At the beginning of Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark is drowning in guilt. Confronted by a bereaved mother who lost a child in Sokovia—for which Stark is responsible, as the creator of Ultron—and flailing in the wake of a breakup with Pepper Potts, Stark is unmoored. Because he’s not good at self-regulating (see also: his addiction issues), he latches onto the proposed Sokovia Accords as a way to regulate the Avengers and hopefully prevent future Sokovias. Stark’s reasoning is understandable and even sympathetic. He is not a villain and he isn’t trying to take over the world, he just wants a framework to assume responsibility for sending the Avengers into the world to fight, thus removing that very responsibility from the Avengers’ shoulders.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Avengers are the apex predators of the superhero world. We know there are other powered individuals out there thanks to television shows like Agents of SHIELD and the growing Defenders universe on Netflix. But the Avengers are the upper echelon of the costumed set—the most powerful, the best funded, most well-resourced superheroes in the world. They have Tony Stark, one of the richest people in the world and arguably the smartest person; Captain America, the gold standard of enhanced humans; and Thor, an alien space prince with almost unlimited power. Who could possibly compete with that?
Steve Rogers has never been a happy go lucky guy. The first time we meet him in Captain America: The First Avenger, he’s a scrappy little guy, determined to join the US Army and fight in World War II to stand up to bullies. Standing up to bullies is practically Rogers’ full-time occupation, and we meet him in the midst of an act of rebellion, rejecting his place on the home front to try and earn one on the battlefield so he can stand up to bullies of the Nazi variety.
A Bigger Splash
Sexy people being sexy in the sun.
Filmmaker Jeremy Saulnier made a splash in 2013 with Blue Ruin, a funny-sad but brutal film in the revenge-thriller vein about a man seeking revenge who is wholly unequipped to seek revenge. Saulnier follows up Blue Ruin with Green Room—sensing a theme here—a film I was bitterly upset about missing at TIFF last fall. But Green Room is now in theaters, and I finally saw it, and holy shit, it made me sick to my stomach in the best possible way. Green Room ratchets up the tension and the horror over ninety minutes until the possibility of puking starts to feel like sweet relief. Continue reading “Green Room is brutal, relentless tension”
Born to be Blue
Ethan Hawke stars in a reimagining of jazz trumpeter Chet Baker’s life. On paper, this looks like the white guy version of Miles Ahead, a reimagining of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis’s life.
Out of the doldrums at last!
Knight of Cups
Terrence Malick’s latest, which looks like it will only be interesting to fans of Malick (like me). But it did give us this bananas story from Thomas Lennon, about what it’s like to work with Malick.