Starts off with a single person. And then they find a friend in a not dissimilar situation. And they’re both out cold. When they come to someone else has joined the party. Soon enough it’s a jamboree of living it up, chasing dragons and ghosts and be damned the consequences. Everyone’s opening up veins now.
If there was a more drugs-related movie yet in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s not as frenetic and explosive as the one presented in the falling debris of buildings and body parts here. And like any episode of walking in on someone trying to stem the backflow of the toilet clogged up by baggies, a chance at mirth amid the chaos.
Captain America: Civil War is what happens when you want to stage an intervention using superheroes as your addict proxy. One where close friends (and close enough to be family) gather around the troubled and sit them down to reflect on all the hurt and damage they’ve been causing. To show them the carnage run amok by their hands. And through that cathartic experience of baring souls, tearing open fresh and stale wounds, making them see the light, do they come to a resolution. Hopefully one that has the junkie stop their ways and swear to do better. In the end, slapping them across the face with an ultimatum. Clean up their act and get in line or find themselves on the tether.
For a Captain America movie there are a lot more Avengers hanging around than a normal staged intervention would host. It’s packing a lot of bodies into a single cluster where someone is bound to be punched in the face while making their way toward the toilet. After all, when everyone is in a costume or outfit that takes a while to pop open a release cavity, that toilet is going to be one contentious funnel.
Party crashers aside (those of the moral high ground looking to keep the wayward runners in check) it is a subtle continuation of The Winter Soldier in terms of playing for keeps in the stakes of espionage and a hint of the political thriller. It’s those minutes across the day spent looking over your shoulder, wondering who is out to get you, second-guessing who you can trust and who is going to stand in your way. That smoking down of the conspiracy trail that drives the suspicion and motivation to be on the run.
Steve Rogers represents the clean cut white collar worker who strokes the space underneath their nostrils a few times a minute. That well-established paragon of society and ideals that kids, the motivated and invalids look up to. A high functioning member with amped-blood coursing through them.
And then there’s Bucky Barnes. The dishevelled, exiled from society, walking around in clothes musty from frequent cold showers needed to wake up before the neighbours suspect what’s really going on. The one hyped up on PCP that they’re punching down support columns in a rage of the night sweats. Sides of the coin these two, and Sam Wilson there to keep them in check while they all go off underground.
It’s an exploratory film of the disruptive aftermath of a team in twain as close relationships are rent asunder by the chase for power and autonomy. The courageous journey of one man not wanting to be held down by external standards or shackled at the ankles by red tape, bureaucracy or accords.
Reviewed on Sunday, 29 May 2016