ellie_nors: (socialist steve)
I really don't get why the critics were so all over this film; it was good, but it wasn't that great. Maybe it's just by comparison to Superman v. Batman?

Anyway, have part 1 of my thoughts: things I liked and things I didn't like -- under the cut, because SPOILERS.

Things I liked

The fight scenes

They were beautifully choreographed, so beautifully choreographed. And when all the Avengers + friends got together for the big fight at the airport? All the fun banter and snark. It made Tony's desparation and inability to manage his emotional state, and Steve's determination to save the world regardless stand out all the more from the rest, who were mostly -- Vision and Scarlet Witch notwithstanding -- having a good time with their friends and heroes.

Um... that's about it for specific things I can pick out. Most of the other stuff I liked is under character thoughts (to come).

Things I didn't like

It wasn't a Captain America film

It was an Avengers film. This isn't a problem, per se, but the naming of the film set me up with certain expectations about its direction, pacing, etc., which left me with an underlying cognitive dissonance throughout.

The kiss

The kiss between Steve and Sharon was completely unnecessary to either the film, or to either of their characters' development. In fact, it was seriously out of character for both of them.

What it was was a blatant enforcement of compulsory heterosexuality, especially with the dudebro reaction from Sam and Bucky (which I thank my friend J for naming as such). It was aimed squarely at Steve/Bucky shippers, and everyone else who noticed that both the previous Captain America films were one long love story between them -- whether one reads sex or romance there or not.

Why do writers and directors feel the need to control the audience's interpretations and experience? Gah!

It was also really squicky, given who Sharon is and who Peggy was and that they'd literally just put Peggy's body in the ground. The only way I could parse it at the time was to set aside the squick of Sharon being a stand-in for Peggy / nearest available female, and erased as as person by that, and read it as a Steve/Bucky/Sam situation, and they'd either dared him to kiss her, or they were laughing at him for acting out of character, or for being awkward, or... Even then, just... NO.

This feminist is even less pleased than this queer Steve/Bucky shipper.

The accords

This is still under "Things I didn't like", but it's such a huge flaw in the film, and especially the scriptwriting, that it needed its own section.

The Sokovia Accords are presented as a solution to the Avengers causing civilian casualties. Except that's not the problem they address at all. The problem they (seem to) address is that anyone or anything with that much power needs civilian oversight.

And normally, I would agree; except that what's driving the accords isn't a calm-headed approach to managing the position of powered people in the world. What's driving them is anger, panic, and fear of powered people -- especially from politicians who need to be seen to be Doing Something about civilian casualties. Which the accords will do absolutely nothing to prevent.

I think it's especially significant that the prime mover on the accords is Wakanda, which is an absolute monarchy, as far as can be seen from the film. 116 additional countries support the accords; how many of those are democracies in any real sense? This isn't about international, democratic oversight of the actions taken by the Avengers; it's about nation-states, especially the leaders and bureaucrats of nation-states, attempting to gain control over the one moving part in the chaos of the past several years that they can identify and pin down.

If it was really about preventing civilian casualties, it would need a very, very different approach. Because whether or not an action gets the go ahead from a UN committee has absolutely no bearing on whether or not civilian casualties will result. Pinning the blame on the Avengers for civilian casualties in New York, Washington, Sokovia, and even Lagos, is plain wrong. They were taking the least worst actions they could. They didn't choose to locate the battles in centres of population; those threatening the world did. The Avengers simply stood against the threat.

If the Avengers had not done what they did in response to Loki, to the Chitauri invasion, to Hydra, to Ultron, to Hydra again, how many more civilians would have been killed? Millions, if not billions. To blame them for the collateral of death, injury, and property damage that happened in preventing that far worse outcome is to look in the wrong place: the blame lies with Loki, the Chitauri, Hydra, Ultron. But they aren't there, and the Avengers are, so guess who gets the rap?

There are legitimate questions of responsibility: about whether individuals can take on, or be asked to take on the responsibility for actions that affect the entire world; and equally, whether anyone has the right to take the responsibility for an individual's actions away from them, regardless of how many other people they affect.

Those questions of responsibility were vaguely touched upon by Tony and Steve's positions in the dicussion of the accords, but the central logical failure of the accords to address the question they said they were addressing -- civilian casualties -- was nowhere to be found. What we got, instead, was Tony Stark's unhinged personal guilt, Vision's irrelevant and frankly bizarre reference to superheroes creating supervillains, and Steve being firm but inarticulate, which is a huge failure in the scriptwriting. Seriously, those scriptwriters should have been fired.

But hey, who wants a real discussion when we can get on to another fight scene?

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