“Let’s give Marvel the D.C. licenses and let them do the stories.”
Hey! I’m a D.C. guy. Ever since my childhood, I’ve always loved D.C. I used to like Spiderman and Hulk, but I loved Superman and Batman far more. So, writing this is very sad for me.
When yesterday I was leaving several books of mine in The Bookmark bookstore in San Patricio Plaza, I told one of the managers that I thought that Captain America: Civil War was what Batman v. Superman should have been. He was shocked by the comment, and said: “Ooooo… That hurt!” If you are the sort of person who likes the fights regardless of the story, you can disagree with me. Yet, I do care more about the story, because it gives the fight a meaning and a point.
If you have seen Batman v. Superman situations in comics or in the animated series (even the animated movies released by D.C.), you know that at the end of the day, it all comes down to the philosophical problem of fighting “along” government authorities against villains, how to deal with villains per-se, where you draw the line with your abilities or powers, and so on. You can even see this in The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel by Frank Miller (when he was still sane). I think that this idea is best developed in the Justice League animated series (especially Season 2), and brilliantly in the Justice League Unlimited animated series (especially Season 1). If you understand both Superman and Batman, you know that this is their basic difference, and the fight among both should have been about particular situations where both of their philosophies collide in practice, in the world arena.
Zack Snyder did not understand this when he directed Batman v. Superman. I don’t need to address the serious flaws of the movie, from the wacky “jokery” villain, to the unbelievable (in the negative sense of the word) reasons why Batman and Superman hated each other “to death”. Yet, if we were to mention the main flaw of the movie is this: everything feels forced. It is as if everyone acts in ways that don’t make any sense because the public is in the theater to watch a boxing match. Who cares about the story, right?! As a member of the public, I didn’t enjoy it much, simply because my mind kept nagging: “This looks cool and awesome, but why in the universe is this happening?” Then it wasn’t as cool or awesome as it should have been. Snyder wasted the chance completely. And since he didn’t develop the characters (especially Superman), I didn’t care whether anyone lived or died. As far as I could tell, these were two assholes and I hoped they killed each other.
Yet, in Captain America: Civil War, you already have developed characters (they had previous movies, and enough time for the public to know them). Even with this, the script writers didn’t use this as an excuse to stop developing them further, thus adding layers to a well-built tension among both groups of superheroes. Unlike Batman v. Superman, the movie exploits the best of what the actors had to offer. It deals also with a very important ethical matter: if you have all that power, and a lot of people die because of them, should it be regulated by governments or not? The whole movie mixes this problem with what, for the characters themselves, are very down-to-Earth situations, and this is where their philosophical views actually collide. I’ve seen these characters grow, I know them, I root for them, and to make matters more difficult, I actually understand their points of view, where did they come from, and how did they arrive to where they are. This is why I didn’t like to take sides regarding this issue. And even when I did (team Cap), I completely understood the other side. The main villain of the movie is not well developed, but at the very least the movie elaborates him enough so that you understand where he is coming from and why is he doing what he is doing. He is not a wacky Lex Luthor, but a mind who sets up a situation where main protagonists fight among themselves.
Not only that, but also the new characters (Black Panther and Spiderman) are enjoyable, and their scenes are easily some of the best parts of the movie. In the case of Spiderman, his contribution was creating a balance of tone in the movie, and Tom Holland did a great job playing this superhero … He did act like a teenager, like he should! For hormonal reasons, I also enjoyed Marisa Tomei as Aunt Mai … If I had an aunt like her … I would probably suffer from an expanded version of the Oedipus complex … but I digress! >ahem!<
That doesn’t mean that the movie is perfect. There was one annoying factor throughout it: the captions. My goodness! If you want to tell me that I am watching a scene in Queens or Bucharest, you don’t have to caption it ALL OVER THE SCREEN LIKE THIS to the point of covering the whole scene! It distracted me! Please, Marvel/Disney …. don’t do that again!!!!
I consider Captain America: Civil War as another lesson for D.C. regarding how to write a decent script. I recently learned the unfortunate news that Zack Snyder will be directing Justice League … Well, I can’t care any less about that at this stage. Marvel has done so much better on the big screen.
Sorry, D.C., but as far as movies in the big screen go, if Snyder is going to direct, I’ve given up on Justice League already.
P.S. – The Batman v. Superman review by the Nostalgia Critic and Angry Joe.