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Kate kate_nepveu
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Captain America: Civil War (spoilers)
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I think it was . . . pretty good? The political discourse was a bit lower than Winter Soldier: better than many pop culture things but not good enough. Everyone seemed reasonably in character for most of the movie. There were definitely some lumpy structural/pacing bits, but nothing egregious. I didn't find the content "no ow make it stop" until pretty late; until then there was a healthy leavening of the kind of improvisational intelligence that I enjoy about good action sequences. It's totally watchable without having seen Ant-Man. On the whole, I'm glad I saw it so I could judge it for myself, though I don't expect I'll be rewatching.

Actual SPOILERS:

The thing is, Steve is my favorite, you know that, and yet as the movie went on I could see it stacking the deck in his favor, rather unjustly. The start of his & Tony's dispute is genuinely in character, and indeed catches up all the character development from Ultron that Tony should have had and that Steve had in Winter Soldier that Ultron forgot about. But Tony isn't wrong because he wanted to take Bucky into custody, even though Steve claimed that Bucky was being set up. It's smart to do investigations without potentially-still-brainwashed assassins running around loose, you know?

Basically, yes, whoever's in charge of a military force runs the risk of being wrong about what actions need to be taken. But relying on Steve's righteousness—as much as I believe in it—is not a sustainable solution to the problem, because one has to plan for the possibility that Steve won't be around forever, or that he won't be righteous forever. Vesting oversight in public bodies that are transparent and accountable to the greater public has to be the solution. Weirdly, I thought about this while writing the by-laws for Con or Bust; obviously I intend to run it for the foreseeable future, but it's now totally possible that I could be voted out or just resign and someone else could take over, and so we wrote the by-laws with safeguards. And yes, the by-laws could be changed too—or the military oversight body could fuck up, goodness knows we don't lack for examples of that—but in each case the resource is sunlight and public pressure, not taking one's toys and striking out on one's own.

(By the way, I am very tired and have edited out at least three words that were not what I meant to type but were similar, so if I miss one, sorry.)

So yeah, though I find it very weird to say it, I'm on Tony's side here. Ross was terrible and so was the Raft, but that doesn't mean the principle was wrong.

The little olive branch at the end, with the letter and the phone, soothed my "no! don't fight!" feelings a bit. I'm so glad the Russos are on board for the next Avengers movies.

(I'm not going to go through all the stacking the deck, but it made very little sense for Steve to know that Tony's parents were killed by Hydra and not Tony, what? I almost thought I didn't hear Steve correctly when he said he did.)

Lumpy transitions: why was Tony indulging in showing off his memories to an MIT audience? The prologue felt more and more unnecessary as the points from it were hammered home throughout the movie; or, at least, it could have stopped at him running the car off the road (also I have no idea what was recording that video). The transition to Spider-man was pretty jarring. On the whole there was less Spider-man that I feared, though, so that was good.

T'Challa. I really loved him—that post-credits scene, amazing—and his arc, and now I want all the wary-but-coming-to-a-reconciliation fic about him and Natasha (I realize this is logistically improbable in the extreme, just roll with it) and also slash with Steve, which fandom will 100000% fail to provide me, because racism.

(And hey: maybe this means they've gotten the origin stories out of the way for him and Spider-man, and we can just skip those?)

I don't have a conclusion about this, so let me just note it: it did not escape me that the plot was moved early on the bodies of black people. It also did not escape me that responsibility was demanded to be taken for their deaths, and in a much more ethical way than pursued by Tony or Zemo.

I'm so glad Rhodey didn't die, and that he got a good moment at the end. I am weirdly upset at the idea that Tony and Pepper broke up? I can see why, but I still don't like it.

Peggy! *sobs* I do love that Steve had visibly been crying before the funeral, though. And that Sharon got to attribute the "no, you move" speech to her. (However, I literally sank down in my seat and covered my face in my hands when Steve and Sharon kissed. NO WRONG BAD NO)

Clint and Ant-Man: existed. The Vision: paternalistic jerk. Wanda: probably significantly re-traumatized, ouch. Sam: love. Natasha: her pragmatism worked for me, AND she asked Bucky "don't you remember me?" which I am choosing to take as a reference to the Red Room and not to CA:TWS.

(I believe they said that they were chasing Bucky for two years, which is another bit of evidence that the MCU roughly runs in real time, except IM 3.)

There's probably more but that's all I can think of right now.

Also re: Sam: Redwing the remote-control plane! And ouch, I forgot, talk about re-traumatized, seeing Rhodey shot out of the air is going to be bad there.

A note about post-credit scenes: there are two, but you don't have to stay for the second unless Spider-man is your absolute favorite because it's really nothing.

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