Before Coffee: Civil Dialogue

May 8, 2016 § Leave a comment

It’s Sunday, I’ve been up an hour, and already I’ve made coffee, put a load of laundry in, fed the cats (they deigned not to eat), cleaned their litter pans, and mopped up a lovely “present” one of them left me. Is this what being a mom feels like? Happy Mother’s Day.

Yesterday seemed like a sprint from beginning to end. It wasn’t, but it felt that way. But my wife and I did manage to get in a viewing of the new Marvel film, Captain America: Civil War.

This is not a review of the film (which is good, but not the best Marvel offering to date; it’s not even the best Captain America film). It’s just me beefing about a common flaw I find in movies (and sometimes books, but not as often). And sometimes in life.

Most problems can be easily resolved if people communicate. There are several points in Civil War where things come to a head and it would only take a few words of explanation to defuse the situation. Instead, they start punching.

Does this bother anyone but me? Sure, it’s a superhero action film, so audiences (I assume) don’t go to see people talk. The thing is, the not talking is a crutch of a weak script. “We have to have A happen so that B happens, but if they actually take ten seconds to explain what’s going on to each other, A won’t happen. So … FIGHT.”

This wasn’t the case in the previous Captain America movie, The Winter Soldier. That was actually a fairly taught spy thriller that just happened to have superheroes in it.

One thing I will give Civil War, however, is that it raises a question at the beginning and argues it out (granted, mostly via punching) through the rest of the movie, and at the end, I could see both sides. And I’m not really sure whose side I come down on.

That’s a good thing, but I still think the script needed another dialogue pass. I’m not looking for Shakespeare or My Dinner With Andre; I just want these supposed friends to be a little more trusting of each other, a little more willing to talk things out, and a little less quick to start blasting each other (and doing a lot of collateral damage at the same time which, ironically, is what starts the whole civil war).

Marvel has consistently one-upped themselves with each successive superhero (okay, maybe not the Thor films), so I expected more from the sequel to The Winter Soldier. And again, it’s good—far better than any DC offering thus far. But it could have easily been better.

Or maybe I missed something. Maybe Captain America is standing in for every American: so convinced we’re right, we’re not willing to talk about it. “The truncheon in lieu of conversation,” to quote another great superhero movie; we’d rather shout insults and punch each other instead of talking about the real issues. It certainly does seem like the script for this election cycle was written by an idiot.

The cat’s thrown up again. I’m sure that’s coincidence, and not any sort of commentary.


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