It had been a long time since this writer made an opening weekend jaunt to the movie-plex. I wasn't in line for Star Wars Seven on opening night, and waited almost four weeks on Batman V Superman. But Marvel Civil War was different. I tried to get tickets for the special Thursday showing which didn't pan out but by hell or high-water I was going to be there this weekend if it killed me. Alas, I did not perish, but instead my wife suggested she take the kids for the evening and let me go to the movie. Because, she knew one thing if only one thing about my comic fandom; Marvel's "Civil War" comic run was and still is my favorite superhero comic run in history. I read every book, the main run, the specials, and every comic for each character in their singles books. This movie had a special place in my heart going in, yet I wouldn't allow myself to get caught in the "it's not like the books" madness. I was going to go see a fun action film...Not signed in
Right #1: The Casting of Black Panther.
This morning, after seeing the movie last night, the first thing I did was look up information about Chadwick Boseman. His acting chops blew me away throughout the entire movie from the fast paced grief of his father's death and legacy passing, to the conversation with Black Widow about his religion and his belief system in his father’s said death, he filled the screen with charisma and believability. I couldn't place where I had seen Mr. Boseman before, but then remembered him playing Jackie Robinson in 42, a movie which I adored, and remembered the gift he was to Jackie's struggles and history. He centered the civil war film, and gave it a credibility that neither of its main stars could have done. He was fresh and unlimited in his grasp of the character.
Wrong #1: BIG Ant Man
Spoiler alert! Paul Rudd is fantastic as Ant Man, okay let’s be honest, Rudd is fantastic period, but whoever decided to make him the size of a small skyscraper must have been doing pints of meth. It made sense for the scene, but it really took away from the teams one on one battle. It is something he can do in the comics so at least his ability stayed within the given frame work, but to me, him being inside Iron Man's suit as his "conscience" was much more interesting than his Godzilla moment.
Right #2: The premise of the entire "listing" Storyline.
In the comic version of "Civil War", a relatively unknown team creates a dangerous situation and people die, a lot of people. It was fine for the start of the comic series, but at the same time did not carry the weight the movie did. They made a very nice montage of all the destruction the Avengers (arguably the most well-known super team in history), had done over the course of many years. This cemented the story in a much more emphatic way. We cared for the Avengers, but we also cared about innocent lives being taken away by those same heroes. Unfortunately, it didn't become the central theme, which leads to....
Wrong #2: Dropping the "Be counted" ball
After the amazing premise of the inner struggle of the Avengers is thrown out, it is hardly discussed in any worthwhile manner again during the whole film. The film turns from the "should specials be made to tell the government their powers and identity" to a story more about Bucky, the winter soldier, than anything else. I see why it was done, it was, if anything, a way to keep the amount of superheroes needed on screen low. Bucky is running, Cap, Panther and Iron Man are after him for significantly different reasons. If it had stayed with the bigger picture, Marvel Pictures would have needed to pay a lot of money to a lot of people like ALL of the x-men, some of the villains, Thor, Hulk, and even the Fantastic-Four.
Right #3: Spider-Man
As I walked out of the theater the young woman behind me who was speaking (presumably) to her boyfriend said "It was good I guess, but what was with F%4c&*%g Spiderman? He ruined the movie, he was just sarcastic and stupid and now I don't care about the Toby McGuire series at all." Okay lady, first off, Toby's version of Spidey was last seen in 2007, he has graciously taken his bow. Second, there have been two big budget Spidey's since then, but hey whose counting, and third (and most importantly) THEY FINALLY GOT IT RIGHT!!! Spidey is a teenager, Spidey has no idea who he is yet, Spidey lives in Queens, Spidey is super school-smart but in the beginning not so much street. Spidey is one, if not the most sarcastic character in the Marvel Universe, sans Deadpool. He hasn't had his own movie, but Tom Holland's small batch of work in this movie cemented for me what Spidey should be. I look forward to Spiderman’s "Homecoming" in 2017.
Wrong #3: Aunt May
Aunt May is supposed to be old. Now, Marissa Tomei is getting a bit older, but she doesn't look it (which by the way, she looks incredible). She is way too young for that character. They needed Betty White not Tomei. She was fine for having a 3-minute part, but Peter's 19 and when they first Panned to Marissa I thought "Seriously, Tomei as Mary Jane?" Well, it was good I was wrong I guess.
Right # 4: The closing battle
Iron Man vs Bucky and Captain America is one of the best battle sequences I think I have ever seen. Add in that they did the classic pose (Shield vs Iron Man Rays) to perfection and the overall believability of Bucky's issues, and it was just a giant heap of destructive brilliance. Robert Downey jr is best as Iron Man when he is shooting things and angry, and boy was he angry. Bucky killed his parents, and cap knew about it the whole time. I was team America the whole movie till that one slid out and then for one brief second I thought, just got beat his butt, Tony, Then I came back to reality and I was firmly in camp America again. And that is how this battle should have made people feel, we love them both. It is exactly what Batman V Superman should have been but never was.
Wrong #4: The opening battle
The first ten minutes of the movie is a battle sequence with Scarlet Witch, Cap, Falcon and Widow chasing a band of well-equipped bandits through the city of Lagos. It ends in bloodshed and essentially gives the premise of the movie. However, it would have been nice to actually have seen it. The shots used in the battle are so visually unappealing I could have walked out. But for $13.50 it wasn't going to happen. It was very choppy and most of it was so focused as a close up it was hard to know who was doing what until Scarlet blew up an entire building and even that was pretty shaky and out of the blue.
Right #5: Not killing Rhodie
I don't think Rhodie would have actually survived the fall from the sky he took, but that said, he wasn't the right character to kill (more on that later). I liked that they kept the character going but gave him something new for maybe a later role to have to his character with being physically disabled. It also made for a nice post-battle scene between Rhodie and Stark. "Stank, you aren't ever gonna live that down". Great line, well delivered. But the line of the movie, which may have been missed by many was "You can't take my Rhodie" (or something along those lines).
Wrong #5: Not killing Cap
Directly after the events of Civil War in the comics, Captain America is killed. When they didn't kill him in the Stark fight (which would have also been wrong), and then the film ended with a letter written from the still alive Cap to Iron Man, I thought, "it would be awesome if they do it after the credits". I thought that the credits would end and we would see a government building with Captain America a bloody mess dead on the hallowed steps. But alas, it didn't happen. It was a mistake. The death of Captain America was huge in the comic world and would have been even bigger in the movie universe. It was the right thing to do and they didn't. Ahh....there's always next time.