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This is the first film with Tony and/or Steve where I haven't felt possessed to write fic immediately after. (I guess IM3 I didn't, either.) I came away from the movie quite disappointed. Perhaps disproportionately so. It's probably a film I'll need to see again and parse through what was good, because right now the major problems I have with it overshadow pretty much everything else.

If you haven't read my fics and couldn't tell from previous reactionary posts, know that I'm a massive Iron Man fangirl. Years ago before I got into Marvel, I never thought I'd care for the guy. But Tony, with all his ridiculous flaws, became dear to my heart. I know I have very particular headcanon built up about him, but I feel like I can usually give myself a filter when thinking about what's actually been presented in MCU and what's colored by my personal interpretations and integration of comic lore.

CA:CW? Utterly failed Stark in key scenes. Tony's reason for backing the Accords works great, a lot of the matters regarding the Accords and his position in terms of the politics makes sense. Awesome. But the massive problems with Tony's characterization, and honestly my overall problem with the film, lays in the shit of (sorta)Ancient History.

1) What the fuck was that presentation shit at MIT? (Or the "Uncanny Valley" bit, as my friend termed it.) Tony at MIT giving a presentation - great! Scholarship fund - great! Facing a mother who blames him for her son's death - spot on! But the presenation itself? What? Just... WHAT? Why the hell would Tony ever open up about personal doubts like that - truly, deeply personal issues - with a large group, let alone strangers? (See? I'm filtering out my canon to deal with what comes out in MCU canon. Toss in my headcanon and I get all pissy about Howard Stark, who I hate and basically can only see as an awful father.)

2) The goddamn culminating end fight. What. The. Fuck. Seriously, what is that bullshit? I felt nothing besides incredulous at that bullshit fight with Bucky, Steve, and Tony. Again - REALLY? That wasn't what the film was leading up to, for one thing, and for another... Well, here's where this canon shit seems to fall apart and utterly fail the characters, IMO.

Firstly, I look at the video footage of Winter Soldier killing the Starks and watched Tony be shocked and was like - what? Given that SHIELD's files were all dumped public, I've always been of the mindset that Tony got through all that information. Thus, with MCU pressing the Soldier killing the Starks ((which does not fit with my accepted headcanon/meta)), I figured that Tony or JARVIS came across that info. My friend pointed out, when I said this, that the information came from Soviet files (or more accurately, I realized later, the scene with Zola in CA:TWS).

Secondly, I initially did not accept Tony's flying off the handle in reaction. My friend pointed out, and I calmed a little, that Tony's always been highly reactionary and emotional throughout MCU. We agreed that it was way over the top how much Tony flipped out. So I've come around to accepting that Tony would probably have to take some swings and have a bit of a physical fight with Bucky, then an all out shouting match with Steve. But there is no way in hell this should have been the knock-down, drag-out, culminating battle of the film fight. This should have been a side story.

I at least appreciate it that Tony only emphasizes "He killed my mom."

Thirdly, going beyond the highly questionable motivations of our heroes here (Tony, Steve, Bucky), there's the fact that apparently throughout the entire film Zemo was searching for solid evidence of the Starks' assassination in order to turn Tony against Steve and Bucky. I mean... what? WHAT? I can't get my head around this. So many pieces, an elaborate scheme, carried out in order to get to that one moment that's only going to really boil down to a confrontation between a couple of people? How could he even be sure that would work? How did he know that the Winter Soldier had killed the Starks? (If it's from SHIELD/Hydra dumped files, we go back to my initial thoughts that Tony would have found the information himself.) How did he know Steve or someone else hadn't told Tony about the Soldier's culpability already? How did he know that the revelation would be enough to utterly distract every superhero chasing him to let him get away (to go commit suicide)? How did he know it would only be Stark, Rogers, and Barnes at the moment of revelation? I can keep going on, because this is something that's now irritating me even more than the fail of Tony characterization.

See, if more thought had been put into creating Tony's motivations to get into a massive physical battle with Bucky (and Steve), I could accept things even if I was still unhappy. Make it an accountability thing. Make it a projection of Tony's own guilt complex. That would make some actual sense. But even if we had that... what the fuck would be the point of Zemo, then?

ARGH. Maybe I should stop typing. Now I'm getting mad about other things. Like I said at the start, the bullshit end fight left me feeling pretty bitter and extremely disappointed in the movie. Maybe upon a later rewatch and more consideration I'll be able to better accept it. (It took me a while before I accepted IM3 as a good movie, though, and even that I accept it as something divergent and not actually fitting into my accepted MCU canon.)



I have to say, this is doing a little to motivate me to getting back to writing some alternate or post- Age of Ultron stories that I have ideas for.

Edit: Additional comments

WTF abrupt kissing! The kiss between Steve and Sharon played out like a child playing with dolls and smacking them together: "Now kiss!" Sharon isn't a character that's been developed enough for there to be kissing. She and Steve barely interact between when they last saw each other in CA:TWS and the kiss. Also, were there no family photos in Peggy's room? And how did Steve not see Sharon at the funeral until she stepped up to speak at the pulpit? (Hitting on my headcanon - why wasn't Tony there? C'mon, he had to have met and sorta known Peggy...)

It's actually a big irritation rather than a "lesser issue" - but I had to roll my eyes over the fact that the iconic and rather horrific image of Steve with shield raised above a prone Iron Man was used in such a lousy excuse for a fight. It's not as bad as Star Trek: Into Darkness' decision to have Spock scream "KHAAAAANNNN" (I burst out laughing in the theatre when that happened), but it's still pretty back. Iron Man blasting Cap's shield at least fit alright. But the raised shield doesn't fit when Steve wasn't wanting or trying to kill Tony. (I can accept the film's setting the stage of setting up Tony to want to kill Barnes, but even fitting in with what the film establishes, neither Tony nor Steve were aiming to kill each other.)

I had some issues about missing characters, too. I'm disappointed Fury didn't make an appearance, though he wouldn't have fit too well I suppose. Maria Hill, though, was a weird absence, IMO. My friend said Pepper got Hill in the divorce. :p I replied that perhaps Hill and Pepper are off coming up with a plan to clean this shit up.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
classics_lover
May. 9th, 2016 11:43 pm (UTC)
I actually enjoyed it a lot, but...
The whole thing with Tony in MIT was designed to make the audience think that a) RDJ has made some sort of deal with the devil how does he look that good still? and b) it was Chekhov's Gun, and a very obvious one at that. Having said that, it would have worked better if it had taken place with the other Avengers or Rhodey or something more private. Tony does not air his dirty laundry in public, as evidenced by his non-mention of Pepper until she was explicitly brought up by Steve.

My issue with Zeno (not Nemo? They could have made SO MANY PUNS) was that I remember getting really fucking bored with the insistence of Steve in AoU about NO COLLATERAL DAMAGE AT ALL IN SOKOVIA IS ALLOWED and they ended the big-ass boss fight with NO COLLATERAL DAMAGE IN SOKOVIA AT ALL except for Quicksilver, who, by virtue of being an Avenger was not collateral damage. So HOW did Zeno's family end up as collateral damage/villainous sob-backstory in this movie? Surely someone who was hurt or lost family from the stupid smackdown between Hulk and Tony's big suit in South Africa would have worked a whole lot better, because DAMN. If they missed a house getting crushed when they lowered Sokovia back down, they all should have gone to specsavers. Also he was well versed in torture, and I doubt that came just from the revenge kick.

What *really* got to me was that ALL THREE OF THEM KNEW that Zeno's whole plot had been to get the three of them to bossdight each other in the first place, he literally said so to their faces. And while I accept Tony's emotional punch-now-talk-later reaction as canon, neither Steve nor Bucky needed to escalate it, if they had just defended and nothing more, Tony would have run out of steam quickly enough, and they could have all turned on Zeno instead of one another.

Honestly, I would have preferred a few two-hour episodes of tv to the two and a bit hour movie, because so much time was lost to bringing in the whole gang and showing us where they fit and on whose side each was on. Also did they really need jogging cameramen in Lagos? Nat's stunts would have been a lot more impressive if I could have seen them. That bit looked like the cameramen were guys using their phones, and not in a good way.
enmuse
May. 10th, 2016 12:34 am (UTC)
Re: I actually enjoyed it a lot, but...
I know why the MIT scene is there, I just think it sucks on a lot of levels. :-\ I think the whole motivation of PARENTAL ISSUES (hell, family issues seems to be the name of the game this film) is... hmm. Don't have a good word for it. Far more interesting, and aligning with previous films, is Stark's continued issues of accountability and guilt. That follows far better from AoU anyway. So pit that against Steve going "but he wasn't in control!" would be actual strife. And align with the Accords main theme.

Great point about the collateral damage stuff, too.

In terms of Zemo in general, I have hopes that they might actually do something with the villain. They've done odd things with Cap's antagonists. (Hello Crossbones, let's give you all of five minutes between films and kill ya. BYE.) And... this is not following any sort of familiarity that I know of Zemo incarnations. So, yeah, I hope there's more to him than this you-killed-my-family-I'm-gonna-ruin-y'all.

As I said in my post, I'll probably have to rewatch and separate out my major issues with the end fight. It took me a while, but I came to accept IM3 as a good movie... just not really aligned with what I see as fitting within MCU.

XD
classics_lover
May. 10th, 2016 11:08 am (UTC)
Re: I actually enjoyed it a lot, but...
I wrote that comment really late at night, I know you know why it was there, my point that I didn't actually make (and I probably sounded super condescending, too, sorry :-&) was that it was really ham-fisted, and Tony Stark really would not share that level of personal shit with a crowd of strangers. He *might* share it with Pepper or Rhodey, or at a stretch someone like Wanda who has reason to have conflict with him, and to whom he might want to give a better understanding of himself.

The fact that the writer/directors needed that information as well as the one dead kid in Sokovia (where as I recall they went out of their way to prevent any such thing from happening wtf were they watching a different movie???) and so the scene smacked the audience with the bat of obvious plot-advancement-and-infodumpery, and I felt like you were spot on, and the film was too worried about people not joining the freaking dots. They could have kept that bit out altogether and just had RDJ's anguished "You killed my mom" and 90% of the audience would have still understood. But that 10% of casual people who don't really follow the MCU were pandered to, rather than the sensible long-serving fans who are invested in Tony Stark's character, so they made the choice to treat the audience like they need their hands held to get into Tony's motivation. SO MUCH SUCK.

Surely Steve could have got at least one "Blame HYDRA, not Bucky!" in, to cool Tony's jets and realise that Bucky went through untold horrors and was the pet assassin not out of choice, but NOooooo. Can't have that, we need a smackdown boss fight, instead. *eyeroll*

Zemo would make a great anti-hero/antagonist type. I know that Wanda needed to become an Avenger super quickly, which meant that we missed out on the potential for so much interesting character stuff between her and Tony, maybe Zemo could get that type of making-peace-with-his-most-hated-people character development?

I won't see it again in the cinema, but I am so buying the dvd when it comes out, for just such purposes :D
And who knows, maybe we'll get a movie that's just Sam and Bucky trolling Steve (and each other) in the future, that would be so awesome, those guys are the best XD
enmuse
May. 11th, 2016 01:03 am (UTC)
Re: I actually enjoyed it a lot, but...
Haha, no worries. :) I get what you were saying. Responses to my thoughts posts always give me a chance to get some of my inner debates (and frustrations) out. I'm a "think aloud" person so I like to converse. :p

I had to look up who the writers (and then the directors) were for this film, because of the major issues I had with this film... and I was rather surprised they were all in on The Winter Soldier - which I LOVED and think was one of the best done MCU films, albeit a lot happened in that film. They're all involved in the upcoming Infinity Wars films.

As I was poking around to see what's upcoming, I'm irritated to find that several long-promised MCU films are being pushed back because Spider Man is apparently slated for next year. Look, Spidey's cute, it's sweet to see the new kid and have some levity, but I really don't need him to get airtime before, y'know, these long-awaited films. u_u

/mini-rant

I am so tired. And was food deprived far too much of the day. X_X I'm gonna go retreat into fanfiction worlds now.
classics_lover
May. 11th, 2016 11:45 am (UTC)
Re: I actually enjoyed it a lot, but...
I HATE being condescended to, and I hate being condescending, and when I reread what I wrote I just *facepalmed* SO HARD, so sorry (also not sorry if it helped you think aloud :D)

THey handled most of the Steve&Sam&Bucky&Nat stuff well imo, but I don't think they had the best grip on Tony's characterisation (thank god RDJ is so good in the role, lol) and motivation. Although there must clearly be some sort of interference from higher-ups that tell them they have to have x number of big-ass boss fights per x number of hours, lol. And those fights just get in the way of the character stuff, *le sigh* as well as wedge in a whole bunch of getting-the-gangs-back-together/introducing-new-character stuff that eats into the run time. I mean, they're good reasons for the flaws, but it's annoying when an otherwise good movie falls into using the tropes like they did rather than use their words.

Yeah the Spiderman WILL Return end scene was cute and all but I WANT T'CHALLA'S MOVIE YESTERDAY WHERE IS IT??? :P And also the Black Widow needs her own movie, I mean c'mon, she's dominating three MCU franchises and the people are clamouring for it, but not before Spidey gets his first non-sony outing :P

Let me know if you find anything good, will you? XD
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )