I shall be attacking Captain America: Civil War, penetrating its lines and arbitrating its conflict to declare if it’s revolutionary or a lost cause. So read on only if you’ve already seen Captain America: Civil War, or don’t plan to.
0:01:32 In 1991, Colonel Vasily Karpov and his Hydra goons wake up James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes (Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier) from under a blanket of snow by reading random words to him from a code book.
0:02:18 His mission is to run a car off the road and steal five bags of liquid kept in a case in the boot. His future might be in the bag.
0:02:56 After the Marvel intro screen, we’re in present-day Lagos with Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who’s enjoying a tea with Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans) through her earphone. They are surveilling a building which they believe will be attacked by weapons dealers.
0:04:58 The truck is a battering ram allowing armed men to destroy security at the Institute for Infectious Diseases, not to be confused with a prostitute’s Center for Infectious Diseases.
0:05:58 Captain America, Scarlet Witch and Falcon arrive at the scene, and the henchmen start falling like drunken tightrope walkers.
0:06:36 Brock Rumlow / Crossbones (Frank Grillo from The Purge: Anarchy & Election Year) steals a test tube of blood (resembling the one containing super blood which allows regeneration after injuries, and that we saw injected into Deadpool). Brock now has blood on his hands.
0:07:26 Black Widow finally decides she’s been shopping long enough and shows up to help her friends.
I don’t work like that no more.
Crossbones when Black Widow shocks him in the neck with a taser disk
After a helicarrier fell on him during the Battle at the Triskelion in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Crossbones’ nerve endings were severed and he is immune to electric shock. In other words, he’s still an unfeeling bastard.
0:09:14 One of the four remaining henchmen is carrying the blood vial, and they’ve split up in the town centre to make it difficult for the Avengers to track it. Fortunately, instead of increasing their odds by running in four separate ways, they decide to stay in groups of two, because they’re a couple…of WTFs!?
0:10:53 Black Widow secures the vial with the help of Red Wing, whom she refuses to thank because being a drone is a thankless job.
This is for dropping a building on my face.
Crossbones to Captain America during their brawl
[N.B. See 7:58]
0:11:38 Crossbones takes him helmet off. Everyone asks him to put it back on.
0:12:22 Crossbones sets off an explosive device attached to his person. Scarlet Witch contains the fireball with her powers, but only until she moves it near a crowded office building. Many employees are fired.
0:14:05 In an idealised memory, a young Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is home from uni for the holidays, being nice to his parents. In reality, it’s a memory he’s broadcasting onstage at MIT, calling it a Binarily Augmented Retro Framing, or B.A.R.F. We learn that after this moment in real life, his genitors died on the way to the airport, so their trip became one-way.
0:16:01 At the end of the speech, he’s meant to introduce Pepper Potts, but she’s too busy leaving him to attend.
0:18:18 Standing at a lift back-stage, a middle-aged woman (Alfre Woodard as Miriam) hands Tony a photograph of her son who was killed in Sokovia, and blames Tony for the lad’s death. WTF!? If people die during a tornado, do you blame the doctors?
0:23:18 Thaddeus Ross, the U.S. Secretary of State (William Hurt with a nice hair piece), arrives at Avengers’ headquarters, shows the team a slideshow of all their disasters and then drops on them an agreement the size of a telephone book approved by 117 countries saying their actions should fall under United Nations purview. What I find most WTF!? is the Avengers, with all of their tech, knew nothing about the preparation of a treaty fatter than War & Peace and signed by more countries than their collective IQ.
0:25:38 WTF!? A complete stranger knocks on the door of the Russian colonel (Gene Farber as Colonel Vasily Karpov) who’s in charge of guarding Bucky’s red code book and says “I’ve had an accident.” The special forces Colonel simply opens his door wide and lets the total stranger waltz in. The stranger (Daniel Brühl as Sokovian agent Colonel Helmut Zemo) proceeds to kick Karpov’s arse and steal all the Winter Soldier information. If you ever wonder why the Soviet Union disintegrated, remember this moment.
0:30:08 The debate where the Avengers choose sides for or against oversight by an international committee is the biggest WTF of the film for me. I realise I’m quite alone in this, and it may have something to do with the fact I’m not an MCU fanboy, but I find it incredibly backwards that Tony Stark, the devil-may-care, rules-were-made-to-be-broken playboy is pushing to become a branch of the government, while squeaky clean, God bless America Steve Rogers is arguing the Avengers should fight any and all types of authority and set themselves up as the world’s overseers. The Marvel universe seems to be full of black holes.
0:32:37 Steve’s very old flame, Margaret ‘Peggy’ Carter, is deader than her series, so Steve Rogers goes to London to seduce her niece. #Classy
0:35:54 At the ceremony marking the ratification of the Sokovia Accords in Vienna, Natasha Romanoff meets up with King T’Chaka (John Kani) and his son (Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa). Despite none of them being American, they all speak better English than you or me.
0:37:09 An explosion at the conference kills King T’Chaka, meaning the accord is now a piece treaty.
0:44:41 Captain America goes to Bucharest to arrest the Winter Soldier before the local law enforcement can, because the press believes the Winter Soldier is responsible for the bombing. Man, but that Winter Soldier is cold.
Captain America: You pulled me from the river! Why?
Captain America tries to get the Winter Soldier to remember their past so that he’ll surrender to the Romanian SWAT team. With logic like that, it’s not surprising Bucky decides to fight instead.
[N.B. At the end of the Battle at the Triskelion (see 7:58) in Captain America America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America is thrown from the hellicarrier and into the Potomac River. Frank ‘Winter Soldier’ Barnes pulls him out, saving his life.]
0:46:54 Captain America helps Bucky (who claims he did not blow up the signing ceremony) defeat the Romanians. How American of him!
0:49:02 WTF!? While Bucky escapes on foot, Black Panther and Captain America take up the chase. If Captain America, Black Panther and the Winter Soldier can all run faster than motorcars, what good is the Flash?
0:49:56 Wonderfully filmed action sequence.
0:51:36 Black Panther removes his mask to reveal he’s T’Challa. Evidently, T’Challa doesn’t grasp the concept of secret identities.
Vision [talking about the light on his forehead]: Do you know, I don’t know what this is? Not really. I know it’s not of this world, that it powered Loki’s staff, gave you your abilities but…its true nature is a mystery.
Captain America [to the Black Panther in the back of a police vehicle]: Your suit, it’s Vibranium?
Vibranium is the metal used in Captain America’s shield, so they have the same tailor.
What’s the difference?
0:58:10 In the office-cell.
Steve Rogers: Is Pepper here? I didn’t see her…
Tony Stark: We’re…kinda… Well, not kind of–
Tony: No, definitely not. We’re taking a break. It’s nobody’s fault.
Steve: So sorry, Tony. I didn’t know.
Tony: A few years ago I almost lost her, so I trashed all my suits [see Iron Man Three]. Then we had to mop up Hydra… And then Ultron: my fault. [see Avengers: Age of Ultron] And then and then and then I never stopped, because the truth is I don’t want to stop.
1:00:48 Just as Steve is about to sign the accords, Tony tells him Wanda is under house arrest in his penthouse. Steve thinks twice about signing, and both times it’s “No”.
1:02:44 Steve realises that the Winter Soldier was framed for the explosion so that his photo could be placed in the hands of the media, which meant the whole world would be looking for him. This makes it impossible for Bucky to remain in hiding, as he had been for years, ever since The Winter Soldier film came out.
1:03:36 An electronic pulse bomb goes off and shuts down all the power in Berlin faster than an immigrant who hasn’t paid their electric bill.
1:04:18 The man interrogating Bucky is Helmut Zemo, the same gent who nicked the red book at 25:38. He reads the code words we heard at the beginning of the film, and turns Bucky into the Winter Soldier. Proof that words can change a man.
1:06:55 Tony, Natasha, Sharon Carter, and Black Panther all fight the freshly brainwashed Winter Soldier to keep him from escaping, yet the W.S. defeats them all. The Avengers used to be in good shapes…
1:09:02 & 07
1:09:58 After kicking the helo over the edge of the pad and into a river, Steve is able to arrest an unconscious Bucky, who is out of his depth.
[N.B. This is also a way for Captain America to repay his debt to the friend who once saved his life by pulling him from a river. See 45:08]
1:12:01 Bucky tells Steve and Sam that the reason the euro-villain wanted a word with him [see 1:04:18] was to find out the location of the secret base in Siberia where other Winter Soldiers are on ice.
1:12:48 In a flashback to 1991, we see the Winter Soldier running the car off the road [see 02:18], only now we learn the blood that was stolen was put inside a large number of soldiers. If the plasma inside then was stolen, does that mean they’re hot blooded?
1:17:09 Tony Stark goes to recruit Spider-Man and his Aunt May is Marisa Tomei, who knocked me out in The Wrestler.
Tony Stark: You’re Spider-Boy?
Peter Parker: S-s-s-Spider-Man.
Tony: Not in that onesie, you’re not.
Peter Parker: Look, when you can do the things that I can, but you don’t, and then the bad things happen…they happen because of you.
Tony Stark: You ever been to Germany?
Peter Parker: No.
Tony: Oh, you’ll love it.
Peter: I can’t go to Germany!
Peter: I got homework!
Vision: Clint, you shouldn’t be here.
Clint Barton: Really. I retire for like, what, five minutes, and it all goes to shit.
1:24:12 To escape, Scarlet Witch must hurt Vision and knock him through all of the floors of the Stark building. She’s bringing him down in all sorts of ways.
1:25:24 Captain America and Sharon Carter make out under a bridge. #sharonakiss
Sam Name: What’s up, Tic Tac?
Name Lang: Uh, good to see you. Look, what happened last time–
Sam: –was a great audition, but it’ll never happen again.
1:29:14 Iron Man, War Machine, Black Widow and Spider-Man confront Captain America at the airport and tell him they’ve promised Secretary of State Ross that they’d bring the Captain and the Winter Soldier in. Captain America says it’s the psychiatrist’s fault and there are five more Winter Soldiers (billed as Super Soldiers in the credits) they need to capture. The masks are on but the gloves are coming off.
1:30:16 The fight begins…
Team Iron Man:
- Iron Man
- War Machine
- Black Widow
- Black Panther
Team Captain America:
- Captain America
- Winter Soldier
- Scarlet Witch
1:38:51 My favourite part of the fight is easily when Ant-Man turns into a giant.
Ant-Man: I’ve got something kind of big…but I can’t hold it very long.
And you don’t like being beaten over the head with my innuendos.
Black Widow [with a chance to stop the Winter Soldier and Captain America from escaping]: You’re not going to stop.
Captain America: You know I can’t.
So she lets them go!? WTF!?
Spider-Man: Hey, guys, did you ever see that really old movie The Empire Strikes Back?
Rhodey: Jesus, Tony, how old is this guy?
Iron Man: I don’t know. I didn’t carbon date him. He’s on the young side!
Spider-Man: You know that part, when they’re on the snow planet, with the walking thingies?
Iron Man: Maybe the kid’s onto something.
Like Luke did with the AT-AT Walkers on Hoth, Spider-Man wraps his web around Ant-Man’s ankles while Iron Man and Rhodey push the giant over. That’s one way to bring down a giant.
Black Widow [to Black Panther]: I said I’d help you find him [the Winter Soldier], not catch him. There’s a difference.
Wow, really? Natasha’s not a witch, but she rhymes with that.
1:48:52 Tony discovers Helmut Zemo replaced the real psychiatrist who was meant to interview Bucky at the prison [see 1:04:18]. In the dead psychiatrist’s room, there were some makeup up and facial prosthesis used to resemble James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes, which Zemo wore when he planted the bomb in Vienna, to make the world think the Winter Soldier was the guilty party. WTF!? I don’t understand how one can look at a pile of makeup and decide who it resembles.
1:52:56 WTF!? To better hunt Zemo, Tony pays a visit to Secretary of State Ross who has no place better to hang out than a ‘super-max floating pokey’ ocean prison where the captured members of Team Captain are incarcerated. How many police officers do you know that work out of the prison where their captures are kept?
Tony Stark: What do you need? They feed you yet?
Sam Wilson: You’re the good cop now?
Tony: I’m just the guy who needs to know where Steve went.
Sam: Then you better go and get a bad cop, because you’re gonna have to go Mark Fuhrman on my ass.
How about going Anderson Cooper on his ass?
1:54:34 Tony apologizes for being in the wrong side and promises to go and retrieve Captain America, so Sam gives up the location. I, personally, don’t see the link between Zemo killing a psychiatrist and the Scarlet Witch blowing up a building of civilians, which created the whole Avenger Accords in the first place.
1:55:34 Black Panther and his plane are hiding in a cloud, secretly following Iron Man, who’s flying solo after Steve. Iron Man might want to invest in some sort of radar that can detect a fighter aircraft flying up his arse.
Manchurian Candidate, you’re killing me. There’s a truce here. You can drop it.
Iron Man to the Winter Soldier
Iron Man joins Captain America and the Winter Soldier in Siberia to fight Zemo and the other Soldiers. As Bucky doesn’t trust Iron Man, he keeps his weapon trained on Stark, which explains Stark’s reference to a political candidate who is brainwashed into becoming an assassin.
2:01:44 Zemo (who eliminated the other Super Soldiers off camera) plays a VHS video of the Winter Soldier murdering Tony’s parents [see 2:18]. Tony watches and it’s clear he doesn’t enjoy home movies.
2:02:17 Lol, back when the video was being filmed, the Winter Soldier takes out the camera filming the scene…after it’s recorded him killing everyone. WTF!?
2:05:41 As Zemo escapes, Tony commences to fight Captain America and the Winter Soldier, yet again.
Captain America: This isn’t going to change what happened.
Iron Man: I don’t care. He killed my mom.
Are we sure this isn’t meant to be a joke?
2:06:34 In an effort to induce arms reduction, Iron Man shoots off the Winter Soldier’s metal appendage.
2:07:48 Away from the action, Zemo confesses to Black Panther that he killed Black Panther’s father, blew up Vienna, kidnapped Bucky, and made everyone believe he wanted to awaken the other Super Soldiers just to make Iron Man fight Bucky and Captain America…which already happened half an hour before! He did all of this to watch a rerun, for God’s sake! AND THEN HE LEFT WHEN IT WAS ON! WTF!?
2:08:27 Zemo wants the Avengers to kill each other so he can exact his revenge over their killing his father, wife and son in The Age of Ultron, when ‘they’ destroyed Sokovia…only it wasn’t them, it was Ultron. Would you blow up a police station because criminals killed your family? WTF!?
2:09:01 Black Panther prevents Zemo from killing himself so that he (Zemo) can be punished by the courts. He’s got more faith in the justice system than anyone I know.
2:10:42 Captain America rams his shield into Tony’s heart light, which keeps bullet fragments away from his heart, which means he’s killing Tony to protect Bucky. And you still don’t believe there’s something far deeper than a simple friendship going on between Steve and Bucky. #GiveCaptainAmericaABoyfriend
2:11:44 Captain gives up his shield because Tony says it doesn’t belong to him. Between his armour and his friends, Captain America chooses to be vulnerable.
2:12:15 In Zemo’s prison cell…
Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman): So, how does it feel to spend all that time, all that effort to see it fail so spectacularly?
Zemo: Did it?
Zemo says this because the Avengers are more split up than Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.
2:13:14 Tony helps Rhodey with physical therapy. Rhodey won’t stand for that.
2:14:21 Cameo by Stan Lee in a delivery boy send up.
2:16:18 The delivery is a letter from Captain America, who says he’s breaking the ex-Avengers out of Raft Prison. He included a cheap mobile phone so Iron Man can call him if he needs the exes, and an apology as cheap as the phone.
2:19:34 Post credit scene: The Black Panther agrees to put Bucky into suspended animation and hide him until they can find a way to scrub his brainwashing.
- WTF!?’s: 11 rebellious ones
- When to Follow: A Saturday night with friends when you’re looking for something more exciting than Pictionary.
- Where’s This Found: A solid addition to the Avengers series and a nice evolution from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Civil War has high entertainment value. The actors know their roles, the story is easy to follow and the action is regular and well-shot. I like this one as much as I liked BvS: Dawn of Justice, though for different reasons. Civil War is a fun, popcorn and cola, comic book movie. BvS aims a little higher, trying to reach the heights of The Dark Knight — it does not want to be a classic comic book film, it wants to be a classic film, full-stop. It falls short, to be sure, but watching it try is worth the watch. This is why I have for both films, out of a possible 10, 8 F’s to give.
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