I was afraid this could be a bit of a hot mess after Age of Ultron, I mean that had less people involved and was quite overstuffed. I'm pleased to say that my expectations were exceeded. This wasn't as much of a pleasant surprise as Avengers Assemble (mostly because we all feared that'd be dreadful and then it really wasn't and we didn't even know such a thing could work), but it was in some ways better as a thing because there's more background and complexity for the characters.
I didn't take a side (I can be that way sometimes, I haven't picked a side in the British Civil War either despite that my A level history teacher insisted that we would) and I felt that the viewpoints and motivations of most characters were given space and explored. This is nice because it could easily have been more on Cap's side (it's technically his film, and I understand the comic story line has Stark as a right jerk). The story made sense from a character point of view and the tension was built by the knowledge that there was more to the situation and we (or the characters) knew. It was cool that there were a few times when Steve and Tony almost sorted things out, but then something would happen or something would be sent that made it all worse. The action was exciting and interesting, groups of people using their powers and skills for fighting while mostly not wanting to properly hurt anyone else. There was room for surprises despite all the trailer clips and there was variety to the action that's different to what we've seen before. It's nice that Marvel have realised that you don't have to have a city in danger or something in the sky at the climax of a superhero film. A conflict can have tension and impact and be dramatic without trashing buildings and creating loads of collateral damage. I think this is one of my favourite Marvel films.
The Return Of The Random List of Spoilery Thoughts
Again this won't make sense if you haven't seen the film, plus it's probably going to be spoilery for previous Marvel films, so you were warned.
How did the Dean get a job at MIT? Seriously, he could barely run a community college.
Maybe they didn't want me to make this comparison, but they should have put a wig or beard or something on him. I am easily confused by people having different hair, so if I spotted it was the same man they couldn't have been trying hard to hide it.
Ma Stark has a name and a face and a voice!
I've been waiting for this for years! I mean she's only there so Stark can avenge(r)* his mum's death (what else are superhero mothers for?) but at least she's acknowledged as a person after 5 films with Iron Man and 2 films and a TV show featuring Howard Stark.
|Maria Stark, about damn time|
No! They killed Peggy! How could you! I mean it was obviously coming, but still, sadness. I pulled a sad face at my husband in the cinema. And then the 3rd series of Agent Carter isn't happening. Further sadness!
Sharon does not replace Peggy. At all! Don't try this Marvel. I know she's good at her work and helps Steve loads, but seriously that doesn't mean they've gotta kiss. Is it kissing as a reward? Not that I feel Steve would do such a thing himself, but plot-wise that's how it feels to me. She's been helpful so she gets to kiss Cap, I mean it's a gender-switched version of a trope, but it turns out I still don't like it. The problem is that there's little background or build up to this kiss, just Nat suggesting he ask her out a few years ago before he knew she was surveilling him. Plus the whole Peggy connection makes it feel weirder. Though the MCU has no history of good romances, in fact that's main place where they do badly, so perhaps I shouldn't be surprised they've fluffed this. Or maybe it was to counteract the weight of all the Steve/Bucky online shipping, but this opposite-sex chemistry-free kiss does not convince that this pairing is better.
Vision's outfits! My first reaction to Vision was that he was so otherworldly compared to the rest of the characters, now his preppy-looking outfits are totally incongruous.
Vision and Wanda are kinda cute. They're the two most powerful (with Thor and Hulk absent), but also in many ways the most mysterious. I wonder if things will be going in the same direction as the comics? At least if they do there's some build up here, rather than a seemingly arbitrary decision about which two characters are attracted to each other. Part of me thinks that a version of the Gillon/McKelvie Young Avengers run would be awesome (gay teenagers smooching on the moon!), but in all honesty the backstory/origin of Wanda's kids is all a bit too weird for film.
Spidey is great, really enjoyed him, but I am judging Stark so heavily for involving a child in this. Him not doing that kinda thing was the main thing that made him less of a jerk than Batman.
Ant Man was just happy to be invited, cos it's so cool. Plus he's a bit anti-corporate and anti-Stark, so it makes sense.
No one explains why Hawkeye does what he does, and I'm not that bothered.
Black Panther was very cool and his putting aside of revenge was the most sensible and mature action here.
No Marvel ending, they're doing a different thing, finally. Nothing in sky. No city in peril. Just three people with massive emotion stakes in the situation beating the shit out of each other in a bunker.
Stark shouldn't have had Wanda held, not cool. Why didn't he just ask her to stay put, explain why he wanted her out of the way for a bit. Using Vision that way wasn't great, I guess he still has vestigal butler reflexes. Having done that to Wanda he probably shouldn't have told Cap. Stark's not the best team player and I think he doesn't entirely get that the others aren't his employees. Not that he's treating them that way on purpose, but I think he has limited ways of interacting with people and assuming he's in charge is one of his main social strategies.
Falcon has totally imprinted on Cap. His hatred of Bucky is understandable and hilarious.
It makes sense they had to fight among themselves as Loki's the only compelling villain they've done so far (they're almost as bad at villains as they are at romance) and he's Thor's issue. Plus this works so well because we care for and have history with most of these characters while also wanting to discover more about the newer ones.