So, I'm mainly doing this for my own sake because: I love movies. I've often considered myself, and by others, an enthusiast of filmmaking. I cherish the feeling that I get when I walk out of a movie theatre. The feeling of wanting to share my love of cinema with the world and shout from the rooftops, "Movies are good! And you should feel good!"
Because, at the end of the day the soul purpose of going to the movies is escapism. Hate work? Go to the movies. Hate school? Go to the movies. Hate life? Please don't jump off that bridge. Go to the movies! Spending approximately two hours in a dark room, with a crowd of people, watching someone else's life journey unfold before your eyes can do wonders to anyone with a heart. Now, not every movie has to be Lord of the Rings or Star Wars. Suspension of disbelief can be a powerful thing when it comes to film. But sometimes, you can have a movie like The Dark Knight, where a filmmaker can add some gravity to a fantastical story that was once floating above your head. Adding realism and believability is a fantastic way to ground your film and make it resonate stronger with your audience. For me, that was one of the best and worst things about Captain America: Civil War. Here's why:
The best way to make my point is to lay out, in chronological order, the master plan of the "antagonist" of the film, Zemo. This will be to the best of my memory, now that I've seen the film twice. I'm sure you have, as well. But, if you haven't seen it even once, here is your
You were warned.
Okay, so: Zemo, in his past, was a part of some special military squad something-or-other. No use getting into that because it's purpose in the story is to establish that this man is no ordinary man. He wasn't bit be a radioactive spider or anything like that, but he has a set of skills that allow him to understand and decode encrypted files. This is important. Fast forward to: a family. He has a wife and a son. They live in: Sokovia. Little do they know, a wisecracking, James Spader-voiced, vibranium coated robot has a plan to use his city as a meteor to purge the Earth of it's.....
Ugh, I don't feel like getting into Age of Ultron right now. That's an article for another day.
Anyway, once destruction starts happening, he takes his family and GTFO's out of there to his father's home which is just outside the city. Zemo believes this will be safe, and his son can "see the Iron Man from the car window" there. How sweet. That was a nice touch screenwriters. Unfortunately, the chaos reaches far beyond the city and there are countless casualties. Including Zemo's family. Zemo survives and literally spends days just trying to find their bodies. Weird how he survived. Was he away from his family during some kind of blast? Did he indeed get bit by a radioactive spider and therefore is superhuman? Whatever. Suspension of disbelief right? Point is, he has lost everyone. Thanks to the Avengers. And there lies his motivation. But wait, I forgot something...
Intentionally, of course.
As stated by Zemo in the film, in a very expository way to a Russian who is hanging upside down with his head in a sink while the faucet is running filling up and inching ever so close to his three breathing holes (now that I think about it, he was kind of high up and didn't have to drown he could've just lifted his up a bit and then not died, right?), he has discovered a lot about Hydra after S.H.I.E.L.D. fell back in 2014 (after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier). One of the things he discovered is...well, that's actually not clear. He wants to know what happened on December 16th, 1991, because it wasn't in the files. I guess? Sure, I can buy that. This was a part of a very top secret mission that only a handful of Russians knew about and this is (maybe) the last living guy who knows. But, why is he here now? Shouldn't he have done this way before this film takes place? I mean, it seems as though he's just making up his plan as he's going along. Okay. I'm getting ahead of myself. If you're still reading you can tell one of two things: I have a lot of problems with this movies and you have nothing better to do. I mean, it's just a movie, right? Let's pick up where I left off. Shall we?
Where was I? Oh yeah. Dead family! Hm, that doesn't look too appealing with a exclamation point at the end of it...whatever, I'm too far along into this paragraph. Zemo wants vengeance for what the Avengers have done to his family. So he finds this Russian who has this book that will snap Bucky back into Hydra-mode. He wants to divide the Avengers. ie. destroy them from the inside out. He does this by framing Bucky for setting a bomb off at the signing of the Sokovia Accords in Vienna. He wants to pull Bucky out of hiding and get him captured by the government. This is said by Captain America himself, so it's not just me. Once captured by the government he will infiltrate where they are holding Bucky, in order to brainwash him and find out what happened on December 16th, 1991. Wait, he still doesn't know? He really is just making up this plan as he goes along. Oh boy. What's the opposite of suspension?
So, he finds out what happened on December 16....okay I'm tired of writing that whole date. He finds out what happened in '91 and decides to use this to his advantage and let Bucky off the leash. He GTFO's and decides to go have coffee. He sits near the tv and, I guess, waits for news to release that Captain America has escaped? Um, okay. Once he finds that out, he goes to where they have these Super Winter Soldiers and waits for the Avengers to come to him. There he will unveil his, and the story's, massive game-changer. Something that he, just found out about less than a day ago. The fact that Bucky, while on a mission, murdered Tony Stark's parents. Dum, dum, DUM!
This will surely divide Captain America and Iron Man. Creating a nice little hashtag war on Twitter as part of marketing and a way for you to get excited about the movie. Iron Man will surely let his emotions get the better of him and want to kill Bucky, and Cap will surely let his emotions get the better of him and want to protect his best friend. That's great, I love it! That's the kind of master plan I want to see in this soon-to-be-worn-out genre. Not a funny robot who thinks killing everyone will save them. That is: dumb, dumb, DUMB!
But, as much as I love the end result, I can't stand how it got there. When I try to explain it completely frustrates me. Watching it in a theatre it can be somewhat forgivable in the moment. Not for me, every time they cut to Zemo, I got a little full of myself and decided to foil his plan before the Avengers could. But it was so vague that I was figuring it out as the story went along. Because, his plan was happening in real time. None of it feels premeditated. None of it feels as genuine as the broad strokes of Zemo as a character. The loss of if his family. The intention to destroy the Avengers in a clever way. These are the great signs of a great villain. But when you get into the specifics, one can't help but call shenanigans. If this world that Disney/Marvel/Kevin Feige/Jon Favreau/Russo Brothers have built is so grounded and realistic, then why is Zemo's plan so convoluted and non-sensical. At least Ultron's plan was straightforward. As dumb as it might've been.
I don't know, maybe it's just me. Maybe I just can't enjoy super people punching each other anymore. Maybe this genre has grown tired for me. I loved Spider-Man, though. He was fun right? I wish the rest of this movie was that fun. It kinda took itself too seriously, didn't it? Okay, I'm done.
But, I'm sure I can agree on one thing: this was better than Batman v. Superman. Actually, I probably shouldn't have said that. Now some of you might REALLY hate me...
If you think I'm dumb, that's fine I get it. You can hate my guts all you want for ruining your favorite movie of the year. Please feel free to scream at me in the comments. But, if you see where I'm coming from and think I'm a cool dude, you can find more of my stuff at these places:
My YT Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI65J3S2zs_E07_oeyadAXg
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/gregbgreat
Oh, and here's my initial reactions to the film:
Thanks for reading, if you got this far, and I look forward to giving you more opinions in the future. Kind regards.