Puzzle Doctor At The Movies: Captain America Civil War (and a mild spoiler rant)

Well, this is a bit of departure from the usual theme of the blog, but bear with me, there’s a reason for this review. Two reasons really…

captain-america-civil-war-wallpaper-more-final-piece-for-now-607639I went to the cinema last Saturday to see Captain America: Civil War. As I’ve mentioned once or twice in the past, Marvel Comics were one of the things that I read a lot of in my youth (and significantly beyond my youth too). So the development of the cinematic and televisual Marvel Universe has been something that I’ve enjoyed a lot. Sure, Iron Man 3 is pretty lame, but otherwise these are films that are both well made, and, most importantly, fun to watch. Unlike another superhero universe I could mention – well, in the cinema anyway. And if you want to see how grim and gritty works, a trip to Netflix shows you how with Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Hint: don’t try it with a character like Superman…

Anyway, back to the film. Reason one for the review: It’s utterly awesome. Funny, exciting, engaging, universally well-acted (the Bucky-Falcon double act and the new Spider-man are highlights) and superbly directed. And the bit where Ant-Man… Nope, not spoiling that bit. You’ll know what I’m talking about once you’ve seen the film. Just go and see it. I’m not going to say any more. It’s got the Mrs Puzzle Doctor seal of approval as well…

But Reason Two – the spoiler policy. And in particular, the spoilers in trailers.

By the way, you might want to stop reading at this point. I’m not going to spoil anything but I might make you think too hard about the trailer and that’s all that it took for me.

Take an older example – The Avengers (or Avengers Assemble in the UK). At the end of the film, Iron Man is falling to his death. People who aren’t aware of the future plans for Iron Man 3 are on the edge of their seats. How will he be saved? (Or possibly, why hasn’t Thor, an Avenger who can FLY already caught him.) And then out of nowhere, the Hulk appears and catches him. I’m not doing justice to the scene, it’s pretty cool (like most Hulk scenes). But the image of the Hulk catching a falling Iron Man is in the trailer and someone like me who has a pretty good memory has been waiting for that scene to appear and when the story is clearly ending, it deflates the effect of that sequence when you know it’s coming. Admittedly, that’s a pretty mild example, but it’s irksome all the same.

Now to Civil War. It’s a film full of twists and turns, especially towards the end. But one twist is utterly given away by the trailer which shows an extended part of the film’s final sequence. If I hadn’t worked out what was coming… maybe I think too much.

So, a plea – film-makers. When you’re making a trailer – don’t put anything from the second half of the film in it, and definitely not anything from the final act. If this had been a mediocre film, it would have been a right pain in the posterior rather than a mild annoyance. Yes, you didn’t put the Ant-Man thing in the trailer – well done for that – but the thing that you did was pretty important all the same. More important in fact… There’s plenty of bits and pieces that could have been used without showing that bit (which was also showing on a screen outside the cinema as I left, in case anyone had missed it!)

Luckily, it’s an utterly awesome film that fans of the genre will love to bits. Definitely worth going to see, unlike the misery-fest that seems to have infected Superman and Batman these days… Highly Recommended.


  1. I got dragged to this film on Friday by my Marvel mad daughter and have to say I thoroughly enjoyed every minute! Not my normal cup of tea but so glad I saw it…Ant man was amazing lol


  2. I did enjoy this one quite a lot though for me one big problem remains – I don’t think Bucky is worth all he death and destruction that Cap is prepared to let happen just to redeem his soul. And I liked the fact that they didn’t feel the need to have anything huge fall out of the sky in this one! But why does the bad guy call for room service at the climax? Seems a very oblique way of getting Tony into position …


    • I think it’s that all of the damage that the Winter Soldier did wasn’t his fault – Cap is determined to redeem his friend now that he has his own free will again.

      Although one has to question how many of the soldiers that get beaten up by Cap and chums just for following orders end up with life-destroying injuries…


      • I was amazed how much to felt like another AVENGERS movie – it was very good, though given the scale of the destruction, the ultimate villain reveal was maybe a tad too minute in contrast.


      • I really liked the reveal of the plan. The only thing that bothered me was calling the guy Zemo when he’s nothing to do with the comic version. Where’s the WW2 super villain who blames Cap for supergluing his cushion-like mask to his face? Oh, hang on, maybe I can see why now…


      • You got me there – the name meant nothing to me. I think, just maybe, that I preferred WINTER SOLDIER for its 1970s thriller vibe but need to watch it again.


  3. Just had to stop reading for a moment to write this, but it is Iron Man 2 that everyone thinks is lame. 3 is very well liked.


    • “Well-liked” is overstating it, as is “everyone”. Metacritic’s user score for them is 6.5 and 6.6 respectively, which is well below the Thor and Cap films. Neither of them are works of art but at least Iron Man 2 isn’t boring, unlike the endless scenes of angst and broken armour from Iron Man 3 before it defecates over Tony’s arch-nemesis, The Mandarin. Despite kicking it all off, the Iron Man sequels are the weakest aspect of the film universe.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We should remember though that, at the time, Iron Man 3 was the fifth most successful film ever.

    The Mandarin thing was/is certainly controversial, but it makes sense as the original character could be considered racist. Only last week, the writer for Doctor Strange opened a can of worms by claiming the film will white-wash an Asian character so as not to offend Asians, so there’s obviously concern there. As for angsty: Tony was suffering from PTSD, and he was still less dour than the guys at DC. IM2, I thought, lacked stakes: there was a lot of tin men, as RDJ has pointed out himself.

    But I’m glad you liked the new one, at least. Though not, IMHO, as tightly-plotted as The Winter Soldier, and could have been snipped a bit, it was certainly very good and quite a ride.


    • I don’t have an issue with why Tony had PTSD – just that it didn’t make for remotely interesting viewing. As for the Mandarin, I may be wrong, but there wasn’t any outcry over the Osama Bin Laden take on him that we were led to believe that we were getting. I think they’d have got more flak if they didn’t change his original version than if they’d kept his original persona.

      Oh, and box-office doesn’t equal quality. After all, Avatar and Titanic are 1 and 2 in the list…

      But glad you enjoyed this one – it’s a very different film than Winter Soldier and I look forward to what the directors do with Avengers 3 and 4


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