Captain America: Civil War has just ended its run in theaters, earning well over a billion dollars, in addition to being recently screened to the Academy for Oscar consideration. Civil War is arguably the best piece of work Marvel has produced yet, and many are considering that it may even be up for Best Picture at the Oscars. But why is this?
Generally, superhero movies are considered to have flat, predictable stories. While they make bank at the box office, the critics typically do not love them nearly as much as the fans. Yet, Civil War has defied this status quo and is loved by fans and critics alike. While it is not the first superhero movie to do this, it is quite extraordinary to note how far Civil War has gone in the eyes of critics — and maybe even in the eyes of the Academy.
The magnificence of this film may actually be because of how much it stretches out of the superhero sub-genre, without feeling overt or forced. While the previous Captain America film, The Winter Soldier, exercised the thriller genre, Civil War went a step further.
Captain America: Civil War took a step into politics. However, the politics weren't kept down to a simple "side vs. side" theme regarding the law - it was set on a global scale.
Captain America Represented America At Large in Civil War
Captain America: Civil War was actually critical of the US. Now don't take this the wrong way. Civil War did not proclaim death to America. In fact, it showed both sides of the cause— demonstrating both America's stance and the counter-argument to the debate at hand.
To analyze what angle the film took in its American satire, we must take a look at the most prominent feature of the film...
The Politics of Team Captain America
Think about what Team Cap was promoting in the film, and why Team Iron Man was against them. The U.N. was down their throats because they kept crossing borders into other countries to fight small-scale terrorists, and leaving wreckage & casualties behind. Now, on a global scale, who does this sound like?
If you guessed the United States of America, you are correct. Now, the film was not necessarily condemning America for its actions, as Captain America served as the protagonist of the film. Rather, Civil War showed both sides of the political issue. It showed both America's side of helping (or "helping"), while also showing the U.N.'s (and other countries') resistance to their actions. The act of proactively involving home forces in foreign conflicts (known as 'foreign interventionism') is something the US has been notorious for in recent years — and something which has garnered both its supporters and detractors. Civil War carefully laced interventionism throughout the film, and demonstrated both the pros and cons of a proactive stance on foreign conflict.
Just as the film showed an equal amount of Team Cap and Team Iron Man, it also shows an equal amount of America's reasoning, and the reasoning about why their reasoning is wrongheaded.
The amount of satire in the film, however, is light. There is just enough for it to be apparent without making people mad. Had the movie been centered around Team Captain America invading Iraq to get oil to stop Zemo, it would have gone way too far and lost a lot of support. I am content with the amount of political satire in Captain America: Civil War, and am actually quite glad that they used it.
Note: the U.N. did not play any part in the comics, and the reason the Accords needed to be made was not because of the Avengers invading other countries. All of these factors were exclusive to the film.
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Civil War did a great job with its political scale, as it made fans care about global politics without them even noticing it. This is quite remarkable for a superhero film, especially considering how abundant the film was in action while still including this political factor. If Captain America: Civil War does have an Oscar coming its way, it is certainly well deserved.
What are your thoughts, though? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!