SPOILERS for Captain America: Civil War are discussed below. This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.
Drew Dietsch: Welcome to the first Fandom chat roundtable! We’re kicking off this (hopefully) recurring feature discussing Captain America: Civil War. There’s plenty to get into, but I figure we’ll start off with a bang: is Tom Holland the best on-screen Peter Parker/Spider-Man we’ve gotten yet?
Troy Anderson: Of course, but let’s not overpraise until he gets a solo flick.
Eric Fuchs: Tom Holland looked creepily like Tobey Maguire to me. He had a really nerdy vibe to him. But of course, the real issue is that Marisa Tomei is the best Aunt May ever.
Troy: Hottest May Parker.
Danielle Ryan: Definitely hottest May. I thought Tom Holland looked like Anton Yelchin.
Eric: It wasn’t just the suit that fit, I thought his fighting quips were the most Spider-Man-y that he’s ever been on screen.
Troy: I agree on the quips.
Karma Savage: Loved Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. The sheer personality of the young Spidey was on point!
Danielle: Definitely. It was refreshing, he felt like Spidey.
Karma Savage: Didn’t dig Marisa Tomei at first as Aunt May, but as she was on screen more it worked.
Troy: The MCU gets the aesthetic down pat. Shame they couldn’t do anything with Zemo.
Drew: Zemo definitely adds fuel to the “Marvel villain problem” fire, but this wasn’t really a movie that needed a strong villain. The conflict was about the heroes.
Danielle: I spent most of the movie going “I know that guy from somewhere.” It clicked eventually that it was the guy from Inglourious Basterds.
Eric: Oh that’s who he was! I thought Zemo was actually a really good villain (rare for Marvel). I never knew where he was going. The cellphone thing I thought was a gag like Paul Giamatti from Shoot ‘Em Up but turned out to be really tragic. He went out of his way to not be a strong villain. He even killed off his heavies just to make his point.
Troy: What irks me about Zemo is that he’s set up as a knock off Soviet Super Soldier. He beats the Winter Soldier in flashback and then doesn’t fight for the rest of the movie.
Eric: I figured he was just incapable of actually being a good fighter, that’s what I liked. He’s not a threat at all, he has to use his wits to beat them.
Troy: Comics Zemo is more of a manipulator than a fighter. MCU Zemo is set up to be a super soldier and then they forget about it.
Karma Savage: Daniel Bruhl was the reason I got even more excited about Civil War. He was so, so good.
Danielle: I have not seen Avengers 2, so I have a question. How exactly did Wanda get her powers? I mean, she’s supposed to be Magneto’s daughter, not some Infinity Stone-powered nerd?
Troy: HYDRA augmented the Maximoff twins with Loki’s gem staff thing.
Danielle: Lame. -100 points MCU.
Troy: Well, that’s how you beat a legal battle.
Eric: I’ll give them 10,000 points for making the movie that Batman v Superman wanted to be but actually good.
Karma Savage: The Russos definitely took their time creating a really good “versus” film.
Troy: I really love the stuff with Stark’s parents.
Danielle: THAT CGI in the teen memory part. Infinity times better than Jeff Bridges in Tron: Legacy.
Eric: There’s some irony for you. Batman and Superman stop fighting because their mom issues. Tony Stark goes full maniac when he discovers his Mom was killed.
Troy: I love that though. Whether it’s Rhodey or the parent reveal. Stark can stop giving a damn at the drop of a hat.
Karma Savage: Great comparison find.
Danielle: Also, both BvS and Civil War are about collateral damage. I would have liked to have seen more alcoholism, considering Pepper left and all. Because it’s Tony freaking Stark. He is the liquor.
Eric: BvS was really trying to get over the issues of Man of Steel by taking the collateral damage seriously, but it just couldn’t make sense of it. Civil War got to the same point in ten seconds by having Scarlett Witch freak out in the first action scene. Tony looked strung out all movie. It was a very different Robert Downey Jr performance.
Troy: Wanda didn’t freak out. She doesn’t have proper power control. Like weight lifting, she benched more than she could handle.
Danielle: I think what he meant was that she “freaked out” as in she was shocked/horrified after the explosion. Her facial expression showed what the entirety of BvS was trying to show.
Drew: How about our other new addition to the MCU, Black Panther? Is there any other Marvel hero we’ve seen that is as visually badass as T’Challa?
Eric: Yes. His name is Punisher.
Danielle: I was so excited about T’Challa. Lemme tell you. I LOVE Black Panther (especially once he marries Ororo, which can’t happen here, but I digress). They nailed it.
Karma Savage: Boseman’s African accent was perfect! He was really good. He was one of my picks for the role.
Eric: I’d say Black Panther did an alright job, but he was probably a weaker link in a movie that was pretty overstuffed. I dunno, his powers weren’t interesting to me. Not when you have Giant freaking Ant-Man, the ultimate in comic book fantasies come to the screen. Or Vision, who was getting Dr. Manhattan around Scarlet Witch.
Danielle: Ant-Man was great. He brought levity when it was VERY needed.
Drew: The humor in the movie across the board was excellent.
Karma Savage: I agree on the humor. Just enough comic relief to lighten the serious lines.
Danielle: Confession: I can’t stand Vision.
Troy: I can. Vision is a long sale.
Eric: I didn’t like Vision as a hero at all, but his awkwardness around Elizabeth Olson was kind of endearing. Or maybe again, I pretend he’s Dr. Manhattan and he becomes more tolerable.
Drew: Danielle, no! Vision was my favorite character. I loved his scene with Wanda, telling her he wants the world to see her the way he does.
Danielle: That was the ONLY part where I kinda liked him. Otherwise, he came off as self-righteous. I liked him better when he was a disembodied voice with a few robot arms.
Drew: So we’ve gone this far into a Captain America discussion without discussing Captain America. Is that indicative of a flaw with this movie? I think this is a fantastic Avengers movie, but it’s not a very good Cap flick.
Eric: It was misbranded. Captain America is just a part of the film. Not even a bad one but he’s not the moral center. Ultimately that was probably Tony again. Well, Cap was the “moral” center but he wasn’t the dramatic center.
Danielle: I honestly don’t really like the Cap/Bucky dynamic. When Bucky said, “Is all this fighting over me worth it?” I turned to my boyfriend and whispered, “No, not really.” Cap was one of the few characters whose motivations felt hollow. I would say the moral center would be Black Widow, as she changes sides several times while trying to figure out who’s in the right (technically no one).
Eric: Team Iron Man for life, brah. But government oversight is probably necessary. Especially when this movie became oddly topical when you remember US forces accidentally blowing up Afghani hospitals just last year. The good guys aren’t going to be perfect. Of course, they had to add in General Evil Dude, so the Team Iron Man argument was weakened.
Karma Savage: Martin Freeman’s lines seemed forced. I couldn’t get a grip on his character or maybe he just can’t play a mean role.
Drew: Oh yeah, Bilbo was in this. The fact that I forgot about him should say something.
Troy: Yeah there were two Rosses: Thunderbolt and Everett K.
Danielle: I think they just brought Freeman in so they can put him on screen with Bananahammock Cucumbersnatch in Doctor Strange and all of the Sherlock fangirls can have a party.
Eric: I didn’t judge him with objectivity since Martin Freeman alone makes me light up.
Troy: Freeman was too confident to play Everett Ross.
Drew: How does Civil War stack up in regards to continuing the Marvel series? To me, this felt like the real Avengers 2 in that it thematically left on something of a downbeat. There’s a reason that Spidey brings up Empire Strikes Back in this movie. This wants to be the Empire of the MCU.
Danielle: The people in my theater were AWFUL when that came up. Lots of “OH HAHAHAHAHA” obnoxiously.
Troy: Well, Thanos is still coming
Eric: I might actually find Infinity War watchable now. I just figured Marvel was going to implode under its own weight after Avengers 2 was such a mess. Now it’s clear they really can do movies of this scale and complexity and it can come off competent, if not even brilliant. This was a great movie.
Danielle: It was good but I wouldn’t go as far as great.
Troy: It works for me, but not as well as Guardians or Winter Soldier.
Eric: The thing with Marvel is that they’ve ended up with a wealth of riches. Winter Soldier is definitely a better movie, but it didn’t have Ant-Man turning giant or Spider-Man or anything. This movie doesn’t have much focus but it does so many things at once really well.
Danielle: I liked that it was less grimdark than Winter Soldier but was still mostly serious. I had a really fun time, but the first half hour or so bored me to tears. I understand the need for setup but it felt like setup.
Karma Savage: I think it sets up Infinity War pretty well. Man are those movies far away. There will be solo movies in between right? Doctor Strange, Black Panther. Love that Black Widow will be getting her own film. Please let the Russos handle it.
Troy: The Russo Brothers get character moments.
Drew: Let’s end this on an interesting note: are you ready to spend some time away from the Avengers? After this much of an overload, a standalone adventure like Doctor Strange seems like a perfect refresher.
Eric: I want an entire season of Avengers movies on Netflix.
Danielle: I am actually ready to step away from superheroes entirely for a bit. This was a LOT better than I had anticipated, but I’m still feeling sort of Marvel-ed out right now.
Eric: The refresher I want is Suicide Squad.
Troy: I’m a huge Doc Strange fan but I need to see more from the film. I want more Guardians of the Galaxy.
Danielle: I do want Guardians. THAT was refreshing. Also, Deadpool.
Karma Savage: Definitely ready for some solo Marvel movies and more Deadpool.
Drew: Final question: after seeing the movie, what Team are you on? Sorry Danielle, but I’m Team Vision. I love me some androids dreaming of electric sheep.
Danielle: You are allowed to have your own opinion, Drew, even if it’s wrong.
Karma Savage: I’m Team Black Widow. I don’t know how much of the stunts that Johansson did in the film but the cadence of her fight scene had my jaw dropped. Or is it really #TeamNatasha?
Eric: I’m still Team Iron Man, just as long as he finally becomes Superior Iron Man and knocks-off General Ross.
Danielle: Team Clint. Or Team Falcon & Bucky road trip movie.
Drew: The world isn’t perfect enough for such a gift.
That’s all for our first chat roundtable! What did you think of Captain America: Civil War? Tweet to us @getfandom and let us hear your thoughts!