Clocking in at 2 hr 26 min, there’s a lot to Captain America 3: Civil War. And I don’t just mean “a lot of superpowered characters” or “a lot of witty dialogue”, but kind of everything all over the place. There’s a great deal many threads that could be cut and leave the plot intact, so it’s fascinating to think about what those mean. At some point I’ll talk about some of these threads, but here’s just a list of *stuff* in this movie that deserves reflection.
- The core argument between Iron Man and Captain America.
- Is Steve Rogers being libertarian? Anarchist? Quaker? If he motivated by just tribal loyalty to his friends?
- Uses of emotional blackmail at Tony Stark that lead to him searching for solutions to show he feels pain, rather than have good results.
- In general the demands that Stark and the Avengers show they feel pain and loss, rather than specific requests they do or not do things.
- Everything about Zemo, and both the sympathetic treatment and measure of success he achieves.
- The Scarlet Witch and Vision’s melodrama of a witch and god in a tower having feelings at each other.
- Steve’s protectiveness of the Scarlet Witch, while rarely directly interacting with her. He feels the initial accident was his fault, he rejects Stark not because of Bucky but when he finds out Wanda was detained, and he reaches out to her when he needs help. He actually seems more connected to her than Vision is.
- Ant Man’s extended Kaiju-cinema sequence.
- The repeated commands of “Move, or else” and the like.
- Spider-man Spider-man Spider-man. What does it say about Stark that he recruited a high schooler to fight in his war, complete with propaganda? The quips in his fight scene, and the way he neutralizes enemies without hurting them, his neon-plastique looking costume in an otherwise dour crew of outfits. And him having as much charisma as any other actor on screen.
- Black Widow’s dial-back of emotional outbursts after Avengers 2, her willingness to trust the government again so soon after Winter Soldier, and her practicality in questioning her own side and changing when appropriate.
- Black Panther, and his role of conspicuous Africanness, which veers between respectful and patronizing, which was hurt by his weak role in the second half of the film, until it was redeemed by his final scene with Zemo.
- The dueling black side-kicks of War Machine and Falcon, particularly as they argued over the Accords.
- The Falcon and Bucky buddy cop comedy.
- Despite the attempts to add gender and racial diversity, how much the most intense scenes were just 2-4 white guys.
- Sharon Carter becoming a replacement for Peggy Carter.
- The undifferentiated Eastern Europeans and their dual use as victims or bad guys.
- How much guilt Bucky feels or should feel over crimes he committed as the Winter Soldier.
- The political thriller style cinematography (BUDAPEST!) and District 9 style fight scenes.
- Tony Stark's emotional exhibitionism as TED talk.
Edit: A talk with a friend:
Blue: OH GOD DID I SERIOUSLY MISS THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK REFERENCE
Blue: i am so dumb
Blue: just like "hey guys this is the movie that ends on a dark note"
Friend: and someone's arm is chopped off
Friend: and they go to hoth
Blue: and everyone's favorite character is frozen in carbonite
Friend: and the protagonist kisses someone they probably shouldn't because of who their family is
Blue: and the man in the metal suit wants to recruit the idealistic good guy to take over the world with him
Friend: and everyone has daddy issues
Blue: and there's a nontrivial amount of blaxploitation for such a white movie