Spoiler Alert! Why ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Is Nothing to Marvel At

‘Captain America: Civil War’ is lot of fun. I won’t argue that. It has everything we’ve come to expect from a massive-budget summer blockbuster. However, working against it are a lazy screenplay effort that has become the Marvel norm, flimsy characters, recycled dynamics and a lack of tension.

I’m not here to argue the entertainment value of ‘Civil War’. Instead, as a big fan of the MCU’s first phase who has felt slighted by Marvel’s attempts to expand it, I’m afraid that Marvel’s exhausted Cinematic Universe has transformed into a plot-hole-riddled cash-grab mishmash that’s not worth the praise it’s getting.

Because ‘Civil War’ is still in theaters now, be warned that what lies ahead is filled with extensive plot spoilers. Before writing this post, I went back and saw the movie again just so I could document its many flaws from A to Z. If you haven’t seen the film yet, you should probably stop reading now.

Let’s start at the beginning.

The introductory scene is no good. Like the ‘Benjamin Button’ opening of ‘Ant-Man’, Marvel is showing signs of being stuck in a writing rut. Instead of planning out their greater stories in advance, the writers are making up the past as they go just so it can pave the way for the planned future. As we’ve seen with other movies and TV series, this is not a good way to go about executing a long-term franchise. It’s an amateurish soap opera technique.

As if that first scene weren’t bad enough, shortly after we see Tony Stark tell his side of the story. He just-so-happens to tell one of this most intimate life stories to a conference hall full of strangers via a science experiment-turned-psychology experiment that cost him tens of millions of dollars. It’s pretty convenient that he’d tell this applicable story just days before the harsh reality of the decades-long mystery is finally uncovered.

After the Winter Soldier introductory scene and Marvel reel, we get to the action-packed opening that should have kicked off the movie. Cap, Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Black Widow chase down… that unmemorable guy from the last Cap movie. ‘Civil War’ does such a poor job of pointing out who this single-sequence villain is that unless you watched ‘The Winter Soldier’ recently, you’ll have no clue who’s behind the mask. His name is uttered, but isn’t a strong enough one to trigger any memory. (I call him “HYDRA Generic Henchman #47.”) When we see the helmet removed, he’s so badly burned and disfigured that he’s not recognizable. If I didn’t know the actor (Frank Grillo) from other movies (such as ‘Warrior‘), I’d have no clue who he was. I wonder how many casual moviegoers draw a blank here.

The way this action sequence was written and shot had me worried for the rest of the movie. First, like a Jason Bourne picture, it’s all close-ups, shaky-cam and filled with quick cuts to appeal to the audience’s A.D.D. Pop on a pair of 3D glasses and it’s entirely disorienting. You’ll have no idea what you’re seeing unfold. Second, Scarlet Witch’s undefined powers are used to allow her to do whatever the story needs in order to progress. She can suck the poison gas out of a building when her teammates need it, and accidentally blow up a building when the writers need tragedy. Later on, she’ll inexplicably bind the most unfortunately bland (yet powerful) character, Vision, and thrust him through several floors of concrete – which makes no sense since Vision can pass through objects at will. Scarlet Witch’s powers are quite convenient. Whenever the writers need something unusual, they simply give her the ability to do it.

Speaking of abilities, that brings me to the third and final qualm with this sequence. When are we going to address the fact that Black Widow is a plain and simple human? She has no powers. She’s like a grown-up version of Natalie Portman in ‘Léon: The Profession’ – trained, but not super. Despite that, Black Widow can be inside an enclosed armor vehicle when a grenade goes off, get blasted through the back door, and still be a-okay? From the writers of ‘Pain & Gain’ and ‘Thor: The Dark World’, I guess I’m expecting too much.

After Tony Stark’s intro, we see him guilt-tripped into growing a conscious by a mother whose son was killed in the (anti-) climactic events of ‘Age of Ultron‘, which took place in the fictional nation of Sokovia. Is this really supposed to be the first time that Stark was confronted about the fallout from his actions in any of his Iron Man exploits? Unfortunately, at this point, fallout (and more specifically, revenge and jealousy) is the motivator that Marvel writers repeat time and time again. It’s the reason Whiplash wants to defeat Stark in ‘Iron Man 2‘. It’s the reason Loki does everything he does. It’s the reason the lame villain from ‘Iron Man 3‘ (no, not The Mandarin, the other lame villain) wanted to see Stark killed. It’s the reason that cheesy bald bad guy in ‘Ant-Man‘ does what he does. Now, it’s the reason why Zemo, the supposed mastermind behind ‘Civil War’, harvests the seeds of unrest within the superhero community. Are there no other motives than this? Must the majority of Marvel’s plots revolve around some personal beef?

Let’s talk about Zemo. In a single line, he describes himself as so brilliant that he has cracked the entire encrypted history of HYDRA in the year since his family died as collateral damage in Sokovia. However, this is something that Stark and his flawless supercomputers weren’t able to complete with the same wiki-leaked files that Zemo used? Even if you can accept that, everything that Zemo does relies on getting Stark, Cap and Winter Soldier at the Siberian base. His entire plan counts on the three of them being there together. Considering all of the bumps in the road that all 12 featured superheroes have to go through in the movie, that’s one hell of coincidence that the trio would arrive at that point together.

But that’s not the only coincidence in Zemo’s plan. How does he know who the U.N. would hire for Winter Soldier’s psychological evaluation? And how does he know where the U.N. would take Winter Soldier after being captured? (Zemo knows exactly where to send the EMP in advance.) While we’re talking about the EMP, how in the hell did he get it out of the hotel room and shipped to the random power plant without anyone taking note? This entire screenplay relies on coincidences. This is simply terrible writing. Shame on the Russo Brothers for putting up with it.

If you’re expecting my nit-picks to include Black Panther, his character roll-out is actually one of the best aspects of ‘Civil War’.

Marvel’s biggest problem right now comes from recycling structures and dynamics. For example, when you think about it, ‘Ant-Man’ is exactly the same story as the first ‘Iron Man’. It’s like the screenplay was mad-libbed for the tiny character. Now, the structure of ‘Civil War’ is borrowed from ‘The Winter Soldier’. Cap and at least one friend are on the run and in hiding while trying to crack a bigger case while those on whom he used to rely are out to get him. This is almost as bad as Ethan Hunt always being presumed as a rogue agent in every ‘Mission: Impossible’ movie. The format is becoming a Marvel trope.

Do you remember when ’24’ was running and people would complain about how quickly Jack Bauer and company could get from one place to another in supposedly real time? That problem is even more abundant here. While Iron Man is waiting for everyone to coincidentally meet at the airport – as if that’s the only hub for travel in Europe – within a brief 24-hour period, he travels to Queens, recruits Spider-Man, is fitted for a new suit, designs the new suit and the tech that powers it, has it produced, and returns to central Europe for the second act’s climax. In the MCU, you must be able to buy anything, including time.

Following the airport battle, time gets even more hazy. While Cap and Winter Soldier head to Siberia, Stark and wounded Rhodes travel back to the Avenger compound in the U.S. for medical treatment, then Stark takes a chopper to an oceanic super-prison, then takes his Iron Man suit to Siberia and arrives just moments after Cap and Winter Soldier. How stupid do the writers think we moviegoers are? It’s offensive.

Yes, the airport scene is the highlight of the movie. However, it’s little more than pure fun. Did anyone actually think that any harm would come out of it? No way. And, no, Rhodes’ injury doesn’t count as harm. His injury is just as meaningless as Quicksilver’s death in ‘Age of Ultron’. Nobody cares if a third-tier hero gets hurt. Marvel plays it too safe, which makes the characters never seem like they’re ever truly in harm’s way. The day the franchise actually kills off a character whose superhero name has been featured in the title of a movie, then I’ll really start investing in the MCU. For now, it’s all too safe. We all knew that none of the 12 superheroes in the airport fight would actually be impacted by the scene. Instead, it’s meaningless – albeit pure fun – spectacle. When moviegoers think back on ‘Civil War’, they’ll immediately recall this insignificant scene for its huge entertainment value. They’re not going to think of Zemo, let alone the Sokovia Accords. They’re going to think of that funny sequence that answers countless “Who would win in a fight between (superhero) and (superhero)?” questions. The third act climax that lies ahead never comes close to being as engaging as the airport scene.

I only have two genuine complaints with airport scene. The first revolves around how Spider-Man is shoehorned into it. Black Panther is perfectly introduced to the world, but Spidey is brought in so abruptly that it feels like the decision to include him happened in reshoots just minutes after Sony and Disney decided to play ball together. The end result is entertaining, but it’s also rushed, clunky and unfitting.

My second complaint comes from Cap’s decision to not explain the full situation to Stark. Instead, Cap decides to fight. Why? I have no idea. But when Stark ultimately learns the truth, he switches sides and joins Cap and Winter Soldier to fight against the greater evil. Stark even says, “I was wrong.” Had Cap just explained the whole story – which is more in line with his character – a lot of time could have been saved. But because the writers needed that six-on-six battle, they couldn’t go with the rational and obvious solution.

Let’s take one moment to discuss Robert Downey, Jr. here. Is he the new Bruce Willis, or what? Does he even care about his roles anymore? He glides right through this movie in the laziest fashion. His character falls just as flat as the quip about a bed and breakfast for biker gangs. It’s not just painful to watch, it’s sad. He only seems to give a damn about his performance in one scene – the “He killed my mom” scene – which isn’t enough considering the weight that his character plays in ‘Civil War’.

How can anyone side with Iron Man after watching this movie? His initial arguments are good, the stuff that debates are founded on – but it doesn’t stay that way. Before long, he turns the Avengers compound into an internment camp and, ultimately, he turns into a cold-blooded attempted murderer. For anyone who realizes these points, good luck trying to get us to care about his character ever again.

The final two-on-one fight scene is near-perfect. Watching Cap and Winter Soldier battle Iron Man with smooth motion from a fixed camera at a distance is wonderful. But, once again, it’s too safe. Like Rhodes, Winter Soldier is wounded during the fight, but it’s nothing additional technology can’t fix. Aside from bruises, fat lips and a couple cuts, Iron Man and Cap walk away unscathed. Dammit, Marvel, kill someone! Make the tension real. All this horsing around is fun, but harmless repetition is getting old.

So, what do you think? Are you on-board with Marvel’s mindless fun? Or, like me, do you think it’s fair to demand some quality with your entertainment?

Since the MCU movies feature stingers during and after their closing credits, I’ll leave you with a couple bonus thoughts:

  1. The Iron Man suit can detect anything from nearby weapons/technology to life forms. If that’s the case, how was it unable to detect Black Panther and his jet flying right behind him all the way to Siberia?
  2. Do you remember how Stark blew up his Iron Man suits and quit the game at the end of ‘Iron Man 3’, yet shows up with a new fleet of them in ‘Age of Ultron’ without an explanation? Well, it was nice of Marvel to finally give us a one-line answer to that debacle. It’s just a shame that we’re getting it one movie too late.

51 comments

  1. Dan

    Please do not take offense to this, but I just see this as “the honest” trailer syndrome. No matter the movie, the honest trailers can poke frequently enough at a movie, to find the plot holes, and they do a fantastic job at that.

    But when you are in a theater watching the movie and it ends with the audience in applause, that is an accomplishment. On paper, there is no reason this movie should be good at all. Yet, I watched it and had a blast! Sure, there are plot holes, doesn’t matter to me. This isn’t like a transformers movie where the mass audience attends and the critics pan it. This movie is well received by the majority of the critics and audience. You dismiss the idea that “being fun” isn’t good enough. For me, for this kind of movie, it is all that matters, was it fun? And it delivered the fun, no doubt about it.

    Depending if you enjoyed the movie or not, people leave either poking holes at it, or praising the good aspects not seeing the weaknesses. In this case hind sight is not 20-20. I loathed Batman V Superman, and I could poke holes in the plot all day long. But at the end of the day, the plot holes are not the reason I loathed the film.

    • Luke Hickman
      Author

      No offense taken.

      You’re absolutely correct when you say that I dismiss the idea that being fun isn’t good enough. Personally, I feel there’s no reason why fun can’t be accompanied by quality. Marvel has pulled it off before. It feels like they’re rushing out product-after-product without taking any time to actually consider what they’re making. They’re near-perfect on delivering the fun aspect; now I want them to work a little harder on quality. If they can get there again, then I’m sure I’ll be swooning over the MCU like I once did.

    • Al

      But again, Luke pointed out that he had a lot of fun with it, and he doesn’t hate it. He’s just demanding a higher level of commitment to excellence. The best MCU films are just as fun, and not full of intelligence insulting laziness. Think about ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. It’s space opera perfection. It’s even more fun than this and every other MCU film, AND the plot is coherent and intelligent. It’s not just rehashing everything that came before, and taking a lazy approach to anything else.

  2. John Smith

    Didn’t Luke write up something similar about Skyfall a few years back? He seems to like writing up about certain films’ flaws if he thinks it isn’t that great or in the case of Skyfall, he hated that movie.

    Am I wrong Luke?

  3. Shannon Nutt

    Wow – I disagree with Luke on almost every point he makes here (or at least think he’s making a bigger deal out of them than necessary). The movie is extremely well written, this is Downey’s BEST performance in all the Marvel movies, the film expects us to know things already about these characters (I don’t think this is a weakness), I could go on and on.

    I don’t think it’s a perfect film, but I do think it’s a really, really good one. Some of Luke’s complaints are so nit-picky that they could be made against ANY screenplay for ANY movie. Yeah, Stark is thinking about the death of his parents in the VERY SAME MOVIE that addresses the death of his parents…how horribly plotted! 😉

  4. Guy

    “Even if you can accept that, everything that Zemo does relies on getting Stark, Cap and Winter Soldier at the Siberian base.”

    That’s sort of an audience-centric flaw in your logic. You’re assuming Zemo sat down on day one and wrote “End it in a Hydra bunker” on a whiteboard, then designed everything around that just because that’s how we saw it. This, Skyfall, The Dark Knight, they get criticized for elaborate plans that rely on coincidence, yet I’ve always assumed these villains are off-screen adjusting their schemes as the events unfold. As in it’s not one elaborate plan, but a series of operations and contingencies.

    That ending could’ve conceivably happened anywhere. His ultimate goal was to splinter the Avengers. He’d already done that by the time the movie went to Siberia. He was in that bunker more specifically to kill the frozen super soldiers. The location just happened to be a convenient place to lure the heroes to. And even if Iron Man hadn’t arrived, Zemo could’ve sent that video to Tony any time.

    Civil War is not a flawless movie, but I’ve found this “coincidental plan” complaint off for years most of the times it’s used. It requires me to assume villains are idiots who can’t adapt while we watch entire films from the POVs of protagonists that are constantly adjusting and adapting. Spectre is the movie that’s driven me nutty with egregiously shoddy villaining most recently.

  5. Al

    “This is almost as bad as Ethan Hawke always being presumed as a rogue agent in every ‘Mission: Impossible’ movie.”

    Slip of the (proverbial) tongue, there, Luke? 😜

    Nice editing, Josh. 😝

    • EM

      That’s right up there with “growing a conscious”…what, another self-aware A.I. like J.A.R.V.I.S./the Vision? 🙂

  6. Guy

    “The introductory scene is no good. Like the ‘Benjamin Button’ opening of ‘Ant-Man’, Marvel is showing signs of being stuck in a writing rut. Instead of planning out their greater stories in advance, the writers are making up the past as they go just so it can pave the way for the planned future. As we’ve seen with other movies and TV series, this is not a good way to go about executing a long-term franchise. It’s an amateurish soap opera technique.”

    Are you referring to the car crash? Way back in 2008, the first Iron Man film showed us that Tony’s parents had died in a car wreck. Iron Man 2 informed us that Howard Stark was a SHIELD bigwig. Captain America: The First Avenger showed Howard being integral to the development of the original super soldier formula. Captain America: The Winter Soldier then told us that Howard and Maria’s “accident” was actually a Hydra hit. I don’t understand how seeing a lynchpin scene that ties together previous knowledge is a problem.

  7. Csm101

    Why does killing off heroes make the movie better? You can’t build a franchise on that. ( well I suppose you can, I hear Game of Thrones does that regularly). I never watched 24 but I’ll assume you did since you made a reference about it. When you watched that were you wanting Kiefer Sutherland to eat it every episode?😀 Like the comic books, they’re an ongoing series and we want to see more of these characters and more stories with them in it. As far as Scarlet Witch goes, I believe she overpowered Vision by using the stone on his forehead against him. I’m guessing that’s why he couldn’t de materialize himself and went through all the floors. She didn’t blow up the building in the beginning of the movie. Crossbones tried to blow himself up and she contained the explosion but lost control of him (or chose poorly where to place him) while she was moving him. I agree with Shannon that Robert Downey gave a very strong performance here. I didn’t see him Bruce Willising this thing at all. He was as likeable as I’ve ever seen him and most vulnerable in this movie, and not like he was in Iron Man 3. As far as being a homicidal maniac at the end of the movie it seemed like it was out of rage and was in the moment. He never planned on doing that. It seemed a natural reaction considering what he just saw. Everyone is different and no movie is perfect, but I think these movies are very high quality considering they’re just superhero flicks. I’m totally on board with the not so mindless fun the MCU has provided thus far.

  8. Fantastic write up, and after a couple of days from seeing it I have the exact same stance. I keep telling my friends it feels more like The Winter Soldier 1.5 than Civil War to me. Except that Winter Soldier was much, much better. At least the tone in that movie was pretty consistent from start to finish. In Civil War it felt like there was too much going on that doesn’t match up from scene to scene.

    Since Iron Man 3 I have been losing more and more interest in Stark, and this movie just put the nail in the coffin. We get force-fed the conscience/morality code in the grieving mother scene, but later in the movie he has absolutely zero problem in hunting down Bucky with the intent to kill him despite the fact that that his brain has been scrambled for quite a while now??

    • Sorry I don’t know how to edit my comment. The last statement is erroneous. He was hunting down Cap and Bucky and in the last scene he had no problem deciding to kill Bucky when it was something personal.

      • Joe kraicinski

        I think his reaction was understandable. He just found out his parents were murdered and had to watch a video of it. Anger is the normal response. Maybe it’s not heroic but marvel generally tries to keep their characters human and relatable.

  9. Shannon Nutt

    I should also point out that Stark knew about Peter Parker LONG before this movie started. He just hadn’t made contact with him yet. When Black Widow asks him if he’s got anyone he can pull in to help within 36 hours, Stark tells her he “has someone in mind.” So he definitely already knew about Spidey. So it’s perfectly plausible he’d already designed the suit.

    • Muttley

      Just brainstorming here…so how do you think that Tony Knew about Peter?

      Was he just monitoring news outlets and the like or could he have been using some form of advanced algorithm to help him identify potential enhanced individuals? Something like his own version of the Insight program that Hydra used in CA:TWS?

      That might be an interesting development and could possibly be used to further tensions between Stark and Rogers.

        • Muttley

          That’s what Peter had alluded to and then tried to redirect by saying that they were fakes…I’m wondering if the creative team might reveal that Tony has other methods of obtaining his intel.

          Although that might skew far too closely to CA:TWS. Just thinking out loud…

    • Pedram

      Definitely agree. He probably had everything ready ahead of time, and could have easily designed the suit to fit him. The moving eyes part was a bit of a surprise though. There was mention of Peter having to restrict what he sees because it’s just sensory overload (hence those weird Riddick goggles in his mask), so if they moving eye things were in response to that, I don’t know how he could have known about that before. But honestly I didn’t really care. It was just great to see Spider-Man having fun in, and bringing fun to that scene.

  10. Mark

    Right on the money. The Russo Bros are terrific directors, but the script was a mess. As much as they tried to hide its shortcomings, I kept being knocked out of the movie due to the issues you cited.

    And I’ll say this: this movie got 99 problems. But Blank Panther ain’t one!

    • Blank Panther’s score is though. Every time he’s on screen a melodic wood flute plays, which is like introducing a Mexican character with a Mariachi band.

  11. “While Iron Man is waiting for everyone to coincidentally meet at the airport – as if that’s the only hub for travel in Europe – within a brief 24-hour period, he travels to Queens, recruits Spider-Man, is fitted for a new suit, designs the new suit and the tech that powers it, has it produced, and returns to central Europe for the second act’s climax. In the MCU, you must be able to buy anything, including time”

    I love the fact that time is an issue here. In a comic book movie – where a kid can climb walls, a man can change size to either an ant or a giant and a man flies around in a metal suit.

    But time, that has to be realistic? Heh, that did make me smile… otherwise you make some fair points. Me? I just like my movies to take me away from real life…

    • Shannon Nutt

      He goes to New York, but the movie implies (as I mention in the above post) that he’s had his eye on Peter Parker for a while…probably waiting for the right opportunity. So the suit was probably already prepared.

      I like that this movie doesn’t feel the need to spell out everything for the viewer…but I guess some of you need that. 😉

  12. Pedram

    It doesn’t seem like you addressed my main complaint (and only one really, since I enjoyed the film otherwise), which is the super weak reasoning that caused the divide between the avengers in the first place.
    Civilian casualties are the main reason they want the Avengers to sign the accords, but the accords won’t solve that problem. Would less people have died in the NY attack in Avengers 1 if they signed the accords? Nope. And the government folks were ready to nuke all of Manhattan anyway, which would have caused WAY more casualties. They want to blame Scarlet Witch because she accidentally redirected an explosion that ended up killing some people, would have killed many more people had she not been there at all? All their reasoning falls flat. Sure there will be casualties when super powered heroes fight each other, but they are caused by the bad guys. The Avengers actually saved many more people in each of those situations. If they want to go through government red tape then that just slows things down and will probably be more detrimental in the end. They would have had a better argument if the Avengers did something for selfish reasons (like trying to rescue Bucky or something and end up killing civilians), but that was not the case.

    Also, thank you for addressing the fact that Black Widow does not belong in most of the battles they engage in, and would have been killed long ago (and definitely from that grenade blast, even if she did have a human shield). Hawkeye is also just “normal” to an extent, but at least he usually stays away from the main hand to hand fighting and has a better chance of surviving.

    Finally, regarding your question at the end: I’m guessing that jet had some sort of cloaking device. Wakanda has lots of advanced technology, and they’ve also established that they can’t track jets with cloaks on them in Avengers 2, with the jet that the Hulk was in.

    • Timcharger

      This:
      “All their reasoning falls flat. Sure there will be casualties when super powered heroes fight each other, but they are caused by the bad guys. The Avengers actually saved many more people in each of those situations.”

      …is spot on.

      The very premise, the most basic starting point for the
      plot is so fundamentally stupid.

      1)
      Iron Man redirects a nuclear missile AWAY from NY!
      And let’s not forget all the aliens coming through
      that wormhole that are being fought by the
      Avengers.

      2)
      3 Shield gunships were stolen by Hydra and were
      about to commit mass acts of terrorism (all stupidly
      synchronized because, because… just shut up,
      Timcharger!)

      3)
      There’s only about tens of thousands who were
      defended from attacking Ultron-robots to aid them
      in boarding escaping shuttles. The Avengers
      caused a building to fall over, oh no!, while they
      were stopping a whole island from destroying the
      Earth!? There’s no footage of that? There’s no
      tens of thousands of Sokovia citizens who can
      testify to being saved???

      When Secretary of State (William Hurt) was
      showing them footage of #1, #2, and #3, snarky
      Stark should have broken the 4th wall and looked
      right into the camera:

      “You’re playing the wrong background music, all
      sad and moody. It should be trumpets of fanfare.
      Secretary Hurt, when is our parade scheduled?”

      It’s not nitpicking when the very key idea of the
      story is ignored for its stupidity.

      No, no, no just look at the cool battle royale fight!
      Look that way. Enjoy that.

      • Pedram

        I was wondering if anyone actually saw my comment, so thanks for the agreement, haha. No one has offered me a good explanation about how William Hurt’s arguments made any sense – and to think that the movie has been praised for its good writing. You gotta at least have the very reason for your movie happening to be based on something other than such light weight arguments.

        The writing was good otherwise though, and I especially liked the fact that they called out my two biggest annoyances with Winter Soldier – namely, the fact that everyone always aims for Cap’s shield instead of his legs, and also that his shield doesn’t seem to obey the laws of physics and just somehow comes back to him without any explanation.

  13. Timcharger

    And this whole stupid, stupid:
    “You signed” the document silliness.

    There’s a signature. That means everything!

    That is so funny. Ned Stark should take the
    signed Sokovia Accords documents and
    present it before the Iron Throne. It has
    Robert Baratheon’s signature on it, you
    know!

    I would love to see Cersei just tear up the
    signed documents and laugh at Marvel!

  14. Rosie Powell

    For example, when you think about it, ‘Ant-Man’ is exactly the same story as the first ‘Iron Man’

    Oh please! Get real! Look, I’m not that crazy about “CIVIL WAR”. I had more problems with it than you did. But “ANT-MAN” is the same story as “IRON MAN”?? Oh please! You can do better than this.

  15. Lee Jones

    Can someone please explain why Tony Stark aka Iron Man has managed to half dominate a Captain America solo film? Please explain why Marvel allowed Robert Downey Jr. to nearly walk all over Chris Evans’ third solo film? I’m so disgusted by this that I don’t even look forward to seeing Downey Jr.’s mug on the silver screen again.

    Marvel took a Captain America solo film and shoved an Avengers film into it. How stupid are they? They could have ended Steve’s story with HYDRA in a genuine solo film, leaving room to develop his relationships with Sharon Carter, Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. Instead, Steve’s romance with Sharon is treated like a rush job. Instead of investigating any possible trouble Steve might have with both Sam and Bucky, the latter pair’s hostility is treated like a running joke. I had sit in a movie theater and watch Tony Stark recruit the 15 year-old Peter Parker in a scene that nearly lasted ten minutes and yet, audiences are never told what led Clint Barton and Scott Lang to help Steve.

    Worse, most of this plot seemed to be about Tony Stark’s man pain . . . in a Captain America film. Again . . . DISGUSTED. Couldn’t they have saved this plot for another Avengers film? Good grief!

      • Yeah. Civil War is the highest grossing movie so far this year, and it’s about to surpass Iron Man 3, making it the third highest grossing movie of the MCU. It might even break into the top 10 highest grossing movie of all time worldwide. Clearly it wasn’t exactly a disastrous decision

    • Timcharger

      Lee actually gives details and explains
      why he didn’t like Civil War.

      And since those who point to scoreboard
      of $1.1 billion, then those must think Avatar
      is twice is as good then, right?

      Civil War can’t be $1.1 billion stupid…
      Avatar can’t be $2.8 billion stupid, so
      Avatar-haters must be the stupid one?

      People only point to scoreboard when it
      suits their established opinion.

      • Lee’s argument wasn’t just that the movie is stupid, but specifically that MARVEL is stupid for taking a Captain America solo film and making it an Avengers film. The box office results of the movie clearly disprove that. Civil War was by far the most profitable Captain America entry (making more than 1.5x what Winter Soldier did) and is currently the fourth highest-grossing Marvel film overall, only behind the two Avengers movies and Iron Man 3.

        Marvel is a business and their motive is profit. The audience for their product has spoken, and obviously wants these movies to be more like The Avengers, not less, and to have more Iron Man in them.

        You can say what you want about the film artistically, but to say that MARVEL is stupid for doing something that was wildly successful for them is just illogical and incorrect.

        From a business perspective, Marvel was smart to make this Captain America solo film into an Avengers film. You may not like the results, but it was the right business decision to make, and it paid off for them big time.

        I don’t care for Avatar, but I couldn’t say that James Cameron is stupid for making the movie the way he did. He was incredibly savvy about figuring out what his audience wanted and giving it to them, whether I personally liked the movie or not.

        • Timcharger

          Josh: “that MARVEL is stupid for taking a Captain America solo film and making it an Avengers film. The box office results of the movie clearly disprove that. ”

          By this logic, Marvel should never make ANY more solo films.
          Because of the financial benefit, every Marvel film should be
          an Avengers film, according to you. Because it would be
          stupid not to, right?

          Consistently, you must argue that Ant Man was stupid to
          NOT include the Avengers. It would have had larger profits.
          People who praised it for being a “smaller” film must be
          financially stupid.

          Lee’s argument was never about the “stupidity” in regards
          to financial matters. In terms of storytelling, character
          relationships, character development, etc. All of which he
          listed examples of.

          You got hung up on his use of the word “stupid.” But he
          actually explains what he means by it. He desires and
          cares for the character interactions of Capt America in HIS
          solo film.

          Lee discusses character development of a solo film, and
          you change the subject to point to the profit scoreboard.

          So any writers interested in penning a solo film that ISN’T
          an Avengers film, just look at the finger Josh is giving you.

        • EM

          Some people’s objections—and some people’s confusion over the marketing—might have been assuaged if Marvel had simply titled the film Avengers: Civil War. The more accurate title might have substantially increased the profit. Perhaps Marvel is utterly stupid for throwing away the extra income.

          Josh, a few days ago you wrote, “I just wish these gargantuan tentpole movies they make didn’t have to be so dumb.” I take it that means you think those films are unprofitable, since if they are profitable, they’re not dumb…?

          • Again, you’re failing to understand the distinction between calling the movie stupid and calling Marvel stupid. Is Civil War stupid? Maybe, I haven’t seen it yet. I have no opinion on that. However, Marvel clearly was not stupid to make it a multi-character team-up movie. The film’s wild success proves that they made the right business decision there. That’s what the fans wanted to see. Whether it was also the right artistic decision is a completely separate question.

            As for the movie’s title, without any appearances by either Hulk or Thor, it can’t properly be called an Avengers entry.

          • EM

            No, you’re failing to understand the distinction between a question and a declaration. I asked a question about your cinematic IQ standards, which you have answered.

            As I indicated, even if Marvel managed to make a bunch of money, Marvel might have also thrown easy money down the drain with their decision—this “wild success” could also be wild failure in the bigger picture. Obviously, that’s hard to prove or disprove, in which case the decision’s being right is a matter of opinion.

            There is no requirement that an Avengers entry include both the Hulk and Thor. In the comics on which the movies are loosely based, the Hulk has been very seldom involved with the Avengers (though in a case of a cinematic tail wagging a source-material dog, he has been more prominently involved in recent years), and Thor has also been absent for numerous periods of varying length. In fact, the Avengers have long been known for being especially prone to a revolving door of membership (in truth, the same characteristic applies to many other super-teams, but the Avengers have been particularly emblematic and may have been the first to undergo frequent, radical roster changes…by the end of issue #16, none of the founding members were still with the team). This movie included a fair number of MCU Avengers members, as well as other characters based on comics Avengers, some of whom have already appeared in the last Avengers film and/or individual Avengers’ films. One might as well claim that a film, TV episode, comics issue, game. etc. that does not include every member of SHIELD cannot ever be properly called a SHIELD entry.

          • The film made nearly as much as either Avengers movie. It seems pretty unlikely to me that it would have done too much better even with “Avengers” in the title.

            Two compelling reasons NOT to call the movie Avengers:

            1) It’s too soon after Age of Ultron. In the Marvel model, the Avengers entries are intended to be the culmination of each of the cinematic “Phases.” We’re not at that point yet.

            2) The current title bolsters the Captain America brand. It’s important to Marvel to maintain individual branding for its heroes. If they started calling every movie “Avengers,” it would dilute the appeal of the actual Avengers team-ups.

          • Timcharger

            Okay Josh, let’s keep your distinction:
            “the distinction between calling the movie stupid and calling Marvel stupid.”

            So to be consistent, Marvel was stupid in Ant-Man
            to not put the Avengers in it.

            So in all future solo films, Marvel will be stupid to
            not include the Avengers (with the exception of
            Hulk/Thor).

            Your position leads to this. Is this what you really
            want?

            I love Game of Thrones, and every outing has 2
            dozen characters with 5 minutes spent on each.
            So Marvel’s Game of Avengers will adopt the
            same model?

            Josh: “Maybe, I haven’t seen it yet. I have no opinion on that.”
            Sigh.

            If you at least liked the film, I would understand
            why you would argue against a negative opinion,
            despite arguing a irrelevant financial point that
            Lee wasn’t making.

          • Marvel has yet to release an unsuccessful movie. Calling their business decisions stupid for any reason is, in fact, pretty stupid.

            If their movies start waning in popularity and losing money, and if they don’t try to adapt their business model to correct for that, then we can call them stupid. We’re nowhere near that point.

          • Timcharger

            Me: “(Josh) arguing a irrelevant financial point that Lee wasn’t making.”
            You: “Calling their business decisions stupid for any reason is, in fact, pretty stupid.”

            Maybe if the tables are turned…
            Josh shares a negative opinion on the CONTENT in a GoT
            episode. But Tim points to scoreboard. GoT is a huuuge
            financial success.
            🙂

            After you see the film, Josh, you may actually agree with
            Lee’s negative opinion about the CONTENT in Capt Amer:
            Civil War.

          • I’m tired of having this pointless argument. Lee’s comment was: “Marvel took a Captain America solo film and shoved an Avengers film into it. How stupid are they?” He didn’t say “That sucks” or “I wish they didn’t do that” or “This movie is stupid.” He said that Marvel was stupid for shoving the Avengers into a Captain America solo film.

            Well, no. The movie’s success proves that Marvel wasn’t stupid to do it. If it had bombed, then you could accuse Marvel of being stupid. To the contrary, the decision worked out, big time.

            Whether you like the results or not is a completely different matter.

          • Timcharger

            The next sentence after the “stupid” line was:
            “They could have ended Steve’s STORY with HYDRA in a genuine solo film, leaving room to develop his RELATIONSHIPS…”

            You read it as, how FINANCIALLY stupid Marvel
            was. When he was talking STORY, RELATIONSHIPS.
            Lee was discussing CONTENT.

            Watch the film Josh. Then defend it.

  16. Lee Jones

    How stupid are they? $1.1 billion stupid, apparently.

    Like I give a rat’s ass about how much money that this movie made. I’m not stupid enough to translate box office receipts to the quality of a movie.

    I still believe that ARTISTICALLY, Marvel’s decision to use the Civil War story for the third Captain America movie was a major mistake. Box office performance is NOT going to change my mind.

  17. Lee Jones

    Ahhh . . . did I hurt your little feelings to the point that you personally had to insult me? Are you one of the movie’s producers? No? Then what was the point in insulting me because my feelings regarding the movie doesn’t match yours? How mature of you . . . not.

  18. Jason Radcliff

    No, but apparently your “feelings were hurt” if you were insulted. A rat’s ass must have been given.

  19. Lee Jones

    I’m not particularly fond of this movie. I thought the addition of an Avengers-style story arc and Iron Man was a big mistake that did not serve Chris Evans’ third solo film very well. This movie was filled with a good number of other flaws.

    But it seems that you are simply bashing this film in a mindless manner. Not only that, you are using this review to needlessly bash everything about the past MCU films. Why did you even bother to review this film?

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