That’s the funny thing though — I don’t think, objectively speaking, that efficiency or effectiveness factors into narrative structure. I can see from an Audience Reception context it might be important, but Storyforming not so much.
The reason I asked about Zemo’s connection was because I wondering if I missed something the first time I watched it and he was somehow involved in it, which would mean you might have a valid point with this:
Except what does setting up Bucky as the one who set up the bomb really have to do with the story goal of ending the Avengers in order to end the inequity introduced by Scarlet Witch?
As you mentioned in your other thread Zemo is just taking advantage of the situation. It’s like Luke in Star Wars, he’s not taking over for Leia as Protagonist in the Overall Story to fight the Empire so he can specifically stop them from illegally boarding ships. It’s just that there is an Inequity, a Goal for resolving it, and Luke focuses on the Goal—not really thinking of the Inciting Incident/first Story Driver.
It’s not that the Goal solves the first Story Driver—it solves the inequity creates by the first Story Driver.
Hi Jim @jhull,
I think I was seeing things along the same lines as Sebastien, with Tony as a Be-er (using the force of his personality) and Cap as a Do-er. For me Cap’s Situation was simply “my friend is in trouble”, a stuck external state. Sebastien’s “man out of time” is probably better but that wasn’t super-clear to me, not having seen the other films.
His attitude about the kid being killed was problematic because he did care about it–enough to support the Accords and to convince others to support them. It’s the source of his influence.
HOWEVER something very odd has been happening to me as the film fades a bit. My feelings about the “I” and “You” perspectives are shifting. If I could put numbers on them:
right after watching the film I felt 100% that Cap was MC.
now, several days later, I feel more like 70% for Cap and 30% for Tony. I don’t know why, but I’m coming more around to seeing Tony’s part of the story through his eyes (which when watching the film I couldn’t at all!), and Cap’s personal issues about Bucky are fading a bit. I still see Cap as MC, but not as strongly.
Has anyone else who saw Cap as the MC (@decastell, @khodu, @Alex_Maven?) experienced this at all? It may point to a difference, as Sebastien suggests, between the underlying story and the way the filmmakers presented it.
My experience with other stories is that the true storyform becomes more clear with some distance (since your story-mind remembers the structure better than the storytelling). I’ve never had this happen with MC vs. IC, but Civil War is a tough nut!
That’s my point, though: the inequity has to do with innocents dying as a result of super heroic activities in general. In this sense, Zemo has every reason to be motivated by this, but of course character motivations aren’t what we’re talking about here. The attempt to frame Bucky doesn’t have any logical connection to breaking up the Avengers (or solving the inequity in some other way) as it’s at least as likely to produce the opposite result even if everything went according to plan. They are functionally distinct from one another, linked solely by Zemo saying, “Well, I’m pissed about my dead family so I decided to do this completely other thing and bust up a nice friendship between Steve and Tony.”
Now, your other point: [quote=“jhull, post:159, topic:719”]
I don’t think, objectively speaking, that efficiency or effectiveness factors into narrative structure. I can see from an Audience Reception context it might be important, but Storyforming not so much.
I totally get it – what it says to me, though, is that the plot of Captain America: Civil War, on carefully examination, makes no real sense. The underlying structure isn’t supported by the way the story gets told. This was, coincidentally, a criticism from a lot of comic fans when the film came out: it does lots of stuff well, is very entertaining, and the entire Zemo plot line makes no sense in the context of the movie. This is a problem that crops up with other Marvel films occasionally (i.e. the “why in the world would the villain have taken that approach?” problem) and in a lot of James Bond films where the evil plot is just . . . evil.
So, my real dispute with you now, Jim, is that you give Civil War 4/5 for structure!
I’m still 100% Cap, but part of that simply comes from the sense that Tony’s motivations are so weak (a nice kid died when I was saving the planet so from now on superheroes should be under government control even if it means not being allowed to save people sometimes) that I have trouble adopting his perspective. That said, the filmmakers made it abundantly clear that they specifically wanted the audience to sometimes see the story through Steve’s eyes and sometimes through Tony’s. In this sense, they are going directly against Dramatica’s approach.
I suppose one question would be: is it remotely possible that Steve and Tony hand-off the MC throughline? Thus, although they seem opposed in the story, they’re actually both stuck in problems in the same domain?
My experience with other stories is that the true storyform becomes more clear with some distance (since your story-mind remembers the structure better than the storytelling.
That’s usually how it works. I had similar experiences with Doubt and Moonlight.
Only Doubt took eight years to see correctly LOL
Trust me, after all this I want to give it a ZERO out of 5
the inequity has to do with innocents dying as a result of super heroic activities in general. In this sense, Zemo has every reason to be motivated by this, but of course character motivations aren’t what we’re talking about here.
Unless I’m misunderstanding you, from a Dramatica point of view we are talking about character motivations. The initial inequity carries with it motivations towards or away resolution. I agree that Zemo is motivated by this to Pursue a course of action that brings the Avengers down.
The attempt to frame Bucky doesn’t have any logical connection to breaking up the Avengers (or solving the inequity in some other way) as it’s at least as likely to produce the opposite result even if everything went according to plan.
This is where we might see it different—I think framing Bucky is designed to pit the Avengers against one another—particularly Cap and Iron Man—so that they’ll end up trying to kill each other. He knows he can’t revenge for his family’s death on his own, so why not have them kill each other?
I think your list of insanity is all the steps he takes to get those two in a room where they will end up killing each other.
They are functionally distinct from one another, linked solely by Zemo saying, “Well, I’m pissed about my dead family so I decided to do this completely other thing and bust up a nice friendship between Steve and Tony.”
I may be totally missing something here, but I got the impression he did all this so they would try and kill one another. Didn’t he even say something about how all these super soldiers would’ve been no much for them anyways, that the only way to get revenge was to have them kill each other?
is it remotely possible that Steve and Tony hand-off the MC throughline? Thus, although they seem opposed in the story, they’re actually both stuck in problems in the same domain
Maybe…it would be super annoying since they’re on opposite sides. But you’d still have to make more of a case for Steve’s personal Throughline—from just the film.
I remember the funeral—that could work. And wasnt her daughter hot? I got the impression he was going to do something with her…and then there’s the tender goodbye with Bucky—but were there any other personal moments?
Also, the inequity with his super old girlfriend dead…did they even explore that personally?
These would be the kind of things that would make up a Main Character personal Throughline. “Saving Bucky” is all part of the OS. You’d need something a little extra…
Yes, I definitely recall this. I think during Zemo’s voice-over in the super-soldier bunker base.
There were some flirtations with her niece (hesitation near an elevator) and he did end up kissing her. I saw this as Story Dividends – they started something up, potential for a Future relationship.
Actually it’s interesting that even though we can’t all agree on the actual MC, we all seem to agree on MC being Situation. This makes Story Dividends to be The Future (always same as MC Concern) which definitely seems right – Spider-man earns a future as an important superhero, various characters seem to setup friendships and relationships for the future, etc.
And the best example of Story Cost of Subconscious is Zemo needing to fuel his drive for revenge by constantly listening to his wife’s voicemail, having to keep bearing that renewed grief on the way to the Goal. Bonus Costs: the Scarlet Witch having to bear everyone’s fear of her, and the terror everyone felt when the other-iron-man-suit-guy fell out of the sky and almost died.
I still tend to see Steve as being in the situation of “being trapped in the future.” And while I know that a lot of his actions in terms of the pursuit of Bucky are part of the OS, there are aspects of that which strike me as being part of the MC throughline. For example, when he says to Wanda, “Rumlow said ‘Bucky’ and all of a sudden I was a sixteen year old kid again in Brooklyn” – an odd choice of words, don’t you think? I mean, why not, “I’ve been searching for Bucky for months” or something like that. Here it’s presented in terms of Steve suddenly being back in his own time.
The entire funeral for Peggy Carter is notable to me because it has zero relevance to the OS, to the RS, or to Tony. It’s strictly about Cap losing one of his last two ties to his own time: “When I came out of the ice, I thought everyone I had know was gone. When I found out she was alive . . . it was just good to have her.”
We later have a scene between Steve and Sharon (Peggy’s niece) where he asks if Peggy knew about her spying on him that, again, has pretty much nothing to do with the OS or his position with regards to the Accords or Tony or anything else. It’s about him being worried that Peggy might have known and not told him.
Then we have the kiss between Sharon and Steve, and she says, “that was . . .” he finishes her thought: “late.” I’m struck by the choice of wanting to express time, being out of time, being in the wrong time so often with Steve. Also, it’s really hard to imagine an IC getting so much screen time dealing with things that are completely separate from the OS or MC.
We have the tender moment on the plane just before they jump. What do they talk about? Not their friendship in the abstract, but the things they did together back in their own time. Cap constantly seems to try to go back to his own time in the only way he can: through his relationship to the only people who knew him back then. Again, this scene isn’t about the Avengers or Tony or the Accords, it’s strictly about Steve who can’t seem to live in his future and keeps trying to hang onto his past.
All that said, I’m really wondering now whether the Russo Brothers aren’t in fact explicitly making both the MC and IC throughlines a constant series of handoffs between Steve and Tony, giving each of them just enough personal issues separate from everyone and everything else to make us see parts of the movie through their eyes as the “I”, only to swap suddenly to make them the “you”.
OK…since you love Captain America so much, I have a question for you (and it’s a leading question), if Mr. Goody Two Shoes was the Main Character in some cockamanie storyform, where would you see the Story Judgment for Steven?
Because if you give the right answer, it might explain something that was bugging me about my own storyform.
I’d like to contribute something, however slight it might be to this conversation, as it was this thread that prompted me to actually join the forum.
First, a small amount of background: I had never watched any Captain America movies, or any of the recent Marvel movies for that matter, before I watched Civil War. Even more interesting, I think, is that I watched this entire thread before I watched the movie. I was really interested to see why/how this conversation played out due to the movie.
Here’s how things worked out for me.
Throughout the first half of the movie, I never connected with Steve viscerally. I felt like I was watching an interesting character, but exactly that: Watching someone else. That visceral connection was through Tony, at least for me.
However, this was only through the first half of the movie. Everything after the scene where Tony attempts to get Steve to sign the accords felt different. At that point forward, and especially at the end of the fight between Tony and Steve, I had a sense of perspective whiplash. It was small, but there.
So, I’m not sure if it added anything, but I hope it did. But, my question would be if anyone else felt that whiplash, and if so, why it would be there.
But that’s EXACTLY what Tony was saying…and not over the single kid (who is representative) but over creating Ultron and ALL the people that died because of that.
[quote=“decastell, post:154, topic:719”]
Part of protecting Bucky is not admitting that Bucky killed Tony’s parents.
[/quote] okay, somebody clue me in…you guys keep talking about Steve knowing that Bucky killed Tony’s parents. Could someone give me the minute marker where that is made evident? Cuz I can’t find a scene like that anywhere. He finds out the same time Tony does towards the end.
Also…Bucky is the wedge that Zemo is using to split up the Avengers. He has studied his prey. He knows that Cap will be loyal to Bucky no matter what (above the Avengers) and that Tony’s very public display of continued pain in the beginning will not let him have anything less than Bucky’s death, ergo Avengers shattered. The “misson” Zemo keeps looking for is verification of Bucky murdering the Starks.
It’s not particularly well handled, as there’s never any reason given why Cap would know (since it all happens when he himself was in the ice, so how did he even find out?) But it’s definitely there.
I found the story judgment ambiguous in this movie. There’s no indication that either Tony or Steve have resolved their personal issues. At no point during the final fight or afterwards does Tony seem to have resolved his problems – he’s never flipped from problem to solution. The same is true for Cap: after he’s defeated Tony in the fight, Tony says “That shield doesn’t belong to you. You don’t deserve it. My father made that shield.” And Cap gives it up. He’s not changing his approach here – he’s doubling down, accepting the price of maintaining his approach.
This, to me, feels like the real end of the movie – where the credits should be rolling. They add some epilogue scenes, including Tony getting a letter from Steve and trying for a cheap laugh by showing Tony putting Ross on hold, all of which is designed to make us feel less depressed over the way things ended and almost looks like something added in because the studio thought the movie ended too dark.
We also have the moment from Zemo in his cell when he implies he was victorious because he made his enemies tear themselves apart from within. While this is mostly about the OS, it’s also what unites the RS, MC, and IC throughlines all at once: everyone’s been torn apart from within.
So I’d say both Cap and Tony would have a story judgment of bad.
Y’know after all this something hit me. @jhull Remember your sentiments on Harry Potter? There was a post you made on seeing The Series as a whole,as opposed to seeing each film as all emo passing. For example if we look at Winter Soldier, Caps sentiment is still the same. He still wants to save his friend. This carries through to this movie as well. So perhaps we should view the entire Trilogy as one storyform (maybe even throw in Age of Ultron for good measure) , with each preceding film as the latter’s back story. This way we can appreciate most character justifications and thus judge more accurately as you did with Harry Potter. This could clarify a few things.
The letter has Cap saying the Avengers belong to Tony now, and he wants him to lead them because he doesn’t like the idea of Tony being alone in one of his big mansions. He says we all need family, that Cap’s been on his own since he was 18, never feeling part of anything, even the army, and so he puts his faith in people, and that he can’t let them down (which is why he’s going to break into the prison to free the others.) He apologizes for not telling Tony the truth about his parents. He says he understands that they’ll never agree on the Accords, but they’re both doing what they believe is right, which is all anyone can do. He ends by promising that if Tony needs him, he’ll be there.
So, yeah, you could nominally justify this as a judgment of good, but it really feels tacked on to me. I realize the epilogue can be used for expositing the story judgment, but usually it acts as an extension of what we’ve seen in the climax (e.g. Jane nearly dies to save Ted even though they fought throughout the movie, and in the epilogue Ted is at Jane’s bedside in the hospital asking why she did it, and she says, “because we’re family” or something.) In this case, the epilogue is completely contrary to the final scene of the climax. I mean completely reversed. For that reason, I have trouble taking it as an expression of story judgment. It feels more to me like a way of mitigating that story judgment of bad: of saying to the audience, yeah, it all went to shit and things turned out badly for everyone, but it’s not completely horrible.
One last thought occurred to me regarding this issue of whether Captain America: Civil War has either A) A single storyform over which we argue about whether the MC is Steve or Tony, or B) Two storyforms, one in which Steve is the MC and the other in which Tony is the MC, or C) My new pet theory: that there is an ongoing handoff between Steve and Tony for the MC (and thus the IC) throughlines.
Arguing for option B or C, here is my coup de grace: often the Dramatica storyform is described as representing the author’s intent (though of late this has been quite reasonably adjusted to the author’s message since they may not have fulfilled their intent.) The Russo Brothers have described their intent – and I think they succeeded in this – to have the audience alternately see the story from Cap’s perspective and from Tony’s.
So given that this was their intent and that it seems to have worked, is it not reasonable to think that the Dramatica Storyform encapsulates this either via an ongoing handoff in the MC or via two storyforms? Otherwise we have a critical aspect of the authorial message that isn’t described by the Dramatica model.
There’s also an option D, which @Khodu was alluding to. Similar to option B, there are two storyforms but one is the Series storyform that has Cap as MC, and the other is the Civil War storyform that has Iron Man as MC.
For that to work, Cap would have to be dealing with the same personal issues that continued from one or more previous films (without being resolved in them). Probably something along the lines of your “man out of time” issues (I haven’t seen the other films).
On the other hand, I suppose you could argue that the suite of Marvel Cinematic Universe films do represent a marked change from anything that’s come before – directly interlinked feature films that are always both telling their own story and advancing the series arc. Marvel has made no bones of the fact that all the MCU movies are leading up to Infinity War (hence why there’s a frickin’ stone in almost every one of the movies – each one is an infinity stone which is what Thanos is going to get hold of in Avengers: Infinity War.)
That said, from a Dramatica standpoint I think it would then make more sense to toss out all those scenes that aren’t really part of this movie but just servicing the lead up to the big movie. Thus you have a storyform representing Captain America: Civil War with a few extra scenes tossed in for continuity of the series arc.
All that said, I don’t think that describes the Cap “man out of time” stuff. That feels connected to this movie, and not so much the series arc which is about the infinity stones.
Interesting. I don’t read this example as tacked on. It feels like something the Author was specifically trying to say–in other words, it doesn’t matter how much we fought, because we were family. Isn’t that just another way to prove something?
I added in story points here (for the storyform with Tony as the MC/Steve as the IC):
Also, Tony’s on-hold gag fits in really nicely with a Main Character Sequence of Attitude in context of the Present there at the end.
I’m not sure there’s too much of an arc there, honestly. At least not yet. Like @decastell said, there’s the overarching Infinity War setup, but that story’s not yet finished. Otherwise, they all stand on their own, so I wouldn’t put too much faith in that theory.
The “man out of time” stuff is more of a character role in the ‘OS’, with a few flashbacks and callbacks tossed in throughout the trilogy to give continuity to his character. But there doesn’t seem to be a huge ‘arc’ for Cap within his trilogy, much like there wasn’t for Tony within the Iron Man trilogy. Tony’s arc runs from Iron Man 1 all the way through the Avengers movies into Civil War and beyond. I could be wrong, but I don’t think there’s a completed arc for any character just yet.
It feels more like the entire Infinity War setup is the major arc for the characters, and I’d imagine it’ll turn out like a Lord Of The Rings multiple storyform thing.