You can always count on Marvel to make a good superhero movie, and Captain America: Civil War is no exception. Filled with action, laughs and plenty to chew on, it’s worth the price of the ticket…and maybe even popcorn.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Caution: Contains spoilers.
The Avengers find themselves (as is a current theme in superhero movies: Batman Vs Superman, Suicide Squad) under suspicion of the world community. Since the breakdown on S.H.I.E.L.D., they had been operating on their own and superheroing is not always tidy. When you have supervillains, there will be collateral damage—the heroes try to keep this to a minimum and even routinely divert from the villains to save individual citizens (and the villains count on this to further their plans, often). This time, a mistake by Scarlet Witch brings that reality to the forefront, and blame starts flying. As a result, they are told that they must either be regulated by the UN, or disband. Some of the Avengers think it’s a good idea, and some think it’s a terrible idea. Within the overarching theme of freedom for the Avengers are several other questions of freedom expressed through the personal challenges of each character.
Some Themes of Freedom for Discussion
- The Avengers have to decide if giving up some of their freedom to function as they see fit is worth being able to promote freedom from villains.
- Iron Man is motivated by two powerful forces: selfishness and guilt. There is a question of how free he is to be making decisions that affect other people. His actions limit and take away the freedom of others.
- Bucky was being mind-controlled by villains to commit horrible crimes. When he is in control of himself, he chooses to give up his freedom for the safety of others.
- Scarlet Witch is placed under house arrest to “keep her safe.” A decision is made for her which (temporarily) keeps her from being free to make a choice in the situation.
- Spiderman is a teen who is given extremely limited information with which to make a decision about his participation in this civil war. He may have not been truly free in making the decision he made due to his lack of information.
- The villain, Zemo, changed the explanation for his motivation a couple of times. First he said it was because he wanted to revive Hydra, then he said it was to avenge the death of his family which he blamed on the Avengers. Villains are often unclear about why they do what they do. His grief, turned bitterness, turned revenge, might have removed some of his freedom to act responsibly. He became thoroughly corrupt as a result of it.
- The Black Panther watched his father die and wanted to have revenge for it. He made a conscious decision to retain his free will rather than get caught up in feelings and wound up be a super kind, forgiving, healing hero (besides Captain America, he was my favorite character).
- Captain America, who always has a good head on his shoulders, thinks everything through and doesn’t make a decision lightly. He gets all the information, reflects, obtains wisdom from a trusted friend (words from Agent Carter that were shared at her funeral)—all the things that we are supposed to do when discerning something serious. His decision is made in freedom because he considers all the angles.
- No matter what situation you find yourself in, you always have choices. It’s important to remember that whatever we do, we are responsible for our actions, but that to retain our freedom and use it fully, we have to be willing to keep ourselves in check, think clearly and pray to do our best.
A Critical Eye and Ear
My only criticisms are that the action scenes were so shaky and jerky that it was hard to focus. When that device started being used in the 90’s, I found it annoying, but as I get older, I find it almost impossible to even see. I don’t know if they need to do it to cover up for all the CGI or what, but it’s a pain. The other thing to be aware of is that they are slipping more rough language into the movies. The last Avengers movie had a running joke with the characters calling one another out for “language,” and now they are peppering it in more frequently. It was a little heavier than the other Marvel movies so far, but still good for most kids (I think—keep in mind, I have teens now and am not in the world of little kids anymore).