It’s a wonderful time to be a geek right now. Lots of wonderful movies are coming out. In the last few weeks we’ve gotten a handful of awesome trailers from Star Wars Celebration Europe and San Diego Comic Con International. These are the ones for the things I’m most excited for.
My capstone paper at BYU was on online fandom and I had to explain a lot of terms in detail to a professor who wasn’t very well-versed in modern trends. Since graduating, I’ve found out there is a lot more to fandom that I wasn’t even aware of, including terminology and slang. If you use Pinterest and Tumblr or you follow fandom sites on Facebook, the following may be some ideas to be aware of when looking at fan art and reading others’ posts, as well as commonly used slang. The slang terms you can look up in the Urban Dictionary (which is a site I DO NOT recommend for children).
Our favorite movies wouldn’t be as cool without the amazing musical scores behind them. This is a sampling of some of my favorite movie tunes.
- ‘This is Berk,’ James Powell, How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
(Spoilers, but I’m kind of assuming that you’ve seen Civil War by now.)
All of three of the female leads in Captain America: Civil War are amazing. The following thoughts are not comprehensive character analyses but what I liked best about each. The pivotal roles that each play demonstrates how highly Steve Rogers values the women in his life.
Spoilers discussed but not really mentioned in detail.
The first time I saw Captain America: Civil War in theaters, I had my doubts about whether or not it actually was a Captain America movie. It doesn’t feel like Cap gets a lot of depth because there is so much else going on. The plot and exposition is really about the buildup to the two main battles at the end. However, it is still a Captain America movie because the events in this film shape the mantle of Captain America and how Steve Rogers carried it. While I and lots of other fans are disappointed because we wanted more resolution for Steve and Bucky’s stories, the ensemble of characters was still balanced, even with the show-stealing introductions of Spider-man and Black Panther.
A little over a year ago I had a job working at a furniture store. Guardians of the Galaxy had just come out on Blu-ray and it played on repeat on several of the display television screens, including one that was close to the area where I worked. In spite of not being able to hear the dialogue very well, I became very acquainted with the different parts of the story and the struggles of the central characters.
You can reasonably expect as the time draws nearer for the release of Captain America: Civil War that I will write a few more MCU-related posts. As a fan, there is a lot at stake for me in this film. One of biggest, most burning questions that will be answered of course, is this:
Will Steve Rogers, our beloved Captain America, die?
In my Captain America post last fall, I said that I expected him to die in Civil War. Now let me amend that. It would be wrong to not expect anyone to die in this movie—as attached as we are to all of the characters, someone is going to bite it. Perhaps multiple people. There would be no emotional stakes otherwise. But I’m going to focus on Cap because he is the obvious choice for a dramatic, show-stopping death.
2016 is here, and that means we have a whole new year’s worth of movies to look forward to. 2015 was all about The Force Awakens. What will be the big hit for 2016? So far it looks like Captain America: Civil War may be the king of the year, but it has plenty of competition. This is my list of 10 movies I am looking forward to in the upcoming year. It’s not a comprehensive list, because there are a ton of really cool movies coming out this year. My list may not be the same as yours, but these are the 10 movies I am looking forward to. They are listed in order of when they are coming out.
This is part 3 of the 3-part Road to Civil War series.
WARNING! SPOILERS FOR ANT-MAN BELOW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
The question everyone seems to be asking is why the Civil War installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe a Captain America movie? The truth is, we won’t have all the answers until it comes out. However, here are some of my thoughts from what we’ve heard about the plot and based on my observations of Steve Rogers.
Captain America as a Leader
At the end of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, we see Captain America squarely in charge of a new Avengers team. The actions of this team under his leadership will lead to the debate over the regulation of superheroes.
Steve Rogers thinks of himself first and foremost as a soldier, but he has always been a leader. I f people expect Captain America to lead them, then he expects them to work like an army does. In Captain America: The First Avenger, he is the unquestioned leader of the Howling Commandos, and even the directors of the Strategic Scientific Reserve look to him to lead the fight against Hydra. We don’t see much of the men who followed him aside from Bucky, but I think he had a good working relationship with these guys that probably set his expectations for similar experiences a little high.
When Captain America goes to work for S.H.I.E.L.D., the situation is far from ideal. What Steve Rogers expects from those who work with him is trust. He prefers to know what other people are doing and what’s going on, whereas Nick Fury thinks it’s safer to “compartmentalize” assignments and secrets. Finding out that S.H.I.E.L.D. was controlled by Hydra is the last straw. From then on, Captain America doesn’t want to be in a position where he isn’t calling the shots. Being in control is Steve’s way of coping with the fact that he can’t trust other people’s motives.
Cap in the Age of Ultron
Steve decides to take out the remnants of Hydra, but it is unclear whether he asked the other Avengers for help or if they volunteered. But destroying Hydra is Steve’s project, so they let him decide what they do. To an extent they consider him the leader, and he may even think of himself as one.
Tony Stark referred to Captain America as “the boss” at one point during Age of Ultron, but Tony doesn’t treat him the way Steve expects he would if he really thought that. In The Avengers Tony is condescending and even resentful toward him. After the two work together for some time, there’s a little more respect and even some liking. Yet Steve expects that the other Avengers follow his directions and not do anything to jeopardize them or their mission. Tony Stark does his own thing. And Steve mistrusts Tony for this.
Steve is more concerned at first about preventing Ultron from causing more problems. But then Wanda Maximoff warns Steve the being Ultron was creating with the Mind Stone could be put to use by Tony Stark—and Steve takes it very poorly. His only thought is to prevent Tony from creating another Ultron, and he’s offended that Tony’s attitude and behavior are hurting the team as well as the world. Civil War as good as almost started over Vision’s cradle.
It would be wrong to say that Steve isn’t sad to see the breakup of the original Avengers. But at the same time I think he’s looking forward to working with the new team that has come together, probably more or less at his invitation. He has an advantage with this new team because he can set new terms for their working relationship. He can teach them how to work together, trust each other, and rely on each other in ways that the original Avengers never could: the way he wants them to.
So one of the hard parts of Civil War will be watching all of Steve’s hopes and expectations for the new Avengers go down the drain.
A Product of War
Captain America was created to fight a war that, for the rest of the world, ended seventy years ago. But the war never ended for Steve, and the best thing he can think of doing is continuing to fight.
During World War II, all civilian resources—food, clothing, and even entertainment—were redirected to the military and to mustering support for the war effort. It was a time period when people ate, slept, and breathed war. Cap went on the ice. The rest of the world had time to transition, but Steve didn’t. So a part of him still eats, sleeps, and breathes war because he didn’t get to see it end. And whatever closure he thinks he has—Hydra being vanquished, for instance—is an illusion.
When he got up, furthermore, he was asked almost right away to help save the world from Loki. Steve never intended to be Captain America for the rest of his life, but that’s what nearly everyone else wants him to be. So he has chosen to be a superhero: that is “home” for Steve now. And if it is his job to keep the world safe, then he will do whatever he thinks is right to get the job done. His job from the war, stopping Hydra, was left undone, so he is going to finish it. And his mind, it is an army—in this case, the Avengers—that is the best chance of stopping Hydra.
Doing the Right Thing as a Weakness
A lot of people don’t see why Steve had to crash the Valkyrie at the end of The First Avenger. My explanation is that Steve didn’t want the world to have access to the Hydra weapons or technology that was on that plane: Hydra was so evil that he wanted to destroy it and every evil thing it created. And, of course, he held Hydra responsible for Bucky’s “death.”
Steve does whatever he thinks is right at all costs, and if you disagree with him about what it takes to keep the world safe, then he is not giving you the benefit of a doubt.
In Captain America: Civil War, Steve will encounter a serious barrier to his goal of fighting Hydra just as Hydra is regaining strength, and his attitudes and choices in that time will put him in conflict with Iron Man and other superheroes. And then we have the Ant-man post-credit scene. From the dialogue and other inferences about the situation, we know that Bucky Barnes turning up again in this manner only complicates an already difficult situation. But why did Marvel choose to show this scene in particular? Steve wants to help his best friend, at whatever cost to himself, and if he has to break the rules—if he has to fight Tony Stark—to do so, needless to say it’s going to get ugly.
Bucky is the only thing Steve has from the life he used to know: before he was a soldier, before ANYTHING. If Steve can save Bucky, then he will be able, in some small way, to “come home.” It isn’t right this time: it’s personal.
But Steve, however, will put his personal happiness on the line to do what he thinks is right. I am prepared at this point to accept the possibility that Steve might even die in Civil War. What I am really worried about is, can Steve put up with all of this and still be a good person?
That’s the best speculation I can give you for now. But of course, it could all change the moment the trailer comes out.
This is Part 2 of the three-part Road to Civil War series
Let me get to the point: Tony Stark is not a villain. Take away his being a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, and take away the suit, and he is a person just like every one of us who is trying to do his best.
Granted, he started out as a billionaire genius whatever. What makes Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, a hero is when he realizes he has caused problems he resolves to fix them, usually with technology. In Iron Man, Stark is captured by terrorists while on a business trip–terrorists that have taken the weapons he designed. His solution is to create an armored suit with which to escape captivity and fight the terrorists, and he resolves to put his technology to better use in the future. In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark is confronted with the dilemma that everyone in the world wants armored suits patterned after his own. But he thwarts the plots of those trying to steal his design and asserts that the suit is rightfully his. Rhodey gets to be War Machine because Tony trusts him, and because Rhodey understands and supports him.
By the end of Iron Man 2, Tony is not approved for the Avengers initiative, but when Loki arrives on the scene in The Avengers, Tony is asked to help–and ends up doing a lot more than he bargained for.
Tony doesn’t tell the other Avengers that his near-death experience affected him, but it did. By Christmas, Tony has full-swing PTSD. And among other things Tony struggles with in Iron Man 3, Tony wonders how much he can give to keep the world safe. I am writing this post partly because I recently rewatched Iron Man 3 and I got a new insight on Tony. One thing I noticed was the scene in the restaurant where he’s talking to Rhodey. He’s practically begging Rhodey to let him help against the Mandarin. In the end, Tony realizes that he can’t stay away when the rest of the world has problems–not when he has the power to do something.
Tony blows up all of his Iron Man suits, but I don’t think he’s completely hands-off helping with global security. We do hear in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that he gave some suggestions for the helicarrier turbines. What if that wasn’t the only thing he had input on? What if Tony Stark made some behind-the-scenes contributions to the Insight program? If he wasn’t going to keep the world safe as Iron Man, then S.H.I.E.L.D. could do it for him through Insight, right?
Well, if that’s the case, he was wrong. Insight turned out to be a conspiracy, and Tony was one of the people on Hydra’s blacklist. He probably wasn’t waiting for Captain America to come to him for help in the fight against Hydra. He was probably already building new Iron Man armor in order to, first and foremost, protect himself.
By the time Age of Ultron rolls around, Tony has figured out that keeping the world safe isn’t a hobby the way he’s done it in the past: it’s a real chore. But according to Tony, this isn’t how the world works. Tony doesn’t just leave problems lying around, he fixes them and moves on. If you remember what he says to Steve Rogers/Cap right before the battle of New York: “We are not soldiers.” And then when they are at Clint’s house, he says, “Isn’t that the ‘why we fight’? so we get to go home?” Tony does not want to commit to a lifetime of saving the world. And a part of him doesn’t quite understand people who would do that–people like Steve Rogers.
What Tony wants is a way to keep the world safe in a hands-off way, something to protect people from the threats on this planet and, most importantly, from outer space. Ultron is the superhero equivalent of a dishwasher or a washing machine: a technology solution to save labor. When Tony gets the scepter in Sokovia and realizes what it can do, he asks himself, why not put it to use? Why not use it to build Ultron? The Iron Legion he created could only do so much: why not make something better? Coming from Tony’s perspective, it was a pretty good idea. It was probably not very well thought-out, but it was worth a try.
The Avengers keep Ultron from destroying the world, but they created an enormous mess in order to do so. And in the process, Tony also strained the relationships he had with his teammates. I don’t think Tony blames himself completely for what happened, but just enough that he feels like he needs to step out of saving the world, at least for a time. He solved the last problem he caused, so now he can go home. But honestly, I have no idea what he could be up to now. It’s not like Tony to just sit back. It is a fair guess, though, that Tony is taking a lot of time to think about what happened.
So why would Tony get himself involved in whatever mess happens in Captain America: Civil War? What would make him side with the likes of Thunderbird Ross and take arms against Captain America? I think what might happen is that Steve Rogers, as leader of the Avengers, does something that Tony Stark, observing from the sidelines, doesn’t like. There might be evidence, in his mind, that the world doesn’t need a full-time superhero force, or if it does then such a force should at least have his input. None of that is really bad, it’s just Tony doing what he thinks needs to be done. It is Tony seeing the issue of superheroes as a problem he needs to fix. And when he realizes he can’t control other superheroes, Tony will believe that Captain America and the people who are close to him need to be stopped, even if it means killing them.
I do not plan on going to the movie theaters next May and seeing Tony Stark as the villain. Hydra will be the real evil at work there, and Iron Man’s opposition will just it harder for Captain America to stop Hydra. Captain America: Civil War is about good versus evil, but Iron Man versus Captain America is about regular people caught in a disagreement–because of misunderstanding and, to an extent, deception–and that is what makes a civil war a tragedy.