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May 6, 2016

Civil War spoiler thread
Posted by Teresa at 05:01 AM * 126 comments

Apprehensions, reviews, or rants, MCU or 616.

If you think it’s just the latest fun Marvel superhero movie, that’s fine.

If you’ve been in an obsessive state of argument with the storyline since you first read it, that’s fine too.

(And by the way, Cap was completely wrong about Registration.)


Comments on Civil War spoiler thread:
#1 ::: Fred Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2016, 06:22 AM:

The movie itself was a great deal of fun; the airport battle may well be the most entertaining such scene I've seen in a Marvel film.

I wish that someone would point out to Tony that his guilt over the person who died in the Avengers 2 battle (and, one would hope, his disturbingly briefly referenced creation of Ultron) aside, "we need to be kept in check" is rather rich from someone who previously made a habit of clowning through Congressional committees and bugging the SHIELD helicarrier when it suited him.

Crumbs, but they did a fine job Benjamin Buttoning Downey Jr. in that first scene.

#2 ::: rea ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2016, 12:13 PM:

South lost, no?

#3 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2016, 12:51 PM:

Mark Millar licks goats.

I liked the movie. Contrived, yes--if that's a problem for you, you fell off the MCU train a few stories back--but it managed to carry the emotional weight by not actually being a big story at all. Making the entire "superhero accountability" question (which itself made a helluvalot more sense, especially within the context of the MCU where I can't think of anyone--at least, until Spider-Man and I guess Daredevil--whose identity is a secret, than "superhero identity/registration" framework of the comics) was set dressing for much more personal stories of loss, regret, and vengeance, and that worked.

#4 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2016, 01:43 PM:

A few first thoughts, in somewhat scrambled order:

I originally read most of the comic book Civil War storyline and crossovers all at once on Marvel Unlimited, which probably made it seem even more of a mess than if I'd gotten it monthly. I haven't gone back to reread the comics. I walked away with the impression that the writers went through the whole mess with no ending in mind, so they ended it by having Steve Rogers, of all people, suddenly realize that innocent people get hurt in a war. My biggest problem with Marvel Unlimited may be my unwillingness to throw the device I'm using against the wall.

My initial reaction to the film was by comparison to my memory of the comics, so it came off much better.

Will "scifantasy" Frank@3: Yes, the movie was much more of a personal story; and, I think, it only really made sense that way. The philosophical differences, such as they were, got boiled down to personal loyalties and personal responses to trauma. (Stark seems most convinced by an American lost in Sokovia; Rogers by having just seen S.H.I.E.L.D. go bad.) Unfortunately, the plot also depended critically on characters not sharing information with each other, despite many opportunities, which is frustrating.

I did like a lot of the brief shout-outs to the comics, like Spiderman getting a higher-tech costume from Stark, and Stark analyzing Captain America's fighting style.

I really liked the staging of the fights, even more than the "splash page" approach of Age of Ultron.

I did walk out wondering what Spiderman, Giant Ant Man, and, to some extent, Hawkeye were doing in the film, other than making up the numbers for the teams. They didn't really add much to the story. (Yes, I know that the first two both have films coming up, but if I start thinking about that I'll just get annoyed about Marvel's movie scheduling.)

#5 ::: Del Cotter ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2016, 02:09 PM:

Spoilers for Marvell's Civil War: he survives the Restoration and is elected MP for Hull.

#6 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2016, 08:44 PM:

Just saw it this afternoon. Every time Tony opened his mouth about how supers need external control and oversight, I thought “No, Tony, that’s you. You need external oversight.”

That big fight scene set piece was glorious, best depiction in film yet of a classic Marvel-style supers fight. The overall plot, I dunno. The bad guy’s whole scheme depended on his being able to manipulate a bunch of people he’d never so much as met into very specific behaviors, and it all works out the way he wants, but then at the end, Tony & Steve make up, so what was it all for anyway?

Spider-Man and Black Panther were pretty great, though.

#7 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2016, 11:39 PM:

I adored it. Of all the Marvel movies, this is the one that most reminded me of the comics I loved. And the fractal layering of motivations and flaws is beautiful. "Too bad about your dad dying in the course of my getting revenge on the people who accidentally killed my dad..."

#8 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2016, 02:19 AM:

I preferred Winter Soldier, but this one was quite good. I think it's definitely in the top 1/3 of MCU films overall.

Not that being better than Age of Ultron is a high bar to clear... :)

#9 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2016, 02:47 AM:

Not a big comics reader, so I couldn't compare this with the books, but it was my third favorite Captain America movie, but my first favorite Avengers movie. Since Cap is my fave out of the Marvel universe, this isn't damning with faint praise. I'll probably see it at least one more time before it leaves the theaters.

I wish they had found something for the ladies to do during the last third of the film.

I think my favorite moment may have been the bit in the VW bug, where Bucky asks Sam Wilson if he could move the seat up, and Wilson immediately replies "No", with a shot shortly after of Bucky scootching despondently to the other side of the back seat. Not sure why I found it so delightful, but there it is.

Black Panther was intriguing. For those who know the comics, can I start with Ta-Nehisi Coates' interpretation? And while I actually thought Spider-Man was well integrated into this film, the second tag at the end of the movie promising "New Spider-Man" just elicited a "Who gives a shit?" from me. How many Spider-men have we had already? How about a damn Black Widow of Black Panther movie before one more iteration of oh god I don't even care anymore?

#10 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2016, 05:32 PM:

My guess is they want Peter to still be a teenager for the first MCU Spider-Man movie, and need to get the footage shot before he looks like a college student.

#11 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2016, 07:16 PM:

Discussed it with a couple of coworkers last night after we saw it, and our conclusion was that Winter Soldier was a better Captain America movie than Civil War, but Civil War was a better Avengers movie than Age of Ultron. Admittedly, a low bar, as was previously mentioned.

We saw it in 2D, and I was left wondering if some of the fight scenes were meant to look good in 3D. In particular, the ones where one person was in the foreground and the background action was both blurry and choppy. We also agreed that we're tired of the quick cuts so beloved of movie fight scenes, especially given the long cuts Daredevil has been using.

I definitely agree with the comment that this was, at its heart, very much a personal story. The big set pieces, neat as they are to watch, aren't nearly as important the little moments. I particularly liked T'Challa's decision to abandon vengeance for justice at the end.

Nerdycellist, I totally agree about the scene in the Bug :)
(Captain America: Civil War - brought to you by Volkswagen Audi Group)

#12 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2016, 09:22 PM:

Singing Wren@11: We saw it in 2D, and I was left wondering if some of the fight scenes were meant to look good in 3D.

Probably. We saw it in 3D and found both the 3D and the special effects in general very watchable; there were few points where either distracted us from the movie.

#13 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2016, 09:27 PM:

nerdycellist: At least we're not going to get yet another iteration of Killing Uncle Ben!

#14 ::: Brad Hicks ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2016, 09:49 PM:

CA:CW was definitely a better-than-average Marvel movie. They certainly did a better job of handling a huge cast of characters than Age of Ultron did! And I like the fact that once it got down to Rogers & Stark negotiating one-on-one, with Stark's full attention, Rogers' objections were close to being met; if the power hadn't gone out when it did, the whole Sokovia Accord plotline would have wrapped up right there. But a bunch of things bothered me.

1. I have no idea why the first half of the movie was shot with hand-held shaky-cam and the rest wasn't. All I know is that I enjoyed the steadicam fight scenes and hated the hand-held cam fight scenes. The shaky-cam fad needs to die.

2. I cannot, for the life of me, come up with any plausible explanation for why Howard Stark was traveling to a conference in Germany with six doses of Dr. Erskine's formula in his suitcase. I don't know how he came up with it, I don't know why Director Carter didn't stop him, and I cannot imagine any sane plan under which he was going to use them.

3. I also cannot, for the life of me, figure out how the Sokovia Accords were supposed to work. Some random supervillain is about to destroy the world, but before the Avengers can act the UN has to convene a committee and hold a vote on it? That is not how first responders work! If the Accords called for an independently appointed, UN supervised committee to vet Avengers candidates, specify training requirements, write emergency response protocols, enforce honest after-action reports, and hold any malicious or criminally negligent Avengers accountable, that would make perfect sense to me. But the fire department doesn't ask the Board of Alderman to pass a bill authorizing them to respond to each individual fire!

One more thing. Captain America retires two days after Donald Trump locks up the Republican nomination -- coincidence? Maybe not. Sure, they couldn't have predicted the exact date when they were making the movie, but sort of the meta-point of Captain America: The Winter Soldier is that post-9/11 America is not the America that Steve Rogers represents, and there isn't much he can do about that.

Which is why my biggest disappointment was that we didn't get a post-credits scene where Steve Roges puts on the Nomad suit. And I'm only half kidding. It wouldn't have to be that exact silly disco-inspired costume, but man, what I really wish we could have between now and Avengers 3 is a Netflix series where Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson wander America on motorcycles, muscular liberals rescuing people from bigotry, intolerance, and economic oppression. Steve Rogers goes to Ferguson. Steve Rogers goes to Camden. Steve Rogers goes to Flint. Steve Rogers versus Joe Arpaio. Heck, let him make a guest appearance on the Punisher Netflix series, at least! Especially if the rumors are true that they're going to do the Punisher versus Nuke story!

#15 ::: Spiegel ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2016, 11:22 PM:

It felt more like an Avengers movie (with an extended ad for a Spider-man movie) than a Captain America movie.

Isn't a VW Beetle _more_ likely to draw attention? They're fairly uncommon where I live. Or was that part of the joke?

Brad Hicks@14: related to item 2, I wondered what was the point of having a Winter Soldier, much less six, if you're going to use him to crash a car and make it look like an accident, which anyone could do. I get the impression that until going up against Cap and Black Widow, most of Bucky's missions were overkill.

#16 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2016, 11:55 PM:

Singing Wren @11: Captain America: Civil War - brought to you by Volkswagen Audi Group

You ain’t kidding!

#17 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2016, 10:02 AM:

Brad Hicks @ #14:

Your point 3 expresses very well one of the objections I had.

Regarding your point 2, my recollection is that it's mentioned Howard was planning to stop off in Washington DC on his way to the conference. That still leaves a lot of questions about how he came up with the serum and what he was planning to do with it, but not quite as many as if he were planning to take it to Germany.

#18 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2016, 10:23 AM:

Brad Hicks@14

I don't think Howard was flying with the serum to Germany. I think he was dropping off the serum somewhere (presumably the "stop at the Pentagon" that was mentioned in a flashback).

As to why Howard was transporting the serum himself, perhaps the idea was that a visit by Howard to the Pentagon would not be seen as noteworthy in itself, so it might be good camouflage for Howard acting as a courier.

(Incidentally I seem to recall something about the Pentagon being the last stop before Howard and Maria headed off to a vacation.)

#19 ::: Liz Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2016, 10:36 AM:

The moment in the VW bug was my favorite too. I love the little human moments they put in these movies, and Bucky gets fewer than most. I do like thinking of him in his lonely little Bucharest apartment. What does he do for money? Does he panhandle? Is he one of those guys that hangs out at the Romanian equivalent of Home Depot hoping for work?
The moment also demonstrates the pettiness of the rivalry in their relationship, (which, to their credit they don't let get in the way of important things) which boils down to , "No, I'M Captain America's BFF!"

#20 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2016, 11:11 AM:

#4: I did walk out wondering what Spiderman, Giant Ant Man, and, to some extent, Hawkeye were doing in the film…

Well, what Spiderman was doing was stealing the the film, I'd say. He & Black Panther were the best parts of a very enjoyable movie. (And Giant Ant Man was great too.) I agree Spiderman & Giant Ant Man weren't integral to the overall story, but they sure were fun.

(Before this movie, I would have agreed with nerdycellist (at #9) about a Spider-Man movie, but this movie made me interested to see the new version. And of course the upcoming Black Panther movie too.)

#21 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2016, 02:07 PM:

#14: I imagine the Sokovia Accords were meant to act like the big floaty heads that supervised S.H.I.E.L.D. and gave Nick Fury orders: Fury has day-to-day autonomy within set limits, but the floaty heads can override Fury's decisions and have to be consulted on major issues.

Which, given that the floaty heads wanted to nuke New York City and were completely compromised by Hydra, makes Steve's reluctance to submit to similar authority pretty understandable.

#22 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2016, 04:11 PM:

Civil War spoiler thread: General Wrangel evacuates from the Crimea, and eventually dies in Belgium.

#23 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2016, 08:06 PM:

I loved dweeby Peter Parker. Newbie Spider-Man is supposed to be an awkward teen, and that actor nailed it.

I wonder why they switched to John Slattery for Stark, senior. They could have aged-up the actor who plays Stark in the Agent Carter series.

#24 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2016, 08:46 PM:

Stefan Jones@23: They didn't so much switch to John Slattery as continue. He started playing the older Howard Stark in Iron Man 2, which was before Dominic Cooper showed up in the first Captain America film.

#25 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2016, 09:00 PM:

@dotless i: Thanks, I'd only seen IM2 once, and didn't remember that casting. Makes sense to keep the continuity.

#26 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 12:50 AM:

Karen and I saw it tonight. Not much to add. Really good script, overall, and I liked how it really was about the characters. Too bad it fails (really unnecessarily!) the Bechdel test. It would have been so easy to have the Secretary of State (for example) be a woman, and talk to Natasha.

#27 ::: D. Potter ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 01:02 AM:

When I came out of the theater, I found myself meeping "Fight scene!" every minute and a half for a good ten minutes.

That calls for a drinking game. Alcohol or herbal tea will do fine. When CA:CW comes out on DVD or Netflix, have a viewing party during which:

  1. Vehicle crashes, take a drink.
  2. Angsty eyes, take a drink.
  3. References to previous films in canon, take a drink.
  4. Fight scenes, take two drinks. Just kidding. Have a sip only.
While Aunt May does not have to be visibly aged and frail, one should not, on seeing her at the beginning of the scene, mistake her for Mary Jane.

Also, three black superheroes!

(I do have to see it again; pretty sure that crucial bits of dialogue were mumbled.)

#28 ::: Bill Stewart ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 01:58 AM:

Is this movie likely to make any sense at all to me? I've seen IronMan 1&2, not sure if I saw IronMan 3 or not, I haven't seen any of The Avengers since Diana Rigg started doing Masterpiece Theatre, and I never did read Captain America back when I was a kid (though I did prefer Marvel to DC.)
Will I have to Netflix-binge half a dozen predecessor movies, or will this somewhat stand on its own?

#29 ::: Hob ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 04:00 AM:

dotless @4: "Unfortunately, the plot also depended critically on characters not sharing information with each other, despite many opportunities" ...Really? I'm trying to think of examples, and failing. As far as I can remember, in the first half of the movie no one knew any of the important information, and in the second half they couldn't share it because it wasn't possible/safe to do so during the existing conflict.

Brad Hicks @14: "I have no idea why the first half of the movie was shot with hand-held shaky-cam and the rest wasn't"

I think it was more like the first quarter, and that was the part that was all about Captain America's commando-style team, so the style seemed to me like a deliberate callback to the first act of Winter Soldier. Once it opened up into a bigger Avengers movie, it started looking more like the other Avengers movies.

#30 ::: Spiegel ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 06:41 AM:

Bill Stewart @28, my mother is currently binge-watching backwards - she saw Civil War, Winter Soldier, First Avenger, The Avengers ("Thor's brother is in it! Now that's a charismaitic villain!") and I imagine the next one will be Age of Ultron.

You'll probably miss why Captain America and Iron Man pick their respective sides and you may wonder who the hell is Bucky in relation to Cap, but the plot can be followed. It spoils all the others, of course.

You may wonder why you should care about the massive amount of characters, but I'm not sure previous knowledge helps there.

#31 ::: Liz Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 10:29 AM:

Tom Whitmore @ 26

I think it does pass the Bechdel Test, in the very beginning, when Wanda and Natasha are talking to each other over comms. But that's it. Then the ladies go to different sides, and Wanda spends most of her time in confinement.

#32 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 11:11 AM:

Bill Stewart@28: I think Spiegel@30 is right about it being possible to follow the plot without the other movies, but I would have had trouble understanding the central motivations without at least the other Captain America films.

Hob@29: Well, you can start with Sam and Steve saying, "Should we tell Tony about this? Nah, he wouldn't understand," and add Steve keeping Howard's fate to himself; but there were a lot of missed communication moments. It wasn't sloppy writing: The communication gaps were central to the story, and you could even say they were a major point of the story, but that didn't make it less frustrating to watch. Spouse said it was like sitting through an unfortunate family therapy session.

#33 ::: Brad Hicks ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 11:14 AM:

Bill Stewart @28, Umm ... maybe? But my gut instinct is that you'll spend a fair amount of time feeling lost, because they all spend a lot of time talking about things that happened in previous movies without bothering to explain. (As you do, in normal conversation with your co-workers.)

Probably at a bare minimum you need to see Captain America 2 and Avengers 2 first. And I hate saying that, because I thought Avengers 2 was a pretty mediocre movie. But this really is a continuation of those two plot lines. The rest is only throw-away lines that you don't really need to understand.

#34 ::: Quixotic James ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 11:33 AM:

1) What would reasonable Sokovia Accords look like? Mandatory training for the Avengers, so that they're not *just* a bunch of people with super powers. A command structure that answers to the UN, but can respond quickly, within broad rules of engagement. After-the-fact oversight in case they screw up. A cleanup crew who follows the enhanced people in to provide recovery and support. Basically, it would look a lot like an idealized SHIELD, but with a more public face. Just some initial thoughts.

2) I'm a little annoyed that more of the characters didn't defend their actions.

"My son died in Sokovia"
"Sorry to hear that. Next time I'll let the killer robot wipe out civilization."

OK, that's a poor example, since it was Tony's killer robot in the first place. But when important people in suits list all the times the Avengers screw up, it would have been nice if the Avengers pointed out that these were often better outcomes than the alternative.

For example, the opening action sequence with Crossbones. The Avengers pretty much had to do something when they realized the bad guys were after a deadly pathogen, instead of just bank loot. And when Crossbones tried to take out Cap with an explosion, Wanda didn't have any options that didn't include a larger loss of life.

"You killed seven Wakandans."
"Rumlow killed seven Wakandans. I saved Cap, myself, and dozens of Nigerians."

3) When they were setting up the climax with the five Siberian super soldier, I thought to myself "They really kept the final battle secret. There wasn't even a hint of our heroes fighting these guys in the trailers. Good job". Afterwards, I turned to a friend and said, "Those five Soviet super soldiers... Red herrings!"

#35 ::: Mark Bernstein ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 11:47 AM:

Overall, I join the consensus that it's one of the better Marvel movies. I do have one quibble. The Sokovia Accords are a 200+ page document, reviewed and revised to the point where 117 countries have, apparently, openly stated their intent to sign. How is it possible that the Avengers, or at least some of them, didn't even know this document existed until shortly before the signing ceremony?

#36 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 12:18 PM:

I would think that the logical way for the Sokovia Accords to work would be like the War Powers act. The Avengers can take action to face an immediate threat, as long as they notify the commission within a reasonable amount of time. Like a lot of government edicts, it's not so much about a control that can't really exist as it is about documentation.

#37 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 12:29 PM:

Liz Coleman @31: Yeah, but at that point they're talking about a man -- the villain who's expected to attack the police station. So it really doesn't pass, if one wants to be strict about it. (They're not talking romantically about a man, but it still falls under the "talking about a man" rule IMO.)

#38 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 06:18 PM:

It occurs to me that the Avengers were originally formed as part of SHIELD, and SHIELD was overseen by the mysterious World Security Council, so the Avengers already had international oversight, though of a creepy, covert kind.

The World Security Council got wiped out in Winter Soldier, and SHIELD no longer has formal official existence, so what we’re seeing in Civil War isn’t so much an attempt to assert control over the Avengers as it is an attempt to assert transparent, democratic control over an organization that previously had covert, militaristic control.

From a Doylist perspective, what I think we’re seeing here is Marvel’s attempt to provide an in-universe reason for secret identities and individualistic street-level superheroes who can’t just work alongside the government.

#39 ::: Phil Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 06:19 PM:

nerdycellist @9: I can't comment on Ta-Nehisi Coates' run on Black Panther. That said, I did want to take a moment to enthuse about the Christopher Priest run on the title from the late 90s/early 00s. In case you were wondering who Martin Freeman's character was in Civil War, he's playing Everett K. Ross, a hapless State Dept. official who was introduced by Priest to be a sort of viewpoint character as he acts as a diplomatic liaison with T'Challa. Throughout the Priest run Ross, who is thoroughly over his head, tries to keep up with T'Challa - who is cool, calculating, and incredibly smart - as well as members of T'Challa's entourage. This includes his thoroughly badass assistants/bodyguards, the Dora Milaje, who get to enjoy a brief cameo in the film intimidating (or, attempting to) Black Widow.

Marvel recently starting reissuing the Priest run as nice new trade paperback editions, with accompanying digital versions readily available, so I'd encourage you - or anyone else looking for some superior Black Panther comics - to check 'em out.

#40 ::: Spiegel ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 08:29 PM:

Quixotic James@34: I think the first example is a bad one because he was talking to a grieving mother. A case where being compassionate is more important than being right.

Some of it can be explained by guilt, too.

But I agree that someone should have jumped in to defend Wanda, even if I doubt it would have made a difference in the end. I don't think this is the kind of situation where the government or the public should just take the Avengers' word for it that they did their best.

#41 ::: Brad Hicks ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2016, 10:35 PM:

One of the things that I feel like superhero comics and movies make more complicated than it has to be is superhero law. The line between legitimate civilian use of force and vigilantism isn't all that unclear, I feel like. In most places in the world, any citizen who witnesses someone who's about to intentionally kill or intentionally seriously injure another person is legally entitled to use the minimum reasonable force against the perpetrator in order to protect the victim.

The law used to take a dim view of going out looking for crimes to intervene in, but there's a long string of cases from Bernie Goetz to George Zimmerman where the courts have even allowed that.

No, it only gets weird in two cases. Citizens' arrest law is a mess, to the point where no sane lawyer would recommend that you attempt one, so if we want superheroes to make arrests then we need them to be a lot better trained than they are, at bare minimum, and probably need to embed them in a properly overseen law enforcement body.

And many superheroes take it for granted that they're entitled to visa-free travel anywhere in the world in order to thwart a super-villain; without some kind of treaty specifying who does and doesn't have that power and under what circumstances, that's an international incident waiting to happen. In fact, the MCU dealt with that in an episode of Agents of SHIELD: a guy who was funding super-villain research was operating out of Malta, one of the only nations not to ratify the SHIELD treaty. SHIELD still intervened, covertly, illegally, but it was with the understanding that that meant that if they got caught, Malta absolutely would arrest and convict them.

So, yeah, my idea of what anything like a sane Sokovia Accords would be a framework agreement in which some international police training and standards body supervised their training. Member states would absolutely have some ability to nominate their own candidates, and perhaps there would be some kind of ratification process whereby obviously objectionable candidates could be vetoed, to keep the US from nominating, say, Abomination from Incredible Hulk, or Nuke from Jessica Jones season 1. (But, then, I imagine that the ratification process would choke, hard, on any of the current Avengers -- but who would you nominate in their place?)

They would be required to liaise with local police if they intended to investigate crimes or make arrests, prosecution would be left to the civilian courts, and they would be banned from performing their own extraditions or renditions except according to existing diplomatic agreements.

And to deal with extinction-level events, there would have to be some threshold of risk at which the Avengers were allowed to travel, with little or no notice, visa-free, anywhere in the world in order to defend the whole planet. But those threats would have to be clearly spelled out. I imagine a process by which some civilian liaison back at Avengers HQ hears back from the Avengers, "We're on our way to (fill in the blank) to save the world from (fill in the blank)," and that liaison makes some frantic phone calls to warn the destination country and any transit countries that the Avengers are invoking planetary defense protocol. And if they did so, they should have to justify afterwards why they did so; if it wasn't in good faith, I'd expect suspension of the leader who made that call, at the very least.

But when operating within their home countries, or in any country in which they've legally traveled to, in defense of imminent threat to human safety, they're on solid legal ground without any new law.

#42 ::: Daniel Audy ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2016, 12:55 AM:

I found it a largely enjoyable and above average excuse to have the heroes fighting each other and, as such, was willing to apply handwavium to the hefty plots holes.

My biggest disappointment was that if they are going to reboot Spiderman yet again that they didn't try and do something different and use the Miles Morales version of Spider-Man for the Marvel Cinematic universe rather than doing the exact same origin story again. It would have hit too birds with one stone by letting their next Spiderman movie tell a new story (I know crazy right?) and move their representation of people who aren't white dudes slowly (ever so slowly) in the right direction.

#43 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2016, 08:04 AM:

Daniel Audy@42

Nearly as I can gather, it would have been Sony's decision whether to use the Peter Parker version of Spider-Man or the Miles Morales version.

(Sony owns the movie rights to Spider-Man but they signed an agreement with Marvel that allows Marvel to borrow the character for Marvel's own movies.)

(Not that I actually think Marvel would have made a different decision if it had been entirely up to them.)

#44 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2016, 12:09 PM:

Four Atlantic writers discuss the film including Ta-Nehisi Coates

#45 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2016, 02:00 PM:

I saw the film last night and have been reading and Pinboarding lots of reactions. One that I like: "one way to look at Civil War is that everyone on team Tony except for Peter has probably read Rousseau and Locke, whereas on team Steve, probably only Sam has. There's a difference in amount of college education, a difference in class identity, and therefore a difference in attitude about government."

#46 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2016, 02:33 PM:

dotless i: Well, you can start with Sam and Steve saying, "Should we tell Tony about this? Nah, he wouldn't understand,"

To be fair, they have very good reasons to believe that he wouldn't buy the story by that point...and even if he did, he'd signed the Accords.

Steve not telling Tony about Howard and Maria was understandable but pretty dumb on his part, I agree.

#47 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2016, 04:41 PM:

Tom Whitmore@37: Are they talking about a man, or are they talking about how Wanda can operate on a mission? (And does that make a difference for the test?) I read it as the latter, but I'll have to listen again the next time.

Carrie S.@46: To be fair, they have very good reasons to believe that he wouldn't buy the story by that point...and even if he did, he'd signed the Accords.

On the other hand, as we saw, given a little evidence and a bit more information even Tony could be convinced enough to act independently after signing the Accords. They chose not to give him any information.

I really liked the movie, and will probably see it again soon. I found the dynamic frustrating to watch, but I don't think it's because the characters were being uncharacteristically stupid, as opposed to being short-sighted in mostly believable ways. But even well-made movies can be hard to watch sometimes.

I'm going back and forth on what I think about Spiderman in this movie. Thinking about the character in isolation, I like most of what they did, but I still don't think the movie needed him; but, as I said, my opinion is still shaded by residual grumpiness about knock-on scheduling effects. (A similar grumpiness undoubtedly influences my reaction to Ant Man.)

The more I think about it, the more I like T'Challa's arc. A commenter at The Mary Sue did a nice job of retelling the movie from his point of view.

And speaking of T'Challa, Phil Lee@39, thanks for the pointer to Priest's run; I've just started reading that series on Marvel Unlimited. It's fun, and I really like the way the story is set up with Ross as the viewpoint character. For one thing, it makes the "exotic African" aspects of the character (partially) into a consequence of Ross's narration.

#48 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2016, 04:44 PM:

Saw it last night. I had a medium-good time, but:

- I am tired of movies about Tony Stark's ego. It's been done. Talk about somebody else.

- Winter Soldier started with the personal and worked it outwards to the political and global. Civil War started with the political and worked it down to the personal. By halfway through, the whole discussion about oversight and agendas and corruption gets dropped in favor of personal Steve-vs-Tony (with the bad guy and Black Panther as echoes) (not respectively). This is actually good character writing -- lots of facets, lots of mirrors and echoes -- but it doesn't fly for me when I'm tired of the characters. (See above.)

WS ended with Natasha taking a radical action -- she goes public about HYDRA and SHIELD's failures. That involves the world in the plot. That's a big ending; it hit me hard. CW ends with a bunch of Avengers quitting. It's supposed to be a political split but none of it felt political; it's just who got mad at who over the past two hours.

#49 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2016, 04:55 PM:

Maybe the problem really boils down to the writers' decision to frame the argument as a moral dilemma that you're supposed to sympathize with both sides of -- but also personify it into Mr Selfish Bastard Who Reluctantly Knows Better vs Mr Having A Pure Heart Is My Entire Character Spec.

When you put it that way, of course the movie has to end with Tony losing the argument and the fight. Steve's whole thing is disagreeing with people who turn out to be either corrupt or shortsighted. But what do we do with that? Have him take down the UN and make the world a Wakandan protectorate? Obviously not.

#50 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2016, 09:30 PM:

Plus part of me had to think (and what happened tended to validate this) that Tony could go along because he knew that he personally could cheat when necessary. At any rate he swings around at the command of his emotions so as to make any agreement irrelevant.

#51 ::: Singing Wren ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2016, 09:51 PM:

dotless ı @ 47

Thank you for that link! The more I think about it, the more I think T'Challa's arc was my favorite part of the movie. I'm quite looking forward to his solo outing.

#52 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2016, 12:54 AM:

Upon reflection, I'm really very pleased with the romance between Vision and the Scarlet Witch. I hadn't expected that relationship to carry over from the comics, but when I saw it on the screen I thought it made much more sense than it ever did in the comics: the actors did a great deal with very little.

#53 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2016, 12:55 AM:

Upon reflection, I'm really very pleased with the romance between Vision and the Scarlet Witch. I hadn't expected that relationship to carry over from the comics, but when I saw it on the screen I thought it made much more sense than it ever did in the comics: the actors did a great deal with very little.

#54 ::: Devin ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2016, 10:22 AM:

In addition to the character problems of "two sides you're meant to sympathize with," Civil War is problematic in terms of allegory as well. I think Civil War is pretty explicitly meant as a post-9/11 allegory, and (perhaps less explicitly) also as an echo of the old Prof. X/Magneto MLK/Malcolm X stories.

But where those stories were allegorically about two sympathetic factions fighting for an identifiable good end but disputing the means... In this case we're somehow meant to sympathize with a faction that has used its enhanced power to make us less safe,* I guess?

If you wanted to make a better allegory, probably instead of "UN oversight," Tony should be working for something like "free bombs with tracking chips for anybody we can trick into saying 'hail Hydra.'"

*Near as I can tell, the American security apparatus post-9/11 has prevented two kinds of things: The first kind is "those things it was already real good at preventing before the PATRIOT act, etc." The second kind is "those plots originating from and entirely propelled by the FBI." So we're less safe two ways: first, the FBI's provocation-and-entrapment program makes you no safer, but does expose you to the risk of being entrapped by the FBI. Second, there's some slight possibility that someone encouraged and funded by the FBI takes that cash and encouragement and does something unexpected: fucks up the program and makes a buy from someone who isn't a Fed, say, or gets twitched under FBI-applied pressure and starts shooting, or whatever.

Of course, that's not even getting into the opportunity cost issues of "what if we had spent that money on something like better emergency medical services," in which case we'd be a) safer from terrorism (because ambulances actually help, while FBI agents-provocateur are at best useless) and also b) safer from, you know, fires and heart attacks and car crashes.

And I'm not being cynical and underrating FBI/NSA/etc accomplishments here. As far as I'm aware, they don't even claim to have done anything specifically better than this. The NSA does periodically issue statements of the form "oh, yes, we sometimes foil plots we can't talk about." But even knowing no one can or will verify their claims, and even with the NSA's ongoing penchant for bald-faced and completely unbelievable lies, they're still not willing to say anything specific like "more than two plots" or "over six arrests just this decade," instead sticking to formulas like "yeah, we are definitely guys who enjoy foiling terrorism." That, to me, screams "we never did anything and we never expect to."

#55 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2016, 03:12 PM:

Well, I enjoyed it. I'm worried about Tony...

Note -- I'm surprised that the writers did not give in to the temptation I would have -- i.e., having Spidey quote to Tony, "Of those to whom much is given, much is expected..."

Nice to know that the team is still there to be called on in necessity, but were I in Tony's shoes, I wouldn't be answering any calls for help until the rest of the world begs for it, and is willing to allow the team a voice in the decision chain.

And I have NO idea where they're going from here.

P.S. I loved the Easter eggs...

#56 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2016, 07:47 PM:

I got the impression that when Spidey was answering the "Why do you do this?" question, the writers were consciously avoiding the words "great", "power", and "responsibility".

The other thing that struck me about his answer was that it came out sounding a lot more like Cap's "If I see a situation developing I can't just not help" than it did any of Tony's arguments. Makes me wonder which side he'd have picked if he'd been offered an actual choice.

#58 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2016, 11:43 PM:

I'm looking forward to the next iteration of Spiderman when Aunt May will be played by Taylor Swift.

#59 ::: Lylassandra ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2016, 12:44 AM:

I enjoyed it a lot, and was absolutely filled with admiration for the way they managed to balance what was a very, very full film.

I've never read the comic version, but I might need to-- I'm very interested in how it played then, post-9/11, as opposed to now, in the light of Snowden, the NSA, etc etc.

To me, the interesting thing about the dilemma is that it comes down to: who can be trusted? And the answer the movie essentially gives is "no one". But the power is out there, it's not going away, and so *someone* has to be trusted, even if only by default.

I'm glad Steve and Tony have called at least a truce, and it'll be very interesting to see where everything goes from here.

Also, THREE WOMEN. This is a record high and I was very excited and Wanda and Nat are my babies and I love them. And I want a Scarlet Witch/ Vision movie ASAP. (Also a Black Widow movie, but don't we all?)

#60 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2016, 05:55 AM:

I'm not sure what it says that people are going "too young! too young!" at Aunt May when the actress who plays her is in her fifties.

(Then again, there were people going "too young! too young!" at the 65-year-old Aunt May, as well.)

#61 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2016, 06:02 AM:

how many future supervillains are now moving up their world domination timelines because Tony Stark gave insane research funding to every incoming student at MIT?

"So, Mr. von Doom, you're saying you need a few rights to revert before the final submission of your Ph.D. project?"

#62 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2016, 11:35 AM:

I think one of the more interesting questions of the comic book Civil War was the issue of those who, like Jessica Jones (at that time), don't want to act as police, but would be both outed and "on call" to do so under registration.

I'm not sure whether spoilers for MCU TV are appropriate here, so regarding Agents of SHIELD I'll rot13 to say that vg frrzf yvxr gurve gnxr ba gur Fbxbivn Nppbeqf trgf n ybg pybfre gb gur pbzvp obbx Pvivy Jne: ertvfgengvba sbe nyy "cbjrerq" crbcyr, naq dhrfgvbaf nobhg frperpl if. bhgvat cbjrerq crbcyr jub zvtug abg or nyy gung cbjrerq (jub pna'g "gnxr pner bs gurzfryirf"). Gur fubj unf oebhtug hc gurfr dhrfgvbaf orsber, ohg abj vg'f rkcyvpvgyl va gur pbagrkg bs gur Pvivy Jne zbivr.

#63 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2016, 12:08 PM:

What happens on Agents of SHIELD doesn't affect what happens in the MCU proper, though. It's a little odd because the Inhumans thing properly should be relevant--and to be fair, the way Vision talks about the number of powered individuals rising does rather imply "more than just us here in this room". Still, the arrow of causation seems to be pretty one-way.

#64 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2016, 12:10 PM:

Ok -- after having a night to mull it over, did anyone else think this line in the note from Cap was a warning?

"Glad to hear you're staying at the compound, I hate to think of you rattling around the mansion alone..."

I've got a BAD feeling about the mansion.

#65 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2016, 12:52 PM:

Paul A. @60, re Aunt May:

When I was introduced to the character she looked like the leading image at And the last movie version I saw was in 2004 (Rosemary Harris, born 1927). So, yeah, this edition was a bit of a shock.

Not objecting, though.

#66 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2016, 12:56 PM:

Carrie S.@63: Pretty much, yeah. I suppose there are good Doylesian reasons for that, given that the finances, timeframes, and audiences of the movies are all so much bigger, but since I'm in the audience for both I like seeing the connections. Sometimes they've managed to have an event in the show lead in a minor way into the next movie, like with the Yrzhevna Fgne last year, but the closest I noticed this time was that gur qrfgehpgvba bs ULQEN fgnegrq ng gur raq bs Jvagre Fbyqvre jnf pbzcyrgrq, va n qryvorengryl nagvpyvznpgvp jnl, right before the film opened in the US.

#67 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2016, 07:12 AM:

I suppose there are good Doylesian reasons for that
One of them is apparently that the TV department is further separated from the movie department than it was a few years ago.

(I still hope for a brief-cameos-all-round approach in Infinity War, though.)

#68 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2016, 07:24 AM:

Marisa Tomei is the right age to be playing the aunt of a fifteen year old boy.

But, _Marisa Tomei_. As _Aunt May_. Do I feel old. Even though she looks great.

#69 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2016, 08:26 AM:

Upon second viewing, Natasha's choice of side clicked into place.

One of Nat's favorite strategies is to give herself over to the enemy until she has what she wants. She gives in until she wins. And that's what she's planning to do with the Accords, at least until the whole Bucky subplot makes Steve go totally AWOL. When she has to really choose, she chooses Steve.

#70 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2016, 09:32 AM:

Carrie S.: I just read an essay that resonated with me about how complying for as long as necessary but no longer is a strategy a few women use in CACW.

I identified most with Vision and Black Widow.

#71 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2016, 09:55 AM:

Hell, Sharon's eulogy quoted Peggy saying it in so many words: "Compromise where you can, but where you can't..."

Of course it was also a lovely way to work Steve's "No, you move" speech into the MCU; as a eulogy it worked, and I'm not sure even Chris Evans could have delivered it without sounding like a dope in any other context. (N.B.: The speech only works as written if you are Captain America or his moral equivalent. It's not an excuse for real people in the real world to be stubborn jerks.)

#72 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2016, 10:58 AM:

Annnnd "Agent Carter" has been canceled.

If the real world were fanfic, the cast of Civil War would pool their paychecks and fund another season. On a different network.

#73 ::: dotless ı ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2016, 10:31 PM:

nerdycellist@9: Having now read the first couple of Coates/Stelfreeze issues, and, at Phil Lee's recommendation, the start of Priest's run, I'd say that Priest more clearly explains the context (despite a deliberately disjointed narration style at the beginning), and is a better source of background right now. Coates, on the other hand, picks up with a lot of context only supplied by hints; it's enough understand the current situation, but you won't necessarily recognize the flashbacks or know all about T'Challa's abilities.

But I have to say, I'm really enjoying the new run, and eagerly looking forward to the next issues. If you want background now, then (assuming Priest didn't fall apart after the first few issues) look up the Priest. If the Priest issues aren't available (and you don't want to deal with reading them digitally), then I'd happily recommend the new series.

#74 ::: Steven desJardins ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2016, 11:14 PM:

There are currently three volumes of the Christopher Priest Black Panther run available, going up to issue #49, and a fourth volume has been solicited for release in August.

#75 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 08:38 AM:

For me, it held up really well for a second viewing, with the bonus of being able to parse some of the fight scenes better (Cap hooking the 2 cops together & looping them over the railing) and catch a few bits of dialogue I missed the first time ("You could at least recognize me!").

Also hearty agreement with Steven at 52/53; I was a huge Vision/Wanda fan back in the day, and I found this very gratifying.

#76 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 09:22 AM:

Some thoughts after a second viewing.

The oversight mechanism seems badly designed, at least what we learn of it. And our first glimpses of it in operation aren't all that impressive. So the question for Steve, Tony, and the rest of the team is really at what point does badly designed oversight become worse than no oversight at all...

(And also, as noted up above, if you conclude that no oversight is actually better, how far do you go along with badly designed oversight before openly rebelling.)

A minor point. The second viewing did confirm my recollection that Tony's parents were heading off on vacation (to the Bahamas, incidentally) when they were killed. Probably on the way to the "one stop" at the Pentagon rather than from there, since it seems to make more sense for Howard to be delivering the serum to the Pentagon rather than picking it up from there.

#77 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 02:50 PM:

The oversight mechanism seems badly designed, at least what we learn of it.

It's pretty clear to me that the Sokovia Accords were designed in great and unseemly haste by a bunch of people who were panicking. It's not a surprise that they picked the actual worst way to go about it, even absent active malice.

It's not that I'm in favor of the Avengers running around doing whatever they like with no accountability; yes, we-the-audience know that Steve is incorruptible, but if this were something happening in real life, you're darn tootin' I'd want some kind of oversight. But given the nature of the threats they face, it seems blatantly obvious that they'd do better with ex post facto review, rather than pre-action approval.

If the 117 countries all said, "You can cross our borders to deal with emergent threats, and when the threat's dealt with we'll sit down and study what you did and where you messed up," that would a) work much better and b) be something that Steve says in so many words he'd be willing to accept; one of his explicitly-voiced complaints is that the Accords as written take both the credit and the blame for Avengers' actions out of their own hands.

Which is not to say Tony's wrong; he's been dealing with the government his whole life and he knows it's going to happen one way or another. Nor is Nat wrong, because if you agree to it at least you can work from the inside. But they are both right from a practical POV, while Steve is right from a moral one. And I think that was a very good way to go.

Also Tony's trying to Save The World all at once and forever, just like he always does. It's just that this time he's trying to save it from himself.

#78 ::: Beth Mitcham ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 05:02 PM:

I was leaning Team Cap before the movie, and like Carrie S@77 I felt Steve was saying "I can't sign this" as opposed to "oversight is something that should never apply to ME." The Avengers under Steve actually seem better at responding to issues -- Tony is no longer active, as is appropriate after his screw-up with Ultron. Bruce is also gone, and no one is hunting him down.

The people pushing the Sokovia Awards seemed heavily painted as problems -- Ross (of Hulk infamy) is pushing them, they blame the Avengers for the invasion of New York by aliens (there's a case to be made for Shield's responsibility, but not the Avengers), and there's no indication that there is any understanding of the threats the Avengers averted. Given Steve's experience with dangerous shadow global/governmental organizations (nuke New York Shield, Hydra in Shield and in just about everything else), you can see his hesitation in signing his conscience over to a new one.

And then the new shadowy government organization (SGO) laughs at the idea of responsibility to obey laws -- literally laughs. Bucky is brought in and Steve asks about a lawyer and they laugh out loud. It's no wonder that Steve doesn't trust them, and the movie shows he is correct about this in that the SGO running the superheroes is much more concerned with secret prisons than with responding to the threats these people deal with.

At the airport, Steve isn't fighting to free Bucky. He's fighting to be allowed to rush to the place where a man who is either secretly controlling the new SGO or who has figured out how to easily manipulate it is going to seize control of a group of Winter Soldiers. Tony and his crew are trying to stop him because he's not a SGO. Steve is wrong about the man's intentions, but I don't think he's wrong that this was a clear threat. When Tony gets over his ego he agrees about the threat, but the SGO continues to ignore it. So Tony (like Cap) sneaks off to deal with the threat.

I liked Black Panther's arc, but he's not a good guy for most of the movie. He tries to murder people he doesn't like. Even as he fights on Tony's team, he's fighting against the accords -- he could care less about who has signed what, he just wants to kill the guy someone told him was responsible for his father's death. He's the big example of why vigilante justice is wrong. At the end of the movie he accepts the idea of social justice over private vengeance, having learned not only the costs of revenge (his dad died because this guy wanted what he was trying to take), but also the dangers of taking the law into your own hands (Tony going after Steve and Bucky). He's the movie example of someone learning something. (Tony doesn't seem to learn. Steve's beliefs were reinforced.)

I like that all three end up in the same location as they show different paths. Steve believes that you can't always trust your government (and government betrays him). Tony wants controls because he knows he can't control himself (and he mindlessly attacks Steve and Bucky in the grief and anger over his mother's murder). Black Panther learns that there are limits and laws, even when it is time to take personal action. So he makes a "citizen's arrest" of Zemo, preventing his suicide and forcing him to face justice.

I would like an examination of what controls should be placed on superheroes, but I don't think this movie was it. It was a good example of why it's not enough for a government to wave words like "democratic" around; they also have to have safeguards and controls in place.

#79 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 05:38 PM:

they blame the Avengers for the invasion of New York by aliens (there's a case to be made for Shield's responsibility, but not the Avengers), and there's no indication that there is any understanding of the threats the Avengers averted.

I have to admit I got very, very angry at the lecture that basically said, "You went in and saved some very bad situations from becoming immeasurably worse, but you weren't perfect so YOU SUCK." I mean, aliens are literally invading NYC, your response is to try and NUKE MANHATTAN, and it's...the Avengers' fault that some people were killed? If I were a Star Trek master computer I'd have steam coming out of my vents at the illogic of that.

#80 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 05:53 PM:

Bucky is brought in and Steve asks about a lawyer and they laugh out loud.

Oh, yes! (Everett) Ross chuckles and says, "A lawyer, that's funny." Steve gets a beautifully disgusted look on his face.

It's part of a bit of a thread that runs through the film, in fact, of treating the enhanced as objects rather than people. Bucky's the most obvious example, but there's also the bit where Tony says of Wanda that "They don't give visas to weapons of mass destruction", and where (General) Ross equates Thor and Bruce with nuclear warheads and implies that the Avengers are somehow negligent for not having kept track of where these independent adults have chosen to go. I'm sure there are other examples, but those are the ones springing to mind.

#81 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 07:43 PM:

Just gonna leave this here...

Over on Slacktivist, someone mentioned that their roommate described Civil War as "stayin' up all night to get Bucky".

#82 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 11:48 PM:

Ok, I'm ticked off.

Does no one give a damn about Tony Stark?

IMVHO, the man's still dealing with PTSD, add the pain/guilt of Ultron, Pepper's gone, Rodie's dealing with being paraplegic, and by the end of Civil War if something ugly raises its head on the horizon there's little left in the Avengers' stable to deal with it, Cap's note and burner phone notwithstanding. And the cherry on top? Finding out his parents were assassinated. How much more stress can the man take -- I'm surprised he isn't gibbering, "They're coming to take me away -- ha-ha..."

Tony is hemorrhaging inside -- every time he achieves some stability in his life, something comes along a blows it apart. "I thought I was your friend..." (That's not to say that he hasn't brought some of it on himself.)

So now we've got "oversight" (Was the shadowy 'World Council' deposed for pitching a tactical nuke at NYC?) and it seems like they want to warehouse i.e. imprison anyone they're afraid of, which is hardly likely to make these folk want to protect Earth when the next alien invasion arrives.

And where the hell is S.H.E.I.L.D. in all of this? I though THEY were supposed to be supervising the Avengers? Now would be a good time for Nick Fury to rise from the dead...

#83 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2016, 11:56 PM:

And the 'oh no' second strikes again:

Fourth paragraph, "and" not "a"

Sixth paragraph: S.H.I.E.L.D.

I think it's time I went to bed...

#84 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2016, 01:02 AM:

I have sympathy for Tony Stark, but no, I don't give much of a damn for him. He has not demonstrated the ability to stop causing problems.

"(Was the shadowy 'World Council' deposed for pitching a tactical nuke at NYC?)"

Good lord, no. They hung on until HYDRA fried their asses in _Winter Soldier_.

Beth Mitcham wrote: "Tony wants controls because he knows he can't control himself (and he mindlessly attacks Steve and Bucky in the grief and anger over his mother's murder)."

I like that angle, but he should start by giving up the suit like he said he would. That would get him most of the way there.

#85 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2016, 11:54 AM:

Huh -- so Hydra nailed ALL of the Council? I know they were good at infiltration, hadn't realized they were that good. There was so much going on that it didn't register that the entire Council bit the dust.

Come on, now -- you know Tony isn't going to give up the suit.* In fact he was DAMN stupid not having at least one available in Civil War when the situation went pear-shaped.

So you think Tony shouldn't have attacked Steve and Bucky? Sheesh -- here is a guy who's still trying to process his grief over losing his parents (you don't get over these things) -- and it turns out what he thought was a car wreck is actually an assassination, and you're surprised when he unloads that anger and grief on the person who caused it, and the one who concealed it? He's not a saint -- and better he take it out on someone who can absorb the punishment...

*And since Tony's one of my favorite characters, I want to see him in future films. I think he's got real possibilities as a mentor for up and coming Avengers.

#86 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2016, 01:16 PM:

Huh -- so Hydra nailed ALL of the Council? I know they were good at infiltration, hadn't realized they were that good. There was so much going on that it didn't register that the entire Council bit the dust.

There were only five of them, including Pierce, and all but one died on-screen (three by exploding security badge, Pierce by a gunshot). We don't know what happened to the woman Natasha was impersonating.

you know Tony isn't going to give up the suit.

Yeah, he says as much, and in fact mentions it as one of the reasons Pepper left him*.

So you think Tony shouldn't have attacked Steve and Bucky?

To be blunt, no, I don't.

It's entirely understandable. Tony was under huge amounts of stress and he snapped and had a brain Blue Screen of Death. I suspect plenty of people would have done it. That does not make it the right thing to do. Murderous rage is pretty much never the right thing to do, the fact that his target was capable of defending himself doesn't make it better, and by the end of the movie it's pretty clear that Tony's figured that out. (Nor does Steve take him to task for it, which is probably the right response.) No one is surprised that Tony snapped, everyone understands and forgives, but that doesn't make it a good thing to have done.

Poor Tony needs so much therapy. And maybe someone to explain that being a rich brilliant white guy gives him some advantages other people don't have. I care about Tony, but a lot of his wounds in this film were self-inflicted.

*: It amuses the hell out of me that I've read that speech about why Pepper left, down to "I'm a handful", in every single break-up-Pepper-and-Tony-so-he-can-sleep-with-Steve fic I've ever read. Guess it goes to show that the fic writers grok the character...

#87 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2016, 02:34 PM:

Carrie S.@86

According to Agents of SHIELD, Gideon Malick was also a member of the WSC (and the second Hydra infiltrator on the Council).

#88 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2016, 04:46 PM:

Carrie, I know it wasn't the right thing to do, I'm just not surprised it happened. And Tony can read between the lines -- he's been warned twice now to watch his back, first by Natasha, and second by Steve's note. There's a threat out there, and two people I'd trust have mentioned it -- I want to know WHAT they know.

So no more Council (I beg leave to doubt this)? AND no more Hydra (not so certain S.H.I.E.L.D accomplished that, either)?

And the third question, since these things seem to run in threes -- Where is Nick Fury and what is HE doing?

#89 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2016, 07:28 PM:

Lori Coulson@88

The Council does appear to be gone, although as Carrie notes above. there may be one member still alive.

(There was another definite survivor but he was killed shortly before the events in Civil War take place.)

At the time of the events in Civil War, Hydra is probably not a functioning organization. At least based on events in Agents of SHIELD. Whether anyone will try to restart Hydra at some point in the future is a separate question.

#90 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2016, 10:01 PM:

Michael I @89: Ok...but wouldn't each of these 'council members' have had a carefully groomed protege ready to step in and replace them? Maybe I was a Federal employee for way too long, but the organizations I'm familiar with make a fetish of redundancy and succession. (Here's to bloody war and sickly seasons...)

I'm not going to miss Hydra, and I do hope they're history. I expect we'll find out more on AoS.

#91 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2016, 07:55 AM:

Lori Coulson@90

The other thing is that the WSC was basically the board of directors for SHIELD. And since SHIELD was officially dissolved after CA1, the WSC was dissolved along with it, regardless of whether the dead Council members had successors lined up beforehand.

#92 ::: Privateiron ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2016, 09:04 AM:

Before I read any other comments, my impressions:

Falcon is flippin' awesome. I don't know how, but he became my favorite MCU character with this movie.

I am trying to reconcile this Rhody with Iron Man Rhody. Quite frankly, I just did not care when he crashed.

Panther left me cold at first, but he was the character who actually reacted to events and changed during the movie. It was not lost on me that he passed the test that Tony failed.

I liked the complex tone they set with Scarlet Witch, a good mix of youthful confusion and realistic hesitation in the face of a complicated situation. Good fit with Hawkeye as the non-creepy father figure and Vision as the creepy uncle.

Tony: I don't want my friends in detention camps, just bad people. I am starting to see why Charlie Stross did not want to write this guy.

I am bit perplexed at the people who hated the editing in Quantum of Solace, but thought this movie had the best action ever. I liked both, but I can see how you can just get lost in the chop.

Ant Man had the right tone for comic relief in this particular story. I thought Peter Parker was a bit jarring. Possibly done well in an abstract sense, but not really appropriate for here.

And Marissa Tomei? Aunt May can be younger and hotter, but she CANNOT be Jersey Shore.

#93 ::: Privateiron ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2016, 09:36 AM:

Some further notes: I love that white people are fleeing to an advanced nation in Africa to evade totalitarian America.

How does General Ross, of all people, become the spokesman for restraint and taking responsibility for "collateral" damage? Isn't he responsible for the destruction of Harlem?

#94 ::: Beth Mitcham ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2016, 04:41 AM:

Carrie & Lori Coulson: Tony's attack on the Winter Soldier was completely understandable (even more so than the big airport fight), but still not right. So it was a good argument for the "controls needed." Of course, Steve managed to contain the situation without killing anyone, so that's on the "self-regulation is working" side.

The Black Panther got several attempts at this test -- he "fails" the first one and only Steve's intervention keeps him from murdering Bucky. It's only after he sees Steve prevent Tony's murder attempt that T'Challa makes the leap that private vengeance isn't the right answer.

Who's left to help Tony? Rhodey is there, and is probably around most of the time as Tony works on inventions to help him. Maybe he can talk Tony into some PTSD therapy. Vision is there. Maybe the two of them can help each other deal with guilt. And Black Window could sneak back around to check in with him on occasion, I guess.

#95 ::: James Moar ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2016, 05:24 AM:

Black Window
Her motivation isn't exactly transparent.


#96 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2016, 01:22 PM:

Private Iron: How does General Ross, of all people, become the spokesman for restraint and taking responsibility for "collateral" damage? Isn't he responsible for the destruction of Harlem?

Yeah, I thought of that. Mind you, I think it makes sense that Ross managed to evade "responsibility," mostly by blaming the Hulk, and then--assuming he turned to politics--would have the kind of obvious public "motivation" for leading the charge on "Super Hero oversight." But that anyone who knew his history would trust him around super heroes or super soldiers? Even Tony?

Then again, Tony had at least a vague hope that Bruce would be on his side, before Natasha shot him down. And while I could see him believing that Bruce might think oversight was a Good Idea, I can't see him thinking that Bruce would sign the Accords himself (more likely, just try to hide, promising privately never to let the Other Guy out again for any reason, if he could help it) or trust the government--or Ross, above all. But overall, the presence of Ross was one of the things that made it clear to me that, need for oversight or not, this was not the solution to be trusted, being headed by Ross. Maybe if Tchaka had lived he could have gotten the UN committee off to a good start. Maybe. But Ross's involvement made everything and everyone suspect, right from the get-go, in my opinion. And I think that that was deliberate on the moviemaker's part.

#97 ::: Threadjack for Dr. Strange? ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2016, 12:53 PM:

Hey guys! Since Our Esteemed Hosts seem quite reasonably occupied with other matters, we could just coopt this thread to discuss Dr. Strange.

#98 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2016, 04:01 PM:

I'm in!

I was hesitant to see it because of the various problematic issues that everyone's probably heard plenty about. Also I am tired of Benedict Cumberbatch playing, well, everyone. But the trailer seduced me and I went and saw it and enjoyed it a LOT. Partly because it's been a really shitty couple of weeks and I really needed escapism.

I'm particularly taken with Mordo's and Strange's differing attitudes towards The Rules (what they are, what happens if you break them, what the alternatives might be).

#99 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2016, 04:43 PM:

I'd be more tired of Cumberbatch's ubiquity if he didn't (a) pull it off and (b) demonstrate great taste in projects.

I do find Cumberbatch with an American accent to be just wrong, though. (Though no arguing that he did it very well.)

Glorious as the eye-candy was, I loved the characterizations. What I loved most, though, was Christine, and the way she'd boggle, and then just roll with it. Every time.

If they do more of these things, she has to be in them!

#100 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2016, 04:58 PM:

I agree with you re: Cumberbatch's ability to pull off his roles.

The accent, after an initial jolt, didn't bother me at all; rather the way I felt about Hugh Laurie as House (don't like the show, but the accent is excellent).

I liked Dr. Palmer, and I will like her even better if they keep her, and NOT as Strange's love interest. (Is that POSSIBLE?)

#101 ::: Buddha Buck ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2016, 07:24 PM:

I was disappointed in Dr. Strange's growth from an arrogant, egotistical asshole into an arrogant, egotistical asshole, just in a different field of expertise.

In general, I enjoyed the movie, and I plan to go back next weekend and watch it in 3D.

#102 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2016, 09:13 PM: arrogant, egotistical asshole who was willing to put his body between Dormammu and Earth long enough for his hair to start graying at the temples.

#103 ::: Steve Halter ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2016, 02:09 PM:

I enjoyed it quite a lot. They managed to capture the feel of the original comics pretty well.

#104 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2016, 02:15 PM:

They did, didn't they? I am again amazed at how it's possible to translate something like Dormammu's dimension (or Loki's helmet) to the big screen and not have it look incredibly stupid.

#105 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2016, 09:54 PM:

And even Dormammu himself -- they got the feel of him and made him so much bigger!

Rotating gravity wasn't so much of a thing in the original -- the ways they have magic work are really different, but not at all bad. Just different.

And having two teasers, one before the credits and one after, was kind of sneaky. Liked that Stan Lee was reading THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION on the bus -- they even gave the publisher a credit for that.

#106 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2016, 05:53 PM:

Loved Dr. Strange! The fight sequences were just a little too long for my taste, but I liked the origin story and both the teasers.

#107 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2016, 02:40 AM:

The Dark Dimension looked like a black light poster to me.

#108 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2016, 09:02 AM:

I saw it. I liked it. There's apparently an imprint for me of Dr. Strange, in blue tunic and pants, with the red robe and all chaos swirling around him, the Sorcerer Supreme.

I wish there had been some smarter dialogue. Strange understands triage. If he can't figure it out for himself, why doesn't someone tell him he can't be a top surgeon if earth is destroyed?

And that rules sometimes exist for reasons-- being careless about his attention is how he got into the car accident. It was something that a warning about distracted driving was the last text in the credits, but I wouldn't have minded seeing it in the dialugue.

Ans so on.

However, a lot of the visuals were very satisfying. Shuffling buildings around was good-- a fine follow-up to Dark City, which I liked very much, and a demonstration of how much special effects have improved.

The interaction between the astral plane and the material world was satisfying.

Is there any reason to think Dormamu will be bound by a promise?

#109 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2016, 02:16 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz @108: Part of the nature of deity-like beings (and Dormammu is one) is that they don't break their promises, they are just very careful about the wording. So he's likely to keep to the letter of the promise, but not the spirit of it. It's like making a deal with the Devil: wherever there's wiggle room, there will be a disastrous wedge driven right through it. And Strange has been shown to be somewhat careless about details in this movie.

#110 ::: Bill Higgins— Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 28, 2019, 11:14 PM:

As with #97, I am wondering whether this would be a good place to put SPOILERS for Marvel’s BIG BIG MOVIE OF 2019.

#111 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2019, 10:39 AM:

Works for me.

Meanwhile, via

'Google “Thanos.” There will be a Infinity Gauntlet image on the right side. Click on it. No spoilers involved.'

#112 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2019, 10:46 AM:

Jacque 111: And when it's finished, click the gauntlet again.

#113 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2019, 02:46 PM:

Mary Aileen: Heh! :)

#114 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2019, 10:22 AM:

#111, 112, 113:

Great. Now we're avoiding spoilers for Google searches.

#115 ::: Bill Higgins— Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2019, 11:06 PM:

At the beginning of Infinity War, Thanos’s forces overcome the (only) Asgardian refugee ship, take the Cosmic Cube, depart, and destroy the ship. We see only Hulk escape. Later, the Guardians find, among the wreckage, a single suvivor, the inexplicably-durable Thor.

Yet in Endgame, years later, Rocket and Hulk visit a town full of Asgardian refugees. If there is an explanation for this, I missed it. So?

#116 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2019, 11:53 PM:

I think this is an example of "plot hole you could drive a Chitaurian cruiser through", as one person put it, elseweb.

#117 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 07:50 AM:


I believe there were supposed to be hints in "Infinity War" that a bunch of the Asgardians had escaped from the ship before it was destroyed.

#118 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 11:16 AM:

I was under the impression that the typical "Hi, we just killed *half* your people" thing was done to the refugee ship, with the area Thor and the dead were in being the destroyed section, with the other half running away fast and hard because, well, this enemy just killed Loki and left Thor for dead after they found a way to beat HELA. (Which is definitely proof Thanos in unhinged: Asgard had ALREADY lost over half its population, and he should have said "Excellent work. Carry on.")

Thor even says "half" in some dialogue later.

I concede, and indeed have often griped, that the editing on that section of Infinity War is so terrible it is utterly unclear that there are any survivors of the encounter, or where they went.

#119 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 11:29 AM:

You think Doctor Strange's visualization of the future was impressive? He's a piker.

Happy Hogan was dressed for that funeral from Day One.

#120 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 03:53 PM:

Is anyone else pissed off that they utterly quashed any possible Black Widow movie?

#121 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 06:36 PM:

Cassy B@120

As far as I know, the Black Widow movie is still happening, although it's likely to be a prequel.

#122 ::: Cassy B. ::: (view all by) ::: May 06, 2019, 10:25 PM:

@121, I guess it would have to be a prequel. <wry> Good to know there'll be something. But honestly, if I had to lose one of them permanently, I'd rather it be Hawkeye. He's just less interesting a character to me.

#123 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2019, 08:50 AM:

Cassy B@122

It wouldn't HAVE to be a prequel. There are a number of ways they could get around Natasha's death (the simplest being a Natasha from an alternate universe). However, it does appear that it WILL be a prequel.

#124 ::: Sarah E. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2019, 10:42 AM:

@ #115:

When I watched the opening scenes of IW it struck me that the carnage didn’t include quite enough bodies for Thanos to have killed *all* the Asgardians, and also I didn’t notice Korg, whose body would have been pretty recognizable, among the dead; so my hope at the time was that he had been assigned to get the civilians off the main ship while Thor, Loki and the other fighters delayed Thanos as long as they could. If there’s an Asgadians settlement on Earth I assume my guess was correct (and that Valkyrie also went with Korg, if she’s there too.)

Cassy B@122, Michael I @123:
I’ve already seen at least one fic on the topic of “so what happens when Steve puts the Soul Stone back? (since the whole sacrificial set-up doesn’t seem like it takes into account that anyone might ever come there to return something)” as a possible route for Nat to be revived as well as for Cap to have another throwdown with the Red Skull.

#125 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2019, 07:30 PM:

I encountered a particularly mendacious bit of clickbait recently. (Or maybe this is a normal level of mendacity for clickbait, and I just don't know it because I usually think better of clicking.)

The headline was something like "Endgame director reveals why this character appears in Endgame", over a photo of the kid from Iron Man 3. The article was several paragraphs speculating that his cameo in Endgame might mean he's being set up for a larger role in a future movie, before getting to the money quote -- in which the director said, about as clearly as it's possible to say, that he's in the scene where everyone gathers to pay tribute to Tony for the obvious reason a character whose life Tony had touched would be in that scene, and that they have no plans for him to appear in future. Followed by a couple more paragraphs arguing that this doesn't mean they won't give him a larger role in a future movie.

I was aware that clickbait articles were often a case of making a mountain from a molehill, but in this case there isn't even a molehill.

#126 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2019, 01:08 PM:

Paul: Making a mountain out of an anthill?

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