Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Gentlemanly Disagreement Between Co-Workers

Been waiting for this one for months now: Captain America: Civil War is here.

The Non-Spoiler review:  Go see it and enjoy it, it's everything Avengers: Age of Ultron should have been and more, and ties up a lot of loose ends from Captain America: Winter Soldier to boot.

Our movie opens with some unfinished business: HYDRA agents in 1991 programming the aforementioned Winter Soldier (Sebastian Shaw, who was once Cap's faithful sidekick Bucky) to "sanction and retrieve" a target. He is ruthlessly effective, and the mission will have great repercussions 25 years later...

...which brings us to Lagos, Nigeria, present day. Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johanssen), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) are tracking down former HYDRA mercenary Crossbones (Frank Grillo) to a chemical weapons lab.  The mission is going well until Crossbones drops Bucky's name and Cap, distracted by the news, almost gets half of a crowded marketplace blown to pieces.

As it is, the dozens of casualties are one international incident too far for the United Nations to continue to stand back and let the Avengers operate without oversight.  General "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt) drops a rather large set of United Nations accords on the team and says sign, or else.  Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Vision (Paul Bettany), War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Black Widow all decide doing so is a good idea.  Cap, Falcon, and Scarlet Witch do not.

But when the Avengers once again fail to stop people from getting killed at the accord signing ceremony, and Bucky is the prime suspect, everything goes to hell rather quickly.  Cap is willing to bet everything that Bucky is being controlled again, and he wants to find out who is pulling his strings.  Iron Man is sent to bring Bucky in, especially since the attack at the ceremony kills the King of Wakanda, leaving T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) as the new monarch and protector of the African nation, the Black Panther.

What results is a fight long brewing between the Avengers and their allies in the wake of the most recent Marvel films, and it's worth every penny, particularly the fight scene that you know is coming from the opening scene, and behind it all is a secret long buried in the past...

The SPOILERS (you have been warned!) start after the jump.

Cap eventually signs up Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) out of retirement, and gets Scott Lang (Paul Rudd reprising his Ant-Man role) to lend a hand.  Iron Man on the other hand signs up Black Panther, itching to kill Bucky for revenge, and a young kid out of Queens named Peter Parker (Tom Holland).  Yep, Spidey is finally in the MCU and that results in a 20 minute-long 6v6 fight that will change the Marvel world forever, as there are casualties...

I can see why Cap refuses to trust the government anymore after WW II and the US unleashing nuclear weapons on Japan, HYDRA nearly doing the same with the world, SHIELD being badly compromised, Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson) the one guy in the world who could talk him down still missing and Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) dying of old age during the film's first act, all topped off with the fact they've been hunting Bucky for years.  He's seen too many people die for their country over the years. As far as he's concerned, it's not that the Avengers need oversight from the world, it's that the Avengers are the oversight for the world.  He's got a legitimate point.

On the other hand, Tony Stark realizes that after taking said oversight into his hands with the Ultron Project and, you know, having his own peacekeeping robot invention nearly exterminate all life on the planet as a result, that maybe having an international agreement in place may not be such a horrible idea.  Especially if the Avengers are going to occasionally go rogue. Who's going to stop them?

It turns out the guy putting the strings is Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), a former Sokovian special ops agent who has a definite score to settle with the Avengers for the destruction caused at the end of Age of Ultron, and I won't give away what his secret is, but it leads to a climactic showdown between Cap and Iron Man that one of them won't walk away from.

At the end of the film, the Avengers' status is very much in question, if not finished for now.  We'll probably see a lot of these heroes dropping in and out of the upcoming next few Marvel films, with a lot of setup I'm betting coming with Thor: Ragnarok in 2017. It's pretty clear marvel's Phase Three films are going to be about these divided heroes finding a way to unite despite their differences.

They'll have to.  Thanos is coming...

But go see the movie.  DO it.

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