I’m just back from seeing Civil War. I’m possibly less enthused than most of the reviews I’ve seen so far, so I’m just going to put some thoughts out there. I’m not going to get detail-heavy and don’t plan to put massive spoilers in for anything not kind of general knowledge from trailers, etc. some vague theme-related discussion. And one irrelevant-to-the-overall-plot detail. But, spoiler paragraph anyway.

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Reaction thoughts:

  • It’s a fine middle movie, for me at least it wasn’t very satisfying.
  • It is an ensemble piece, mostly and tries to balance a lot of characters, but it feels more like an Iron Man movie than a Captain America movie to me. It wasn’t quite an Avengers movie, though, considering that Hulk and Thor aren’t there. I particularly missed Banner, but obviously having the Hulk on either side of the conflict would have been big trouble. I suspect Thor might have been able to defuse things with surprising wisdom.
  • It’s very much a follow-on from Age of Ultron. It’s getting a really good response so far. I thought Age of Ultron was kind of unfairly maligned and wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be. In contrast, I feel like Civil War is just not quite as good as people are making it out to be.
  • The fight scenes were very well put together, but the first one was the most visually exciting one for me.
  • OMG uncanny valley with the de-aging effects. Seriously disturbing. Fine it’s minor set-up and it’s explained, but dude that was creepy looking.
  • It was a bit too heavy handed with its overarching themes and parallels. There’s having a foil character/subplot to help explore the main theme, and there’s going a bit too far. Mostly it would have been fine I suppose if it weren’t for the Zemo aspect. There were things about the Zemo plotline that I liked, but overall it rang a bit hollow for me.
  • Plot and Characterization were where it really fell down for me. Nobody was horribly out of character, but this actually should be a very character driven plot. It’s supposed to bring things down to a fundamentally personal level. Instead, I was wholly unconvinced by most of the major decisions being made by characters. Most of the character arcs just didn’t work for me. (The ones that were fine, Black Panther, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch. Just about everyone else . . . not so much.) This is nothing like the Murderverse complaints, just enough to leave me unsatisfied. The characters aren’t getting trampled on by someone who doesn’t care why people care about the characters; it’s just the plot seemed to force the motivations and reactions enough to make me feel it was contrived and unconvincing.
  • The characters are also some of the best parts.
  • Spiderman was convincingly a teenage boy. He was just generally superfluous if an entertaining late edition.

Things I liked:

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  • Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa. Black Panther was seriously the best part of the movie, and I’m really looking forward to his solo movie now. (Although, I suspect it may be less of a solo movie than I’d prefer.) He had the most convincing and well-developed character arc in the movie, which is interesting considering he just got introduced.
  • Scarlet Witch. Elizabeth Olsen was very sympathetic. Further comments here would get spoilery quickly.
  • There was some quality comedy in Vision trying to do human . . . a lot of it very simple visual stuff.
  • Don Cheadle knocked it out of the park with his Rhodey, and the Tony - Rhodey friendship bits were some of the most heartfelt scenes.
  • Friendship as a theme: more to explore here, and also where some of the weaknesses were. But, some of the lines related to this theme were the best.

I’ll probably watch it again at some point. It’s definitely worth watching. But, I’m not really seeing it as “one of the best Marvel movies yet”.

ETA: Comments may get more spoilery, so fair warning.