Warning: If you loved The Incredibles (2004), you will not like this movie!
Now, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. The Incredibles is one of my favorite Pixar movies of all time, yet I still enjoyed the always brilliant chemistry of the Avengers cast (including their three new supers: Black Panther, Spider-Man, and Ant-Man). The special effects were on par per usual, and even the general premise of this installment was intriguing.
However, as the opening battle sequence came to an end with Wanda trying, and failing to stop some I-guess-he’s-not-a-random-villain-but-if-the-last-time-you-watched-Winter-Soldier-was-a-year-ago-then-you’re-completely-lost, bad guy from blowing himself and a slew of other innocent civilians up, you can’t help but flash back to the beginning of The Incredibles and wonder why the government always wants to suppress superheroes.
Thus, we enter the politics of the movie, and after spending months of dealing with terrible real world politics, I personally didn’t find Captain America and Iron Man arguing about whether or not they should be under the direct command of the UN appealing. Now, the root of this conflict—the casualties caused by superheroes saving the day—that is interesting.
In The Incredibles, when civilians have had enough of superheroes accidentally hurting them, they force the government to send the Supers into hiding. Eventually, the civilians realize that maybe it’s not such a bad thing to have Supers since they tend to save the WHOLE WORLD (or city) while only occasionally causing harm to a relatively few number of innocent bystanders. To quote Captain America: “This job… we try to save as many people as we can. Sometimes that doesn’t mean everybody, but you don’t give up.” The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
In Captain America: Civil War, the UN wants to take full control over the actions of the Avengers. Mind you, the Sokovia Accords say nothing about preventing civilian casualty (although maybe it does, I didn’t actually see any Avenger read that entire novel of a proposal). It’s main purpose is to give power to the UN to make every decision—and thus, take all of the blame—for the Avengers. Of course, Steve Rogers, being a hardcore American, believes in complete freedom while for some reason Tony Stark decides it’d be better to once again hand over his weapons to a group of people who could change their motives at any time.
Unlike The Incredibles, humanity never realizes that the perks of having superheroes to save the entire planet dwarfs the damages caused by their actions. It sounds harsh, but between Avengers(2012), Captain America: Winter Soldier, and Avengers: Age of Ultron(2015), only 274 innocents were killed. Compared to the 7 billion people who live on Earth (or even just the millions of people who lived in the major cities that were attacked in those movies), those seem like pretty good numbers. And to add insult to injury—it’s not like the Avengers ever purposefully neglected those less powerful than themselves. In Avengers, Captain America clearly says that their top priority is containment (thus limiting the amount of damage done to New York), and in Avengers: Age of Ultron, their first step was to evacuate the city. We just spent another three hours in Civil War addressing something that the gang seems to already have a good grasp on.
Ignoring the politics of Civil War, the movie actually was pretty fun to watch. There were lots of explosions and awesome fight sequences topped with an awesome revelation during the climax (why they didn’t make the entire movie about that revelation, I don’t know!), and the witty banter always helped lighten the serious mood. For hard core Marvel fans, you’re going to like it. For those of us who are just in it for Robert Downey Jr.—eh, not so much. And if you liked how Mr. and Mrs. Incredible got to come out of hiding and have a happy ending, then you’re definitely not going to enjoy Civil War’s ending.
Photos courtesy of Disney and Marvel.