Baile nam Fonn wrote:
Just watched Marvel's Civil War for the first time.
Mildly pleased to discover that I somehow, without any effort, managed to avoid any significant spoilers.
Loved it, from start to finish (credits included: yeah, I'm one of those
-- interesting names are interesting). Avengers seem to be incapable of disappointing me.
Watched just as an action movie, it's great fun.
I didn't care for the subtext, though, which was nearly made explicit by the writers in the scene at Avengers HQ:
Vision: In the 8 years since Mr. Stark announced himself as Iron Man, the number of known enhanced persons has grown exponentially. And during the same period, a number of potentially world-ending events has risen at a commensurable rate.
Steve Rogers: Are you saying it's our fault?
Vision: I'm saying there may be a causality. Our very strength invites challenge. Challenge incites conflict. And conflict... breeds catastrophe. Oversight... Oversight is not an idea that can be dismissed out of hand.
I find it pretty hard not to read that as "America created the terrorists; the violence in the world will stop when America stops throwing its weight around."
To which Captain "America" replied:
Steve Rogers: We may not be perfect but the safest hands are still our own.
Seen in this light, the theme of this movie is that a renegade (Captain) America gets what it deserves for using its power in the world, even if it thinks it's doing good, and that by refusing to do as it's told by the rest of the world, (Captain) America deserves to be treated as an outlaw criminal.
At that point, the story of Captain America: Civil War
decayed into Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers
, which was an effort to satirize American action in the world as fascist. In the DVD commentary track, Verhoeven explicitly expresses his opinion that America is a fascist nation -- the movie was just a better way to dramatize that belief than for him to simply state it.
The writers themselves make no evasions: yes, the character of Captain America is a metaphor for the country. So how they wrote him in this film, and the reaction of the other characters to Captain America, is a direct representation of how they think other countries see America. As screenplay writer Stephen McFeely put it
It is not our place to necessarily inject our politics all over this movie, and it is not our place to say exactly what the nature of America is, but I’m also a knee-jerk lefty Hollywood screenwriter.
So: Personally, I could have done without the story of a CAPTAIN AMERICA
movie being written as an apologetic revenge fantasy.
But hey, great action sequences.
[Note: Obviously this is a pretty strong opinion. I appreciate that others may object to my criticism as either "seeing things that aren't there (it's only a movie)" or "yes, they did intend to use a movie to express the personal political belief you describe, but they're factually right and you're just wrong." I will not be drawn into a big back-and-forth debate on this, but if someone wants to express an alternative view in a friendly, thoughtful way, please do... and it does occur to me that a movie that can generate rational conversation about a subject that matters is maybe not entirely a storytelling failure after all.]