Spider-Verse, but mostly these holes are small chunks of Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man and a few arcs in the wake of One More Day, I have read One More Day and One Moment in Time though, and predictably I hated both of them, also I’ve read every issue of Web of Spider-Man, in fact I used to own every issue of that series, fuck knows why.
I’ve read all of Black Panthers books also; I even slogged through Reginal Hudlin’s run, which I think counts as self-harm, at the very least it counts as emotional self-harm.
I have no idea what percentage of Ant-Man stories I’ve read, I’ve read all of Ant-Man’s original run in Tales to Astonish anyway.
I’m not saying all this to show off, it’s very hard to use hours of reading books you know you won’t like in a dick measuring contest, I’m just saying this to show that I’m actually pretty well qualified to talk about Captain America movies (and yes I’ve seen the previous two, and the two Reb Brown ones).  
So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

1. Cap’s Kooky Quartet
There’s a lot of good things about who turned up on Captain America’s side in the film but the fact that his team included ‘Cap’s Kooky Quartet’ as best it could (poor Pietro) made me even happier. For those who aren’t sad – all of the founding Avengers quit the team pretty early on, leaving only Captain America (who was granted founder status at some point but didn’t actually found the team), who hired Quicksilver, The Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye to form a new Avengers line-up known as ‘Cap’s Kooky Quartet’, the fact that all surviving members of this line-up were on his side was so cool for an old-school Avengers fan like myself, oh and wanna know who the first team member to join the Kooky Quartet (and make it a quintet) was?

2. Giant Man!
Well technically he was Goliath at that point but fuck it, it’s a good segue. I already knew that Giant Man was going to appear because Funko showed off a Pop! Vinyl of him (nice one, lads) but it was still brilliant. A friend of mine pointed out how nice it was to see that they actually gave Ant Man, Scott Lang and Giant Man different styles of fighting and movement, i.e. Ant Man is quick while Giant Man is very slooooow, I did notice this also but he said it first so I’m mentioning him. Everything about Lang using the Giant Man powers was great; it was a great diversion, Iron Man’s reaction to it was great, Spidey bringing him down while talking about The Empire Strikes Back was great, the fact that a clone of Thor didn’t show up and kill him was great, I'm really very impressed.

3. The Vision/Scarlet Witch Ship Tease
Vision and Scarlet Witch for life, bitches. I literally squeed when it was The Vision who saved the Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but I quite possibly melted into a puddle seeing them have cute domestic moments and him holding her after the battle in the airfield, and being so ‘distracted’ by her that he accidentally shot the wrong awesome black man, actually that’s a point:

4. Awesome Black Men
You want to know a good way of elevating non-white characters to improve the diversity of your superhero line of comics? Don’t replace characters with minorities causing resentment before they’ve even had a chance to prove themselves in the suit, don’t randomly race-lift white characters, put pre-existing non-white characters in a high profile theatrical film and have them all be FUCKING BADASS throughout. In a film where everyone was awesome it should show you the sheer level of Falcon’s awesomeness that he stood out as being extra awesome, War Machine has been superb since Iron Man, though Don Chile (who I really like) looks nothing like James Rhoades and should never have been cast (but then all black people look alike don’t they Ike Permutter?1) the guy’s just naturally funny as fuck and gave Rhoadey the same charisma boost that Downey Jr gave Stark and then there’s Black Panther, I do think Chadwick Boseman is a little too cuddly to be T’Challa (really, he’s kind of adorable, T’Challa’s always had harder features, probably a result of being created by Jack Kirby) but he was great as the Panther, actually that leads us to point number 5 (Which as going to be number 4 until I wrote number 3)     

5. These Actors (and Stunt Men) Move Like the Characters
I say this after every Marvel Cinematic Universe film and my friends must be so sick of it but with Black Panther and ESPECIALLY Spider-Man debuting in this film and watching Gotham and seeing the X-Men: Age of Apocalypse trailer before the film, it all really highlighted it. Someone has trained the people playing these characters to move like them, I dunno who’s job this is, but they do it for everyone, Captain America doesn’t just jump, he jumps like Captain America is drawn jumping, Spider-Man doesn’t just crawl across things or swing on webs, he does this the way he’s drawn doing these things, even characters where it would be less noticeable like Black Widow or Ant-Man, they still do it. It is immeasurably useful in making me believe that these people are these characters because, well, they aren’t exactly comic book accurate in looks or costumes (Hawkeye remains the worst offender).

6. Bonus Hawkeye!
I completely missed that Hawkeye that was in this film, so when the man Falcon knew turned out to be Clint Barton, and he rescued the Scarlet Witch (who he spent a fair amount of Avengers issues trying to bang once upon a time), I was so happy I made an audible noise. Now I tend to be fairly quiet watching a film for the first time in the cinema because I’m usually paying attention – I’m half deaf and what little hearing I have has to work really hard in a cinema environment, I find a combination of someone talking next to me and wind a challenge on my good ear, so the combination of dialogue, background music, sound effects, ground noise, volume, echo and Mike making amusing comments means that my audible outbursts aren’t as common as they are when I’m say, watching a DVD or telly programme. I made a noise for Hawkeye, I can never decide if Hawkeye or the Vision is my favourite Avenger, both are good for different reasons, both were horribly mistreated by Brian Michael Bendis and both are better than Iron Man but not as good as Cap in Data East’s Captain America and the Avengers (play it on MAME, do it now!), but besides all this the reason I got so excited was because Hawkeye was dead during the Civil War comic book so we never got to see how he’d react and who’s side he’d pick, now I knew full well he’d be on Team Cap (but this was the book that had Cable – a man who grew up fighting a dictator – join Team Iron Man) but this movie  made it official.  

7. Cap and Agent 13’s Kiss
I made an audible noise for this too. I am continually disturbed by how much casual shipping I engage in and have always engaged in – this is the second item on this list to do with relationships and I simply haven’t had time to complain about how giving Movie Hawkeye the Ultimate Hawkeye’s family and not having him be with Mockingbird – which is how it should be – oh look, now I have. But seriously I waited three films and pages and pages of Peggy/Cap shippers’ posts for this moment, Captain America’s OTP (get over it Tony/Steve fans) is finally acknowledged in the movie universe - Steve Rogers and Sharon Carter. And it was enhanced by amusing scenes featuring Falcon, Winter Soldier and a Volkswagen Beetle.  

8. Tom Holland as Peter Parker
It’s like they took Steve Ditko’s Peter Parker and John Romita’s Peter Parker and squished them into one human. I often complain about casting in live action things based on comics because it continues to befuddle me how people who cast for a living cannot match a person to a picture, I’m not a casting director and I can tell if someone looks like someone else so why can’t they? I really wouldn’t want the casting team behind Gotham working for the police (ironic?), “why have you had this man arrested, he looks nothing like our photo fit?” “Well he’s a man, and he’s American, that’s good enough right?”. Holland almost makes up for making Aunt May sexy, really I’d’ve thought that if one Marvel character was immune to being sexied up it would have been Aunt fucking May, but then Gotham made Bullock and The Penguin sexy2 so I should have known no one was safe.  

9. Aunt May’ Meat Loaf
This is not a euphemism, though probably will be now Aunt May is ridiculously sexy, but Tony Stark is waiting for Peter Parker to come home in this film and what’s he eating (because Movie Tony Stark is never not eating)? Aunt May’s famous meat loaf. When did this become a thing? I can’t remember when it wasn’t a thing and I’m certainly not trawling through hundreds of Spider-Man issues to find out the first mention of Aunt May’s ‘unique’ meat loaf but I’m sure it dates back to Stan Lee’s run as scripter.  It’s such a little thing, but it’s the little things – like oooh say a Spider Signal? – that make the Marvel Cinematic Universe just so much better than any other company’s comic book adaptations, except Iron Man 3, no amount of little things, nor even my secret love of Gwyneth Paltrow, well formerly secret love, could make me like that piece of shit.     

10. It Made Me Like a Marvel Story Called Civil War
This may not seem like a big deal to you imaginary readers because you don’t know me personally, or at all, but I HATE Civil War the comic book and I am very open about this, I dislike the thing so much that ‘it’s only a comic book’ is actually an acceptable and appropriate thing to say, I should not be this angry at a comic book after this many years. But I LOVED this film. Everything that annoyed me about Civil War, this film didn’t do – which is probably really guiling if you’re a fan of the book – this was, for me, Civil War done right, it still hit most of the plot points of Civil War – an accident caused by a superhero team causes an outcry, a legislation is put through to limit their ability to perform, Captain America disagrees with it on principle, Iron Man supports it on principle and the other heroes choose sides, there’s a big fight, hell Iron Man even imprisons his friends, but the way it did these things, the better writing, the subtlety, the sympathetic portrayal of both sides, the things they took the time to do that Millar and the other fighting writers of the comics didn’t do, hell that the characters stayed in character, I’m not going to turn this into a rant against Civil War the comic because I’m too tired at the moment and you really don’t want to hear it, but yeah the best thing about this film for me is that it made me like Civil War, albeit the movie version.  


1 I’m not just being randomly racist; the CEO of Marvel Comics – Ike Perlmutter – really implied that when responding to the change of actor for James Rhoades.
2 the continual references to Gotham is because I’ve only just started watching season 1, I generally put off watching anything live action and DC because I usually hate it (I haven’t seen Superman Vs Batman yet, I will, sometime, under protest) but I was so impressed by The Flash season 1 (Linda Park is the best piece of casting in a live action DC anything, yes better than Jack Nicholson as the Joker, better even than Frank Gorshin as the Riddler) I thought I’d give Gotham a try. I’m not too pleased so far, but mostly I would like to know why the whole production team is deathly afraid of moustaches.   

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