Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Battle for Bucky

Captain America: Civil War is the third installment in the Captain America movies, and it also as much of an Avenger's movie as it is a Captain America.  Of all the comic book movies out floating around, the Captain America series remains a favorite.  It has action and humor and continues the ideas established in the first two movies about the dangers of unchecked power and that not all right and wrong is black and white.




The Civil War or tearing apart of the Avengers centers on Captain America's lost friend Bucky Barnes who was turned into the Winter Soldier by the evil organization Hydra in the second Captain America movie.  Bucky is accused of a bombing of a United Nations meeting, and Captain America knows that if he doesn't bring in the Winter Soldier, Bucky is going to be killed.  So Captain America, Steve Rogers, must choose between his loyalty to The Avengers and to his friend who saved his life and says he is innocent. Add to this mix is a United Nations accord that wants to control the Avengers because of the damage by their battles in the previous movies.  Unlike their much darker brethren in the DC movie universe, the heroes of the Marvel universe feel the death and destruction that results in their battles.  Never mind that those battles saved the planet, the casualties of war still create holes and problems and hurt for those that are left behind.  Tony "Ironman" Stark worries that the Avengers should not be unchecked while the old warrior, Steve "Captain America" Rogers worries that the Avengers will become as much a political tool as an instrument of salvation for people.

Enter the Bucky Barnes storyline.  One of those people, Helmut Zemo has lost everything as a result of the Avengers' battle with Ultron. He has determined to destroy the Avengers by creating strife in the group.  If there is a fault with the movie, it is the logic of the writing.  Even as egotistical as Tony Stark is he would see that Zemo is doing before the final battle at the end of the movie.  Captain America is trying only to defend Bucky from the vengeance-driven Ironman. Still the friendship and the loyalty that should have been formed in the battles done by the Avengers seem easily breached and paper-thin.  We are reminded that it is Captain America and the Winter Soldier and the Iron Patriot that are the old warriors. 

The movie introduces a few new characters. The first is the security head Everett Ross whose job it is to take care of first Bucky Barnes and then later Helmut Zemo.  He is actually originally a character from the Black Panther comics who is an ally of the Black Panther and an expert of the fictional kingdom of Wakanda.  He is played by Martin Freeman who has mastered the art of the quiet hero in his stints as Watson in Sherlock and Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit.  With Ross, of course, there is also the hero, Black Panther or King T'Challa of Wakanda.  What ties Black Panther into the story is that Wakanda is the place that the mysterious mineral added to Vibranium which makes up the Black Panther's costume armor as well as creating Captain America's trademark shield.  Black Panther too is driven by vengeance for the death of his father in the UN bombing.  It is the Black Panther who delivers the statement or another theme in the movie about the cost of revenge. Black Panther is played by Chadwick Boseman who does quite well with the role.  

We are also introduced to the Marvel Universe's new Spiderman, played by Tom Holland.  He is one of the truly enjoyable aspects of the movies.  Marvel has determined to return to the teen Peter Parker who chatters on incessantly and is filled with youthful exuberance.  Holland is, at least from the glimpse we get, perfect as Spiderman. I am not so sure that the "hot" Aunt May played by Marisa Tomei is a choice I agree with, but it makes for an interesting take. 

The villain, Helmut Zemo, is played by an actor, who every time I see him, my appreciation grows.  Daniel Brühl manages to play comic book villain Baron Zemo as both evil and sympathetic at the same time.  We understand his pain but also despise his quest for vengeance at all cost.  There is also the introduction of a possible new villain, Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross who is that power-hungry political functionary that we have come to expect in the Marvel world. Ross is played perfectly by William Hurt. 

The fun of the movie is clear.  We have heroes who we can cheer for who still find some joy in life.  The honest and good Hawkeye or the "just trying to find my place in the world" Scarlet Witch or the all too gentle and human machine called the Vision all make us understand the price that our heroes must pay. The battle between the Avengers is fun and at the same time unsettling because we know that they are friends on different sides who are simply trying to do what is right. Still moments like Captain America driving around in a Volkswagen bug with the Falcon and The Winter Soldier is a visual that I will not soon forget, especially as the Winter Soldier complains to the Falcon who won't move his seat up. This is a problem that anyone who has ridden in a VW Bug will understand. 

The movie is a good one and quite enjoyable and fun.  At almost two and a half hours, it was easy to sit through.  I don't think that the 3-D did much to add to the movie and a few of the battles used that blurry motion effect so "popular" in the Transformer movies.  I didn't like it then, and I am still not a fan in Captain America: Civil War.  The Marvel movies continue to remind us that superheroes must also be folks that offer more than just protection but hope too.  I will buy the Blu-ray.