Captain America: Which one of you gets to be my best friend?

“Captain America: Civil War” makes for a great movie if you’re interested in witty one-liners, fun semi-violent action scenes, and most of your favorite superheroes.

Anthony and Joe Russo, aka the Russo brothers, are Marvel Studios’ better directors, and their movies generate  interest in the future films Marvel has in store (given that they’ve released their future plans all the way to 2019).

Regarding the cast, the Russo brothers played with their handful of superheroes without getting too messy or too confusing (I do wish I saw more diversity in the cast, but that’s not the point right now).

They introduce Spider-Man/Peter Parker and Black Panther/T’Challa in a way that makes you curious about how their films are going to turn out. In fact, I’d watch the solo Black Panther movie in 2018 and I’d consider watching the new Spider-Man reboot in 2017. In regards to the Spider-Man movie, I say “consider” because one can only watch/talk about Uncle Ben dying so many times.

The Russo brothers tried to add one element that “Captain America: Winter Soldier” didn’t have: a romantic element. There was an attempt to explore Captain America/Steve Rogers and Agent 13/Sharon Carter’s relationship. I found it, as Chris Evans put it, “a little icky” because Sharon is Peggy’s niece and Steve always had the hots for Peggy to begin with. I felt like I was rewatching that episode of “Friends” where Monica breaks up with her older boyfriend and ends up dating his son. Thankfully, that wasn’t the focus of the movie.

As a film meant to be a film, I liked it. As a film meant to represent a comic book, it was a disappointment. This is my only real complaint, and it happens to be a big one.

The first Marvel “Civil War” begins when a group of young heroes tried to take down a few supervillains and ended up killing 600 civilians (60 of them being children). This caused the U.S. government to create the Superhero Registration Act, forcing superheroes to register as government workers and give up their identities.

Graphic by Nhi Le
Graphic by Nhi Le

Iron Man/Tony Stark is for the bill; Captain America/Steve Rogers is against it, seeing this bill as an act against super heroes’ civil rights.

The film introduces the Sokovia Accords. This bill was a result of the battle during “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” Iron Man supports the bill because he’s victim to the guilt of not being able to save everyone in Sokovia from the wrath of Ultron (whom he built himself). Captain America is against the bill because he doesn’t believe one group (especially a group working on political agendas) should have the ability to decide how the Avengers operate.

Graphic by Nhi Le
Graphic by Nhi Le

I think the bill should’ve been the main focus because it brings up the question that never gets answered: how much responsibility should superheroes own up to? I’m a bigger fan of Captain America as a hero, but I found myself standing with Iron Man on the issue. Superheroes do need a few limitations or else they become no different than the villains they fight. They also need to be more aware of the damage their actions cause. There’s even a discussion on the Internet about the general issue: for example, does Superman saving a city cause more damage than Godzilla destroying it?

Instead of going down the route that follows the comic, the film switches lanes to focus on Captain America’s relationship with the Winter Soldier/James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes. Unfortunately, when I saw the trailer, I already predicted that this movie would be less about the bill and more about which hero gets to be called Captain America’s best friend.

The Russo brothers talked a lot about the Winter Soldier in 2014 – the sequel was called “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” – and I felt the issue was prolonged more than it needed to be. We get it: the Winter Soldier and Captain America have a really deep bond, can’t they just kiss and move on already?  I understand the yearning to explore Barnes’ psyche and his past with Hydra, but one can only take so much metal arm.

I wasn’t expecting perfection from the film, and they met my low expectations. But the Russo brothers have plenty of chances in the future to redeem themselves, and I believe they really can. Hopefully, their next Marvel movie will be a little bit better than grown men having a hissy fit.

Author: Nhi Le

Nhi Le – aka Nikki – joins The Eye for her third and final year as a senior. She enjoys comic books, crime novels, and an excessive use of verbal irony.

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