Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Home Run vs. A Throwing Error

Scott D. Parker

There’s a moment in Captain America: Civil War where Tony Stark visits Peter Parker at Parker’s home in Queens, New York that distills what it’s like to be a super-powered superhero better than anything done in movies to date, especially Batman v Superman.

Tony is there to recruit the young (emphasis *young*!) man to do the things you’ve already seen in the trailers. Parker talks about being able to do the things he can, *choosing* when to do them, and the consequences of that choice being something he has to learn to live with. It’s basically the MCU’s version of the “With great power comes great responsibility” from the Sony Spider-Man films which, I assume, the MCU cannot use, or chose not to. Anyway, the moment was beautiful.

It’s the kind of line—albeit from a different viewpoint—that Christopher Reeve’s Superman says in Superman II when he’s horrified that the Kryptonian bad guys start throwing stuff at the humans. “The people!” It’s the kind of sentiment Barry Allen’s Flash gets behind every Tuesday on television. And it’s the kind of line Superman should have used in Batman v Superman but never did.

That’s the real loss of Batman v Superman. We see Superman saving people, but he never utters any words to the effect that he tries hard to be a hero. Peter Parker’s Spider-Man—and, more importantly, Steve Rogers’ Captain America—know that they can’t save everyone, but they’ll try their darnedest to save as many as possible.

I knew going in to see Captain America yesterday that it was going to be better than BvS. I just didn’t know how much better. The content is the same: Do super-heroes (“enhanced humans” in Civil War) have the right to do whatever they want despite the consequences or should they be held in check? Batman thought Superman should be held in check in the film and went about trying to kill him. Unlike the comic book version where Supes himself gave Bats some kryptonite as a check on Supes’s power. But where Bats and Supes just fought it out without talking, Cap and Iron Man and other talk to each other. They have conversations and, when they reach an impasse, the fight breaks out.

But they *talked* first!

Ugh! I watch the MCU films—Marvel was always second in my comic-reading days—and lament the possibility of what the DCU could be. To date, the MCU is largely hitting home runs, or, at least doubles and triples. On television, the DCU is batting 1.000. But on the silver screen? It’s like they reached first base on a throwing error.

I loved Captain America: Civil War. I love how each film organically is an extension of the films that came before. Civil War is no exception. And I’m pretty sure I know how Avengers 3.1 and 3.2 will come about. I’m not always a fan of heroes fighting each other, but it works in this film. Unlike BvS. There are a lot of little moments and visuals that are worth the price of your ticket. And it’ll make you crave the next film. Granted, I think the next film is Doctor Strange so that’ll be…different.

But, anyway, the MCU: thanks for showing everyone how it’s done.

And DCU? Take notes. And forget your fear about “copying.” We DC fans want DC movies that reflect these iconic heroes, not distort them. Just do it already.

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