Based on the trailer, many people—me included—assumed Alex Garland’s new film Civil War would go full Rachel Maddow and project liberals’ direst fears about Donald Trump’s second term onto the silver screen. Something like: Jan. 6, Part II: When Deplorables Attack. That might be preferable to what Garland has cooked up instead—a visually gripping but strangely weightless antiwar allegory. Civil War seemingly aims to scare Americans straight by showing them that their intense partisanship and extremism—or that of their compatriots—will lead to death squads and mass graves in the suburbs and bloody tank battles in the streets of Washington. 

But while there are certainly cracks in the American project, there is little evidence that we are on the cusp of a second civil war. Much of the insurgent energy that fueled politics around the Trump era has dissipated, and the general mood now is not one of bloody insurrection, but apathy and withdrawal. Sure, fiery rhetorical squabbles—recently, over the Gaza war—abound. But there has been no significant rise in actual political violence, just the usual interpersonal and lone-wolf kind. And beyond the panicky social media bubble, the general response to the upcoming election—for better or worse—has been a collective yawn. 

Yet that’s not a story that would fill seats in an IMAX.  

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