I’ve spoken with four Civil War viewers, and the general consensus is that director Alex Garland has over-muddied the narrative of this armed domestic conflict flick, or has otherwise bent over backwards in order to discourage audiences from perceiving too many real-life parallels or culture-war animosities.

Garland’s original idea had been “what if the George Floyd rioters and the January 6th insurrectionists grew into hardcore military armies and engaged in a serious shooting war?”

But then he and A24 apparently got cold feet and decided to muddy the waters in order to avoid lighting incendiary fuses in an election year.

But if you put aside Garland’s incongruous or vaguely described red herrings (the anti-government rebels defined as a Texas-California alliance, an “Antifa massacre”, a suppressed Florida rebellion) and boil out the snow, Civil War seems clear enough to me. You’d have to be in a deep denial pit not to grasp the basics.

The war is basically between (a) rural-minded, diversity-resistant whites…fatigue-wearing MAGA forces loyal to a journalist-despising, Steve Bannon-resembling, martial-law embracing authoritarian President vs. (b) a diversity army (POCs of varying shades with sprinklings of white progressives) that initially seems less heavily-armed and more guerilla-style until the last half-hour when it suddenly transforms into a major, fatigue-and-helmet-wearing military force that storms the White House.

I’ve actually spoken to two viewers who aren’t entirely persuaded that Nick Offerman‘s U.S. President, a blustery, God-invoking bullshitter who has thrown out the Constitution by granting himself a third term, is a Trumpian figure…they’re not? Nor are they entirely certain that the White House assaulters are the diverse anti-fascist “good guys”.

Trust me, Garland makes it quite clear who is who in this thing and yet these fellows are saying “wait, who do they represent again?”

HE is telling you straight and true to dismiss the comment thread smoke-blowers who are arguing that the real-world parallels are too vaguely contoured to mean much. But they do amount to what I’ve stated here…really. Sasha Stone shares this perception.

Yes, Garland has certainly over-muddied the narrative, but at least he’s reversed the ambiguity in one instance — the instantly iconic Jesse Plemons interrogation scene.

Please understand that Civil War doesn’t really kick in until Plemons arrives, but after that point it’s a much more vigorous and accelerated deal with an ending that, as I mentioned Tuesday morning, made me feel so ecstatic I almost experienced a Zero Dark Thirty-ish boner.

I need to see this again ASAP. I’ll probably catch a commercial screening tonight.