I think around New Years last year I had a conversation with the twins, Scott and Storm, about how Marvel is in a bit of a paradoxical situation right now. On one hand, they can do nothing wrong; every movie they make is going to be called great. On the other hand, they can’t afford to make anything less than a great movie anymore, because that has become the standard.
In particular, after watching the trailer for Captain America Civil War, I wasn’t so much hyped about as I was wondering how the heck they were gonna make Cap a good guy in this. I know that it would’ve been really hard to adapt the comic book arc in a world where Goliath, the Fantastic Four, and the X-Men don’t really exist, but the one trailer I watched made it seem to me like Cap was acting out of a personal desire to save his friend, which really goes against the themes that Avengers 2 set up of innocent civilians, which I assumed they did FOR Civil War because that’s what the fundamental conflict in the comic was.
I know all the good things that people are saying about this movie, but you clicked on the link on Facebook or Twitter knowing that this column is called "Hans Hates Movies," so I want you to stop before you scroll down and write a comment wishing death on me and all my relatives and think about this movie a bit. What does this movie do that is particularly interesting or unique?
The performances are decent, but this is what we expect from even mediocre movies. The action’s OK. Good for an American movie, but I’ve seen better.
Even the writing’s just about average for a Marvel movie. Joss Whedon quit because he was too stressed out, and he was the one who established the general tone for all the post-Avengers 1 movies. In fact, the writing was what I had a big problem with in this movie. True to my predictions, Captain America fails at being a good guy in this film.
I don’t know what happened. Maybe they spent too much time trying to justify Tony Stark’s support of government regulation (you always have to these days, otherwise you get accused of being paid off by Hilary) that they forgot to make Cap not seem like a stubborn asshole for wanting to not be held accountable for property damage and civilian casualties. After a chain of completely stupid and irrational decisions driven by personal friendships and with no consideration of the other people involved, Cap wins without having earned it. Wow, I thought Captain America was supposed to represent the American Dream, not Corporate America.
This felt more like an Iron Man movie than a Captain America one. He’s the one who gets the real character arc, except it doesn’t even pay off for him. The main conflict in this story felt mixed-up and scrambled, like it didn’t know what its priorities were.
Spider-Man and Black Panther are here, sure. Shoved in with no time for characterization besides some cultural appropriation on the latter’s part. ‘Sides, it’s not a surprise, they made sure to let us know that they would be here in every promotional material they could. All your favorite characters, going head-to-head! The fights are awesome! Never mind that the narrative that contextualizes it all has more holes in it than a Dutch dam made of Swiss cheese.
This film is not a masterpiece of filmmaking. It’s a masterpiece of marketing. The hype train was half the experience of being in the theater for it. You watched a trailer, and they spaced out the release of the next one for just long enough for you to Google who Black Panther was and join the internet debate on whether Spider-Man would be Miles Morales or Peter Parker. And they did a great job, enough that people are pretending this movie is better than it is.
Final recommendation: You saw it already, because you were riding the hype train way too hard. But it doesn’t stand up to a close analysis, and leaves a gross, buttery taste in your mouth. Maybe I should’ve passed on the popcorn.