Comic Book Movie
I’ll admit that I don’t care too much about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’re fun to sit through in a theater full of other excited fans, but nothing about them resonates too deeply. But now, Captain America: Civil War has become one of the better of the movies within the trope. It’s packed with the excitement, twists, fun, and laughter that we all expect from Marvel at this point. While it isn’t worth multiple viewings, it is worthwhile for the teens, as there’s more under that shiny armor than what meets the eye.
Based on the 2007 Civil War comic books, this third addition to Captain America’s misadventures turns him into a criminal that the nation has lost its hope in. It’s similar to Batman v. Superman, except done better. The Avengers now find themselves in a public media predicament after a mishap in a Lagos chemical heist ends with several people dying thanks to them. Now, the government decides to let the United Nations Panel instruct the super team. Looks like Captain America now has to clear his name not only with the politicians, but his own close friends and teammates.
Minus Hulk and Thor, all the heroes you know and love are back in action: Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Mass Destruction, Hawkeye, Falcon, and Ant-Man, plus some new faces as well: the smoothly cunning Black Panther and your friendly neighborhood, Spider-Man. Now let me tell you, it’s the web slinger’s third reboot within a decade, and at last they got the character right! Within the first 10 seconds, you will instantly say to yourself, “Yes! Tom Holland was born to be Peter Parker! And Spider-Man!” His backstory is also smartly left out. After all, we already know it as this point, right?
The rest of the heroes also have their share of some great laughs, Vision in particular, and they always seem to have tons of fun with each other on set. But I have one complaint though: it’s the same old shtick we’ve always seen. We’ve got a super talented cast that includes Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlet Johansson, and they’re doing the same thing we’ve always seen them do. It’s not them that’s the problem, it’s the two directors, brothers Anthony and Joe Russo. They just don’t know how to stage actors while getting worthwhile performances.
There are some cool decision that these two make in continuing the series, and some not so cool. With the action scenes, it’s impossible to tell whether if they’re awesome or pathetic.
But first, the good stuff: a garbage truck breaks down the arch in front of a medical center, Johansson totally rocks in combat action, there’s a tunnel chase, Captain America holds down an entire helicopter by himself, the Avengers fight one another in one of the best moments of the entire movie series, and one hero has a big surprise that I cannot mention out of fear of spoiling anything.
Now, the bad stuff: It’s hard to see the action because of the sped up footage and shaky camera (you know what I’m talking about), the editing is monstrous, characters who needed backstories didn’t get one, the VFX looks fake a lot of the time, Black Panther appears out of nowhere and at an unbelievably convenient time, and there is too much talking that takes away the tension.
So therefore, the action is neither awesome nor pathetic. It’s awesomely pathetic. Or is that pathetically awesome? Nah, I’ll go with the first option.
What I love right now about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is how every hero has his own story to tell. What makes it better is how this series makes that concept work so well, almost like it’s the narrative of television marrying the narrative of film! I also like how it points out the issue of heroes creating mass destruction and putting the people in danger, possibly out of reaction towards Man of Steel. Although I probably could’ve done with a shorter film and a clearer plot, it’s neat to see how all the subplots come together in the end.
It’s always a ton of fun to anticipate and sit through these movies on a big screen with hundreds of other excited fans. But you know what else? We can learn a lot about ourselves from the Avengers. It’s already clear that we’re a divided nation when it comes to things like whether transgendered people should use public restrooms of their choosing. It’s just incredible how Marvel can take these abstract conditions of our country and simplify them. I say that using something more easily relatable like the Marvel heroes to help kids later understand real world issues translates all the more to autism.
It can be a common thing for kids, and even adults, with autism to be so in tune to their personal obsessions that they are afraid to leave that bubble and explore other things they must learn.
Six-Word Lessons on Growing Up Autistic, Lesson #17: Only Focus on One Single Subject.
In my case, I had no interest in school about math, history, or any other subject besides art. All I wanted to talk about was SpongeBob and Pokémon. If my class was doing a lesson about Lewis and Clark exploring the Pacific Northwest, I couldn’t get into the lesson without imagining running into wild Pokémon on the way through the trails. If I were to sit down and do math problems for homework, I wouldn’t be able to do it without quoting episodes of SpongeBob 90% of the time. It got easier for me to take school seriously as I got older, but my inability to connect with something besides my personal obsessions was still an issue.
Yet one thing that I learned over time, particularly while in college, was that I can utilize my obsessions not as a block in the road between me and success, but a tool that can help me understand unfamiliar concepts.
For example, I was able to use my obsession for movies to learn about historical events I hadn’t known about up until then. I’m a little embarrassed to say that by age 20 I was completely unaware of the holocaust, but the movie Schindler’s List introduced it to me in a way I could understand. As with plenty of other movies throughout history, I developed an interest to learn more about what went on throughout the past one hundred years of America, so that I can know more of the cultural and social context that influenced the way various films were made.
It was through 80s sci-fi/action movies like Back to the Future, Robocop, and Top Gun that I learned about the technological innovation during the Cold War. It was through 60s social dramas like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night that I learned about the Civil Rights Movement. I haven’t even heard of Stephen Hawking until I saw The Theory of Everything, or knew about the mass immigration from other countries into New York until I saw The Godfather Part II and Titanic. All these concepts that would have been common knowledge by junior high or high school was completely foreign to me until I had a way of relating to these concepts.
The same goes with relationships. If you are a parent of somebody with autism who seems so shut in from the rest of the world, it would be good to know what types of things he enjoys. Then use that to find common ground.
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #72, What TV Shows Does He Watch?
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #73, What Movies are Interesting to Him?
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #74, Does He Talk About Any Hobbies?
Six-Word Lessons for Dads with Autistic Kids, Lesson #75, Favorite Restaurants Help with Creating Bonds.
In the same way, my father and I have bonded over Men in Black and eating at Old Country Buffet. My mom and I have bonded over art museums. My sister and I have bonded over Disney and Pixar movies. It is never impossible to get interested in something just because it’s out of your league. There are ways you can find common ground to help your kid understand new things:
- In the same way how Captain America: Civil War can be used as a teaching tool for international violence, every movie can be used as an allegorical parallel to a real world issue. What parallels can you think of in some of your favorite movies?
- What are your autistic child’s specific obsessions? Utilize that by relating it to something else at school or at home that he must understand. My blog post here can help you get a better idea of what this looks like.
- If you are a teacher with an autistic student, allow the use of his/her obsessions to guide understanding of the subjects.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see reviewed, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Captain America: Civil War. Marvel. Web. <http://marvel.com/captainamerica>.
McPherson. A Brief Overview of the American Civil War. Civil War Trust. Blackbaud, Web. <http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/civil-war-overview/overview.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/>.
Paschall, Erik. A Deep Look at the Extended Cast of Captain America: Civil War. Digital image. mxdwn. 29 Apr 2016. Web. <http://movies.mxdwn.com/feature/a-deep-look-at-the-extended-cast-of-captain-america-civil-war/>.
Sacks, Evans. Inside the making of 'Captain America: Civil War': Fights, politics and the tangled web involving Spider-Man. NY Daily News, 1 May 2016. Web. <http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/movies/high-heat-filming-captain-america-civil-war-article-1.2620325>.