You are probably sick of all the political bickering on social media. Despite taking part in a lot of it, I have to admit it often gets too much, and I just want to shut the whole thing down, run away to a Badjao shack on a coral atoll where it is just me and the fishes. So why not go to the movies for some escapism? No luck there, if you want to watch the blockbuster du jour the Russo brother’s Captain America: Winter Soldier. It’s all about taking sides on political stands but amped up with super-powered fisticuffs.
Plot Synopsis: Cap vs Tony = rights vs safety
You see, Captain America (Chris Evans) is taking a stand against the United Nations, who want to control the Avengers’ superhero activity to particular cases decided by a committee. Affected by the immense damage of past battles, Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) agrees with the proposal, but Cap just can’t bring himself to curtail the individual’s right to make decisions. Add to the fact that he wants to save the life of his former friend, the Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), from those who want justice for the assassin’s many crimes. Cap finds himself having to work against the law to maintain his firm stance on the value of his friend and his rights. Some of the Avengers agree with Cap and take his side; while Ironman must recruit familiar faces to bring back Captain America. Friendships fray as the plot acrobatically maneuvers in ways reminiscent of Captain America’s previous installments.
Not escapist but cathartic
While actually being more of an Avengers’ movie, as it gives an adequate amount of time to all the franchise’s characters, it is the battle between Cap and Ironman that is the central conflict of the movie. While ostensibly about politics, the psychological battlegrounds of friendship are the deeper emotional struggles being investigated here. Not escapist then, this film, but oddly cathartic.
At the end of it all, you know what matters
Civil War is resplendent with the glories that make comic book movie great: balletic action sequences, clever set pieces, witty one-liners, and camp costumes. So refreshing after more recent dour DC offerings! Things are kept entertaining while delving deeper than most blockbuster fluff by working over the themes of friendship from so many angles (Cap and Ironman’s rivalry, Cap and Bucky’s nostalgia, Wanda and Vision’s budding attraction, Black Widow and Hawkeye’s jokey comradery to name a few). This conflict between friends brought up in me all the messy emotions of fraternal discord. You might leave the movie and refriend a few of those you blocked from your FB wall. Certainly we all need the reminder that whatever happens this elections, each of us need to give ourselves to lives of cooperation to make our home a better place. Who’s right and who’s wrong matters a lot less than the love we have for our kababayans.