captain america analysis
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Captain America: Civil WarMise-en-scene and Sound
The first scene of the trailer includes a very dark room with three male characters within it. This low-key lighting gives off the idea that these characters are hiding from people for unknown reasons to the audience, tempting them to go see the film so they can find out why. This lighting is similar to that of horror films as it follows the convention of low-key lighting being used to create both mystery and suspense. The male character (Buck) in the second shot is wearing red, which could be implying he is a dangerous character as he is also being restrained by a clamp on his metal arm. The second male character (Captain America) is wearing a light grey shirt, which could be depicting his purity being ruined for some reason unknown to the audience, building more to the mystery of the film. The makeup used on the characters makes them appear to be quite dirty, sweaty and bloody, suggesting they have been through a rough situation recently that has caused Captain America’s purity to be destroyed. As the scene begins, intense and mysterious non-diegetic music begins to play quietly in the background so that it doesn’t cover up any of the quiet dialogue. Because the dialogue between Buck and Captain America is so hushed it further implies the characters are hiding otherwise they would be talking normally, whilst the music confirms this idea through creating an intense atmosphere. The dialogue “Do you remember me?” suggests Buck has lost his memory or the two haven’t spoken in a long time but they used to be very good friends, indicating a theme of friendship, which is an unlikely theme in horror films.
The dialogue “You’re a wanted man” is used as a sound bridge to the next shot of a conference room being blown up, suggesting Buck may be the cause of this disaster. The smart desks and chairs may be an indication that this conference was very important and this destruction will spark a bad chain of events. Throughout these next shots the dialogue between Buck and Captain America plays revealing information through lines such as “I don’t do that anymore” from Buck and Captain America replying with “Well the people who think you did are coming right now”, informing the audience that Buck has possibly been framed for a crime he didn’t commit for reasons unknown to the audience. The wide shot of the large group of soldiers holding guns builds on the idea this is a terrible crisis as there is so many of them whilst the seemingly dead soldier on the floor relays just how serious the situation is. After the explosion release the tension form the music the backing track continues to build as a crescendo as the soldiers close in on Bucky until multiple beats build up for effect to Bucky jumping from a building. These beat sounds building to Buck’s jump implies the film is quite fast paced and action packed, which sets it apart from horror films building lots of tension for effect. The high-key lighting sets this film apart from horror films as so much action is taking place in the day, whilst horror films typically include all of their action during the night or at least in quite low-key areas.
After the previous shot the sound changes the atmosphere completely from using fast paced beats to a slow, dramatic piano. This creates a more serious alternative theme for the film rather than another action packed superhero blockbuster. The first image of the man un the black shirt and cream trousers displays him as being quite an important character as the soldiers do not hesitate to let him past them, showing his status as very high. The use of black on his costume could portray him as a bad character whilst alternatively the light cream colour could be implying he is only doing what he thinks is right for people. The second image of Captain America kicking a soldier solidifies the idea he is going against the law in this film for reasons unknown to the audience, however the fact he is still wearing his iconic red, white and blue outfit suggests he is doing the right thing for America and the rest of the world. The final image displays Captain America sat by Black Widow listening to the man from the top image, further implying this man’s power. The facial expression used on Captain America connotes the idea he does not agree with what this man is saying and believes a different path should be taken, giving the impression that this path is the reason for the previous shots in the trailer which also creates the theme of rebellion for the film. The theme of rebellion would usually not be found in a traditional horror film but it wouldn’t be completely unusual in a more action orientated horror film. The dialogue “Some would prefer the term vigilante” reveals more of the plot to the audience, the plot being the superheroes having to be put in check for the safety of civilians.
The slow dramatic music begins to build here as the shots become more intense whilst there is non-diegetic dialogue of Black Widow saying “I know how much Bucky means to you”, which greatly builds on the theme of friendship as Captain America is willing to go to war with the law to keep his friend safe. The shot of Buck on the motorbike uses low-key lighting to relay the idea him and Captain America are having to run away and hide from the law as the next shot displays Captain America in a disguise so that nobody notices him. The facial expressions on both characters portray just how serious the situation in this film is as they both have very stern faces, tempting the audience to go see the film in cinemas to find out what happens, also building on the theme of rebellion. The third shot of the police force armed with weapons continues to build on serious tone of the film as they don’t see hesitant to fire at Captain America, relaying how much he believes his choice is the right way to go and how far he will go to protect Buck. The dialogue line “There will be consequences” depicts this film perhaps being a turn point for the Marvel cinematic universe as something important will happen in this film, leading the audience to wonder what these consequences will be and making them want to see the film to find out how these consequences will change Marvel films in the future.
The next shot of Iron Man coming into the film symbolises the importance of this film as the different movie franchises in the Marvel universe are combining again in this film so it is a must see for fans of all of the films. The low-key lighting on Iron Man could however be suggesting he is a darker character in this film and may even be going against Captain America because the two have conflicting beliefs. The makeup used on Iron Man to make it look like he has a black eye also symbolises a possible physical fight between him and Captain America as the Iron Man’s dialogue says “You seem a little defensive” and Captain America replies with “Well it’s been a long day”. This dialogue makes it clear that there is a lot of tension between the two characters because of their different beliefs. The second shot of Captain America and Buck continues to show the strong bond between the two of them as Captain America places his hand on his shoulder, symbolising their friendship and how large a theme it is in the film. This symbol of friendship could also be implying they are preparing for something huge in the film and they are wishing each other luck. The third shot here shows Iron Man and Captain America in a glass room and continues to imply the tension between the characters as Iron Man says “Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth”. This strongly depicts a fight between the characters hence the title of the film being called ‘Civil War’. Iron Man’s costume consisting of black, red and white could be symbolising him as a dangerous character with good intentions as red is associated and danger and but white is though to be innocence.
The next shot of Captain America hitting a soldier with his shield includes quite intense dramatic music building as more shots follow. This non-diegetic music increases the dramatic tone of the film and builds on the theme of fighting for what’s right. Captain America’s patriotic costume could also be depicting America fighting for freedom as Captain America believes that he shouldn’t have to be ‘kept in check’. The second shot includes synchronous sounds of the rockets hitting the ground to a drum beat to create the effect of a powerful impact from the rockets and show the seriousness of the situation going out of control leading to a war between Captain America and Iron Man. The high-key lighting in the shot implies there is no more hiding for Buck and Captain America and now they have no choice but to fight for what they believe in even though it will likely result in many casualties. The third shot of Captain America running through an explosion is effective as the destroyed room portrays the destruction that Captain America has caused trying to do right yet he still pushes through it for his friend, solidifying the theme of friendship in the film. This kind of explosive action would be unlikely to see in a horror film which sets the genres apart. The sound also almost completely goes in this shot so that the audience can hear the dialogue “I’m sorry Tony”. This dialogue suggests the two of them being forced into this bad situation that they must follow through, even if they both regret it . The hushed tone of his voice also implies something serious taking place such as a serious injury and tempts the audience to go see the film to find out what has happened.
The shot of Iron Man and War Machine depicts a serious injury happening to War Machine and could possibly be what has caused Captain America to apologise, further implied from Captain America saying “You know I wouldn’t do this if I had any other choice”. The bruised faces on the two characters indicates an intense fight between Iron Man and Captain America that has caused this injury. The black smoke in the background also relays the destruction that Captain America has caused and the consequences of his actions being what may be War Machines death. The suggestion that War Machine may be dead greatly persuades the audience to go see the film to find out if he will live through it and how it happened. The second shot of Buck and Captain America fighting Iron Man confirms the fight between the characters and continues to make the audience want to go see the film as they want to find out who wins the fight in the end. The lighting in the room is fairly high-key because of the natural lighting coming in otherwise it would be quite a dark room, which could be symbolising the Captain America’s struggle to maintain his morals and try not to betray the law. The sound in this shot also immediately picks back up from the previous shot to show the audience that this is a serious fight with no playing around. The use of making this the final shot in the trailer is a final teaser to make the audience want to go see the film.