Captain America: Civl War debuted over the weekend, racking up spectacular reviews and $181 million at the box office, good for fifth best opening of all time. Before our think-piece culture provokes the inevitable backlash, however, let’s take a moment to appreciate some of the better jokes in the Marvel film.
— The scene in which Hawkeye was slagging Iron Man about being a “futurist” was apparently a nod to the comic New Avengers: Illuminati. I did not know that. I thought it was a nod to Robert Downey, Jrs.’ solo album, The Futurist, which made it a much funnier line to me (I owned the album in the day, and it was a pretty decent).
— Iron Man’s reference to Aunts coming in “all shapes and sizes” when speaking of Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May was obviously a swipe at the Internet’s reaction to Tomei’s casting. She is 51, and there’s no reason to think that she couldn’t be the aunt of an 18 year old, even if she is as attractive as Tomei.
— Iron Man’s reference to Bucky as the Manchurian Candidate was a clever reference to the movie and book of the same name. For those who don’t know the details, it’s about a brainwashed sleeper agent working for the Communists to assassinate the President of the United States, so the joke in reference to Bucky managed to be both clever and on the nose.
— We often forget of the Russo Brothers’ television origins. It’s not a joke, per se, but the inclusion of Jim Rash as the MIT professor is all the more amusing when you remember that Rash played Dean Pelton on Community, a series that was exec produced by the Russo Brothers, who also directed a lot of the episodes in seasons 1-3 and 5 (including the pilot).
— Likewise, the Stair Car in the airplane hanger was clearly a nod to Gob Bluth’s stair car in Arrested Development, the pilot and 13 episodes of which the Russo Brothers also directed.
— Ant-Man’s line, “Does anyone have any orange slices” after the big Avengers battle had no real reference point, but it was funny. For our International readers who are in tune with suburban life here in America, it was simply a joke about how Moms pass out orange slices to their kids after big games, cause they’re tired.
— The song playing during the end-credits sequence with Bucky Barnes — who lost his left arm — was Alt-J’s spot-on “Left Hand Free.”
— Spider-Man’s reference to Empire Strikes Back, while he was spinning a web around the legs of Giant Ant-Man to trip him was, of course, a nod to Luke and Wedge Antilles wrapping a cable around the legs of the AT-AT walker.
— As for the Mark Furhman joke, which resonated a little louder thanks to People vs. O.J. Simpson, it was mere coincidence. The writers were simply trying to name check a bad cop, and Furhman stuck.