Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: captain america

Thoughts On Captain America: Civil War

  • What’s so civil about war, anyway?
  • So much punching, and of things you would not think punchable: faces wrapped in super-armor, or German planes, or concrete support columns.
  • Also many pretty people, and not just pretty white people: there are three black guys in the film, and they play two best friends and an African guy.
  • That’s progress, I guess.
  • I suppose I should say SPOILERS at this point, but…well, wait: even explaining why there aren’t any spoilers might be construed as spoilerific, so if you haven’t seen it yet and want to go in utterly clueless, then you gotta go.
  • They gone?
  • Superman dies.
  • I’m kidding: that was the other movie about heroes who are actually terrible people punching one another.
  • Okay, so: this is not a Captain America movie.
  • Cap was the star of his first movie, but the past two have been Avengers movies; this is not a bad thing, as the character is not as interesting as Iron Man or Spidey, nor does he have a cool location and supporting players like Thor does.
  • So Marvel has chosen (wisely) to make Captain America more of a through-line than a lead character; he gets the most screen time, but just barely.
  • There are ten Marvel heroes in this film, four of whom have solo movie careers, and so the scene where Cap goes to the mall and is dazzled by the all the new gadgets gets cut early.
  • (Plus, he’s got out of that ice almost ten years ago at this point; he should be caught up by now.)
  • Black Panther has a large sub-plot because his movie is coming out next year, and so does Bucky; Spider-Man (and the new, hot Aunt May) gets his introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe plus a big role in the climactic fight scene; the relationship developing between Vision and Scarlet Witch is given several scenes: there’s a lot packed into the two-and-a-half hours.
  • Hawkeye is back.
  • Yay.
  • Anyway: the plot.
  • Um.
  • Huh.
  • Robert Downey, Jr. wants Captain America to sign something that makes super-heroing legal?
  • Cap’s like “Nuh-uh.”
  • And they don’t punch each other yet, but you can tell they want to.
  • Stuff blows up in a foreign country.
  • William Hurt is tall.
  • Stuff blows up in a different foreign country.
  • Robert Downey, Jr. and Captain America assemble their teams, starting with their black best friends.
  • Punching.
  • Paul Rudd seems to be in a different movie than everyone else.
  • Absolutely nothing is resolved, but the larger plot is moved forward, maybe.
  • Ta-da?
  • Remember Bucky?
  • They just put his crazy ass back into cryo-sleep at the end.
  • Maybe he’ll become a Guardian of the Galaxy.
  • And nobody died, though the movie does pretend to cripple Don Cheadle; Robert Downey, Jr. has already built him a robot exo-suit that fits under his clothes and it will never be mentioned again.
  • Cap and Black Widow and Falcon and Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye and Ant-Man (I am a grown man talking about other grown-ups) are now on the run; maybe they will go back to Hawkeye’s farm like in the second Avengers movie because that was so much fun.
  • Scarlet Witch is played by the Olsen Twins, and she has done something about the accent from the last movie, which could only be described as “foreign.”
  • She didn’t take classes or practice or anything: she just stopped doing the accent, and now the character is from California.
  • In the comics, she and Vision fell in love and married, and it looks like they’re going that way in the films.
  • Vision has a robot dick.
  • Paul Bettany, however, might be the MVP of the movie: the Vision is a potentially film-ruining character; he’s an android wearing a sweater; Bettany makes the humanity of the android come through.
  • Good for you, Paul Bettany.
  • A lot of the actors have prominent noses.
  • Noticed it halfway through and then couldn’t stop seeing it.
  • The noses don’t stand out because these are all very attractive people, except for Jeremy Renner, but some tremendous schozzes.
  • Okay, but why were they fighting again?
  • Where did you come from?
  • I’m always here.
  • Sure, but I already recapped the plot.
  • You did not.
  • Lemme try again: a creepy German guy we later learn is Baron Zemo framed Bucky for killing Black Panther’s father.
  • Why?
  • The German guy was from Sokovia, the pretend city that the Avengers destroyed fighting Ultron in the last movie and some of his family died.
  • So he decided to become a criminal mastermind?
  • And Bucky murdered Robert Downey, Jr.s’ parents.
  • Does that makes sense?
  • Maybe, but let me get back to whatever it is I was doing; if someone wants to pay me to write a review, then I will, but I’m not thinking about this dopey nonsense for free, and I’m certainly not looking up the stuff I forgot.
  • Good attitude.
  • Thank you.
  • As regards to the actual plot and the machinations of the villain’s schemes: I am the wrong person to ask about not just this film, but any; any movie more complicated than Run, Lola, Run is a total hodgepodge to me, at least the first time around.
  • You know those movies where people double-cross each other?
  • I have never understood a single one of them.
  • Spider-Man showed up, as we all know, and they are setting him up as Tony Stark’s proteg√© or something; also, he is now twelve years old.
  • He was funny, though; that’s one of the things they always get wrong about him.
  • There was jumping and webbing and kicking: he was a Spider-Mannish boy.
  • Give the Marvel movies this over the DC stuff: since the Avengers got together, the main storyline has been the response to them and their constant fucking up.
  • New York was the doing of one of their brothers, Sokovia got fucked up when the super-intelligent death robot that Robert Downey, Jr. built decided to live there, and–in the last Cap movie–several Helicarriers crashed into D.C.
  • The “No Super-Heroes” position is a solid one: these people are terrible neighbors, and worse visitors.
  • “Sorry we destroyed your downtown, but our human tank had to fight our giant green ragemonster. Yes, I said ‘our’ both times, as both of them are Avengers. We’re the good guys.”
  • And the movie does do it as truthfully as a movie about pretty people in silly outfits punching one another can do: Alfre Woodard plays the mother of someone killed in Sokovia, which seems unfair.
  • Alfre Woodard’s a serious actress.
  • (But, you know: she probably shot her scenes in a few days and received a lovely check, so good for Alfre.)
  • There was quite a bit of action, so those of you expecting a gentle comedy of manners will be disappointed.
  • I don’t even know where you’d get that idea, quite frankly.
  • All of the characters action in their own way: Black Panther has cool retractable claws, and Ant-Man does his size-changing thing, and Black Widow leaps at soldiers crotch-first.
  • Although the directors, the Russo directors, have made the choice to shoot the action sequences in a style that might be called “violently undulating.”
  • It’s not quite Paul Greengrass-level shaky-cam, but the point of view moves both with and independently of the characters with a fierce intent.
  • If there’s a problem with the movie, it’s one that’s intrinsic to any team-up movie (or comic, for that matter): the range of powers within the group assembled is so large as to make some of them irrelevant.
  • You’ve got to make the incredibly powerful characters (Vision) weaker, and the scrubs (Hawkeye, Falcon, Widow) stronger.
  • This is because of the First Rule Of Super-Hero Films: there needs to be a fist-fight.
  • Shooting computer graphics at each other is fine, and so is tossing computer-generated dump trucks, but in the third act, there needs to be a fist-fight.
  • Which means you end up with Hawkeye lasting more than two seconds with Black Panther, and this would not happen: not only is the Black Panther a better fighter than Hawkeye, he might be a better archer, too.
  • And dopiness like Vision engaging in a punch-up.
  • He’s a synthezoid super-intelligence who can control his own mass and has an Infinity Gem for a bindi: he doesn’t get in fist-fights.
  • The effects are as good as you would assume, and the heroes had weight and grit to them; nothing looked shiny, and no rubbery faces; plus–and I mention this frequently–Marvel’s movies take place during sunny days, so they can’t hide shitty CG with rain and darkness.
  • (There is one scene where it rains, but it had to rain, because Robert Downey, Jr. was very sad.)
  • The sound was also good enough that I noticed it: the punches (have I mentioned there were punches?) land with a huge and percussive PLAMP.
  • To sum up, I enjoyed this Super-Hero Product, and would recommend it to others; I also enjoyed the commercial before the movie for the upcoming Super-Hero Product starring Bensonhedges Coffestump and plan on consuming that one, too.

White, Wash

A character’s race matters when it matters, and though that seems like a tautology because it is, let me explain what I’m talking about.

Marvel’s annoyed everyone with the casting of Tilda Swinton (the whitest woman alive) to play a character that had throughout his fifty-year history always been depicted as an Asian guy. It helped not at all when the screenwriter poked his head out of his hutch to offer truly foolish excuses about not wanting to offend China, and flailing out at “SJWs”. (I cannot stress this enough: never say SJW. It instantly turns you into a PTI (Person To Ignore).)

People have declared this Whitewashing, and many hashtags have been flung at the offense; one of them was interesting and caused this little screed. It was #johnchoas or #starringjohncho or #chomygod or something like that, and it Photoshopped John Cho into starring roles in Hollywood blockbusters.

Most of the films and roles were ones that John Cho would have been perfect for: he’s charismatic and handsome and funny and a movie star. Throw him in the gym for six months and teach him how to shoot and he can be Jason Bourne. He could have played any of the leads that go to Chris Pine or Ashton Kutcher in those formulaic romcoms, instead of the best friend.

But there is also an Avengers poster with him ‘shopped in as Captain America, and that part he could not play; this brings me to my point about casting (and obviously this is just for fictional characters being translated onto the screen. If you’re doing an experimental play, then cast who ever you want): in regards to the race and gender of a character, you need to ask whether these qualities are intrinsic in nature, or arbitrary.

Let’s take my favorite hero, Spider-Man. Since his first appearance in 1962, he’s been depicted as a white guy, and portrayed by white guys in the movies. Is this necessary? I would argue not: not a bit of Spidey’s character has anything to do with his race. Peter Parker is a lower-middle class kid from Forest Hills, Queens, with a brilliant scientific mind and the most powerful sense of humor in the Marvel Universe. He has an Aunt May, and he’s a photographer, and he likes redheads. Neither race nor gender inform his characterization.

The same could be said for most of the dopey white guys punching each other on the screen nowadays: you could make Tony Stark into Toni Stark and cast Aisha Tyler in the role (because Aisha Tyler should be cast in every role) and not have to change any of the dialogue. Bruce Banner is white, but he doesn’t have to be.

Certain characters, however, require actors of a certain ethnicity. Black Panther has to be black. Conversely, Black Widow has to be white. The Kingpin can be any color you want as long as he’s enormous; Daredevil has to be Irish-Catholic, or he’s not Daredevil anymore, just a blind guy doing karate in an alley. Luke Cage is a black guy, but Iron Fist (Jesus, that name) only needs to be a rich American kid.

Captain America has to be white, though, at least the Steve Rogers version: the U.S. Army–still a few years away from being desegregated by Truman–would not have picked anyone but a white boy to be their Super-Soldier. Nazism could only be fought with the blondest, blue-eyedest guy that Tommy Lee Jones could find.

(There was a comic called Truth a while ago that asked a good question: wouldn’t the Army have tested the Super-Soldier formula? And who do you think they would have tested it on?)

My vote for best color-blind superhero casting would be Denzel Washington as Batman, and as long as we’re in the realm of imagination: I’d cast Denzel twice. First, we use the Time Sheath to go back and get Denzel in his 30’s and have him be Action Batman and slap muggers around and stand on top of the Batmobile yelling at people. THEN, we get present-day Denzel and do Crazy Batman, where he’s old and broken and been driven insane by Gotham City, and ambles through town in broad daylight wearing Batarmor and firing wrist-rockets at pickpockets.

With A Surprise Cameo From Spider-Man

Where is this coming from?

I produce my content in-house.

That’s not what I meant.

I literally make it in my house.


Plus, and I don’t know if you noticed this because you’re not a film director like me, but there is no CG in any of my films. All practical effects.

I hope you get eaten by a donkey.

For example, the shield gag–in the business, we call that sort of thing a “gag”–was accomplished with nothing but a piece of twine.

You don’t say. What about Spidey’s descent into frame?

Also twine.

Wow. Seamless.

Ask me how many takes.

Was it–

One take.

–one take?

I insist on the first take. It is the rawest meat from which I will dine. First takes are truth! They are song! Plus: I’m only gonna do one take, so I might as well have some artistic bullshit to justify it.

Yup. Please stop repaying people’s kindness with whatever this is.

You mean the great Buzz Poole, whose book about Workingman’s Dead can be purchased here?

This has got to be the most plugs you’ve ever given a book.

To be fair, none of the other books got sexually assaulted and bothered by superheroes.

That is fair.

Thoughts On The Cap Trailer


  • All movie trailers must start with slow piano plinking.
  • It’s the law now.
  • Anyway, sorry for the repost, but I’ve watched the new Cap trailer a dozen times today and don’t see why you shouldn’t, too.
  • I would say “spoiler alert” about Spider-Man showing up, but I refuse to live in a world where spoiler alerts are issued for trailers.
  • A trailer is not a safe space.
  • The story: Iron Man turns narc, and Cap’s all “Bucky’s my FRIEEEEENNNNND, man,” and then there is punching and Black Widow does crotch-fu.
  • They should probably just call these things Marvel Movie #1, Marvel Movie #2, etc. from now on.
  • Everyone is in it, except for the Hulk and Thor, because the Hulk is too powerful and expensive, and Thor was filming Ghostbusters.
  • They had better explain the Hulk’s absence, or I’m going to spend the entire movie telling “THROW THE HULK AT THE PROBLEM,” to the screen and I will surely be ejected from the theater, and rightly so.
  • Scarlet Witch uses her powers of CG on the Vision, and perhaps later they have a conversation about whose abilities have been more ill-defined.
  • (In the movies, that is, kinda. In the comics, Vision has a stupidly complicated backstory–he’s an android, but he’s got a brother or some nonsense–but his powers were clear: he could increase or decrease his mass, become transparent, and shoot ray beams out of his super-bindi. The Scarlet Witch, however, has always just waved her hands while the current writer made shit up.)
  • I would like to see if the Marvel movies follow the comic’s storyline regarding the Vision and the Scarlet Witch.
  • They get it on.
  • I guess he’s got a robot dick.
  • And they got married.
  • We’re a lot more tolerant than we used to be, but I don’t know if you can marry an android.
  • That’s not in my Bible.
  • The Falcon is also allowed to participate despite the fact that all he has is a piece of technology that by any reasonable view of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, should be available to a lot more people than just him.
  • The entirety of Falcon’s powers are his cool jetpack; if you steal if from him, do you get to be the Falcon?
  • Plus, in the big hero fight, he takes to the air to square off with War Machine.
  • First of all: racist.
  • Why do the black guys have to fight each other?
  • Second: these black guys should not fight; one is dramatically more lethal than the other one.
  • Falcon has fancy birdy-wings; War Machine has a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher: this is not a fair fight.
  • Speaking of War Machine, he is once again played by Don Cheadle, and Marvel would like us to believe that he dies.
  • I’ll just lay it out there: Marvel, if you kill Don Cheadle, I will burn your office down.
  • TotD loves some Don Cheadle.
  • There are no snipers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because all of Captain America’s team could be taken out from a safe distance.
  • Although, down that road of thought lies sad truth that destroys the fun of the whole endeavor: the proper response to superheros is not “more superheros” but an airstrike.
  • It has been scientifically proven in four or five movies now that Captain America cannot be killed via punching, but a Tomahawk missile would do it.
  • The Winter Soldier, also known as Bucky Barnes, may or may not be given a personality in this film; we’ll have to wait and see.
  • Or he may just be another Macguffin like those dopey Infinity Stones from the Avengers movies.
  • Within hours of this trailer going up this morning, there were dozens of “reaction” videos on the innertubes and I think the web needs some pruning.
  • And, yes, I realize that this is precisely the same thing, but mine’s better.
  • That’s it, I guess.
  • I’ll stop that now.
  • Love me some Spider-Man.
  • If Don Cheadle¬† played Spider-Man, I would take a dump in my pants.
  • I’d take a dump in everybody’s pants, man.
  • Fuck this new kid: make Spider-Man a 51-year-old skinny black guy.

Weaving Spiders Come Here




Thoughts On Another, Better Trailer

  • Did you notice the big difference? The one enormous, if subtle, difference between the trailer for this movie about superheros punching one another and the last trailer about superheros punching one another?
  • Unlike the DC universe, the Marvel Cinematic Universe contains something called “daytime.”
  • Things happen in the afternoon sometimes.
  • First, let’s get rid of the similarities: in both universes, superpowers are only granted to super-attractive people.
  • (Ah, you’ll say: but Jeremy Renner has a face like a thumb. He doesn’t have superpowers and he’s stupid and dopey and his family-time was the worst thing about the second Avengers movie and we’re just not going to talk about the guy with the fucking bow and arrow.)
  • And they’re both about a guy putting on a robot suit to fight a guy who began his fictional life as a metaphor for the immigrant story in America and dresses in red and blue.
  • After those things, our products diverge.
  • Both trailers feature a big reveal of a hero, but when Iron Man shows up, we’ve spent five movies and over ten hours with him. We know him: his likes (martinis, Audis), and dislikes (bad guys, Mondays, authority), so when he is shown to be on the side of the government, it is a shock and a tangible hook for the film.
  • Whereas Wonder Woman just shows up.
  • “Hey, guys.”
  • “Hi.”
  • “Sup.”
  • “I’m made out of clay, and from a lady-island.”
  • And so on.
  • How many people can you introduce into one movie? New Batman, new Alfred, new Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman, Doomsday, Dead Robin, new Batmobile, and we haven’t even seen Aquaman’s useless, wet ass yet.
  • The Cap movie has the Black Panther, who is new and will have his own movie soon, and William Hurt playing a military guy, who is actually not new because he was in a Hulk movie which Marvel pretends didn’t happen, except for some parts of it.
  • It also seems like Falcon gets some good screen time again, too.
  • Whereas, the DCU is so white that Amy Adams is a part of it.
  • Amy Adams is the whitest lady there is.
  • Where’s Spider-Man?
  • Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (which is a terrible name) also differs from Captain America: Civil War (which is a good name) in that it cribs from the Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns comic and from the Death of Superman storyline and this can do nothing but anger comic fans; the Cap movie steals the title “Civil War” and the whole “Cap and IM punch each other” from a Marvel story and that’s about it.
  • The Civil War storyline was utterly absurd in the comic books: at one point, Thor was cloned and let’s leave it at that.
  • Also noticed in this trailer: Black Widow doing that thing where she defeats her opponent by hitting them in the face with her crotch; War Machine getting his ass kicked; and Scarlet Witch having vague and unexplained powers.
  • Is she a telepath?
  • Does she use magic?
  • If so, could she magic herself up a better accent than the one from the last film?
  • I need to speak to Spider-Man.
  • He may or may not show up, as Marvel now has his rights back and want to get him in something, but Hulk will not be in this film.
  • In both movies and real life, it is very expensive to have the Hulk show up.
  • Maybe the lesson from these two trailers is that bigger isn’t always better: there’s more story and emotion and drama in the harsh words exchanged by Tony and Steve than there is in the Human Tank and Alien Jesus fistfight.
  • I have been promised a new Spider-Man.

Comic Book Colors #10

pass thorpass iron man pass captain america

The big three, as far as Marvel’s concerned. The full appellation might be “the big three that can’t quite sell their own books real consistent-like,” but we won’t hold that against them.

Marvel Fun Fact: all three of the heroes pictures are uncircumcised, so you’re looking at a twelve-skin.

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