Civil War Proves We Shouldn’t Be Scared Of Movies

By Christopher Isaac | Published

civil war

I don’t know about anyone else, but in the lead-up to the release of Alex Garland’s latest movie, Civil War, I saw quite a few panicked responses online. There was plenty of chatter about how Americans would not want to see a politically divisive movie since there is too much of that in the real world and it would lead to a low box office. Some also thought this movie would wind up sparking real-life violence in response to its message, but it is a relief to see all that fearmongering has proven false.

Biggest A24 Opening Yet

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Civil War released on April 12 in the United States, just in time for the weekend, and it has already recouped over half of its $50 million budget.

In just the three days it has been out as of this writing, the movie has made $25.7 million at the box office. That is definitely an auspicious start for the movie to wind up being successful. This actually became the biggest opening for a movie from distributor A24 in their history, topping Hereditary.

Even more positive is that critics are also responding very well to Civil War, with it currently having an 83% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. So by every significant metric, the movie is doing well. This is quite a far cry from all the concerns people were publicly espousing before Civil War was released.

Comparing To Current Politcal Situation

On the one hand, I can understand why some people were doubtful about how moviegoers would respond to Civil War. It is a pretty clear allegory for the current political turmoil in America, and it features a faction so emboldened that they try to forcibly take over the government and resort to violence when they don’t get their way.

That is not exactly an irrational fear that people have about what happens in the real world.

Doesn’t Choose A Message

Fortunately, Civil War handles the topic with tact, stopping short of overtly stating the politics of either side in the division taking place in the movie.

As reviewers of the movie noted, its message is neither anti-Trump nor anti-woke despite those being the camps that most people’s minds would stray to based on modern events.

Humanizes The Characters

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Instead, Civil War humanizes the characters in this conflict by showing everyone involved dealing with horrific situations. And the main characters are journalists whose goal is to document what is happening in impartial fashion, so there is no clear cut message about anyone’s beliefs being evil.

A Good Sign For Movie Audiences

I find it encouraging that audiences can engage with this kind of subject matter without it turning into a cause for riots or vandalism over a movie.

The dialogue surrounding Civil War leading up to its release made it sound as if Americans were too emotionally immature to deal with challenging or controversial subjects.

So many people complain about theaters being dominated by action movies these days, but then when something that asks some tough questions comes along, critics initially questioned if we could handle it.

Panic Over Nothing

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I understand there are many entertainment topics where fans get themselves worked up over nothing. But I am happy to see the reaction to Civil War demonstrates that is not the case for movies touching on difficult topics.

Similar fears were espoused when Joker was released and that likewise proved to be a lot of panic over nothing. And I think that proves we need more movies like this that get people out of their comfort zones, because we can handle that.