It has been a long time since an update was posted on our Great Marvel Cinematic Universe rewatch. It was started with the intention of finishing in 2018, but who would have thought that there is more to life than watching 20 movies? Either way, we at it again.
Twelve movies are in the books (musings on them here), and they have mostly been pretty awesome. Then we hit Captain America: Civil War, and it is possible that there is nothing more awesome that the third Captain America movie.
When discussing Civil War, I think the most appropriate place to start is Kevin Garnett. In 2015, Howard Beck put together a phenomenal oral history of the NBA legend for Bleacher Report. When discussing Garnett’s intensity, former teammate Tyronn Lue had this to say:
A lot of people do all their howling on the court and they’re faking just for attention, but what he does is genuine. So one day we were at his house and we were watching Puff Daddy’s show Making the Band, and in one of the scenes, some new guys came in and were trying to sing and were trying to compete against the guys who had been there. And KG just got so hyped, “Motherf—-r, you’ve got to stand up for yours! You’ve got to fight! Motherf—-r, you’ve got to come together!” He’s going crazy, he’s sweaty. And he just head butts the wall and put a hole in the wall of his house.
That is how I feel about Civil War.
Heather once said that Civil War was her favorite of the Marvel movies. I felt a swell of pride in my heart and a lump in my throat as I looked at this amazing woman. I felt so honored that I will one day get to raise children with somebody who has such fine taste in Marvel movies.
There are people on this planet who don’t like this movie. I can’t imagine living like that. However, if I’m being honest, my expectations were very low on the road to its release.
I thought a hero team-up movie would suck. Avengers shut me up. I thought a movie about heroes fighting each other would be destined to suck since we all know they are going to team up in the end. The abysmal Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (a movie so bad I had to write two separate reviews about how confusing and shitty it was), released just two months before Civil War proved my point – I thought.
Yeah, I was wrong. Captain America: Civil War is like a comic book come to life. It’s fun, funny when it needs to be, serious when it needs to be, and always entertaining. Every character has their moment to shine, and even the introductions of Black Panther and Spider-Man were done in a way that makes sense and helped you form an attachment to them immediately. You know, kind of the exact opposite of how Batman, Wonder Woman and the entire Justice League were introduced in BvS.
There was a moment when my faith wavered, though. When they said Zemo had five super soldiers just like Cap ready to be turned loose, I was so mad. I couldn’t believe they were going to tease the end of the Avengers then not deliver. Somehow in the moment I forgot the advertising that showed Cap and Bucky fighting Iron Man. I loved the twist that the soldiers were dead and Zemo was preparing to drop an even bigger hammer, and the climactic battle delivered on every note it needed to. This movie is fucking fire.
People somehow debate who is right between Captain America and Iron Man. I feel it is established in The First Avenger that Cap is the most honorable person ever, whereas Iron Man is a dick and at this point in the movies his various untreated traumas are bringing out his worst demons. I’m not talking about the real life politics of these characters, who is liberal and who isn’t, or any of that shit. Look in the context of the MCU, bro. Who created Ultron?
How can you not agree with Cap? In Avengers he found out the US was secretly using Hydra (Nazi) tech to build WMDs. In The Winter Soldier he found out that not only was the American government launching a horrifying mass surveillance program, he learned the government was infiltrated by Hydra. Why would government institutions controlling the Avengers suddenly be a good idea at that point in time?
But hey, if you really want to see who is right, just look at the teams and the situations surrounding them.
Team Iron Man
Black Widow – She makes a poor case for Team Iron Man when she literally betrays the team to help Captain America.
Black Panther – Does not give a shit about registering under the Sokovia Accords, he just wants to avenge his father’s death. Then he ends up helping Cap and Bucky in the end.
Spider-Man – A child manipulated into the conflict by Tony Stark. He alludes to the famous “great power, great responsibility” mantra by saying if you have powers but don’t use them, the blame is on you when bad things happen. He essentially took Cap’s side without even realizing it, and the look of shock on Stark’s face when he hears those words affirm how right Cap is.
Vision – Worst Avenger ever. Utterly useless. Dresses like a substitute teacher. Sucks at everything, and almost kills his own teammate, War Machine.
War Machine – Tony Stark’s friend and a dutiful soldier who already acts on orders from the government, so why would I care about his thoughts on continuing to work for the government?
BONUS – When Stark finds out that Cap is right that Bucky was framed, he passes that information along to his boss, Secretary Ross. Ross proceeds to dismiss the evidence, saying he won’t listen to Stark because he’s mad at him. The institutions are broken, my friend.
Team Captain America
Nobody on this team makes a compelling argument against registration, aside from the wrongful imprisonment of Scarlet Witch, but at least these folks are united and competent. Cap already handles pointing out how registration is bad by noting people with agendas could shit on the whole Avengers thing, the importance of free will, all that good stuff. But for the sake of argument let’s take a look.
Bucky – Doesn’t care about registration so much as he cares about not being hunted for a crime he didn’t commit. He’s also trying to recover from the trauma of being brainwashed and forced to kill for decades. Desperately in need of a friend.
Scarlet Witch – She is overpowered as fuck and could kill everybody, but I guess it’s cool she plays it cool. Also, she’s being held against her will in the Avengers compound.
Falcon – He’s a little lame but also a little cool. A good friend to have.
Hawkeye – A totally reasonable case, Hawkeye wants to keep his family and identity secret.
Ant-Man – Paul Rudd is a national treasure. Also the character of Scott Lang wants to stick it to the man and doesn’t trust Tony Stark. Winning.
But no matter whose side you’re on, it boils down to this: Captain America: Civil War is the best Marvel movie at this point in the series. It is the ultimate in popcorn action flicks.
After 13 movies, the rankings look like this:
- Captain America: Civil War
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Iron Man
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Iron Man 3
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- The Incredible Hulk
- Iron Man 2
- Thor: The Dark World