On the heels of much hype and strong marketing from Disney’s Marvel Studios, Captain America: Civil War proved to be a strong and deeply enjoyable chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The two and half hour epic will likely not go down as a game changer in its genre.
In this installment, we find our heroes and their intrepid leader, Captain America (Chris Evans), faced with the very real consequences of the destruction that ensued during the battles of not just Avengers: Age of Ultron, but the entire arc of the MCU. The Avengers and their associates may have always been working towards the greater good, but the conflicts they engage in have proven to affect the lives of the civilians around them in profound ways. We saw some examination of these types of human consequences in Age of Ultron; Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quick Silver (Aaron Taylor Johnson) had their lives forever changed by the collateral damage brought by Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) to their home. But Civil War takes this concept and runs with it so much further. The team, minus the missing (but not altogether missed) Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), are faced with the prospect of government regulation in the form of U.N. oversight. The world’s governments have come together to demand that the Avengers seek approval for their actions prior to going out and busting up bad guys. In fact, it feels very much that in the MCU, the U.N. would prefer to use the Avengers as a weapon at their disposal rather than recognizing the humanity in these greater than human heroes, causing much division within the team. And, as we all know from the title, trailers and other marketing, this division becomes the focal point of Civil War’s plot.
Since this is a spoiler-free review, I won’t be going too much further on specific plot points; this movie has far too many twists and gems worth seeing with fresh eyes. In fact, even the trailers for Civil War have, surprisingly, kept most of the major plot twists, best jokes, and most epic scenes well hidden for audiences to enjoy as they go out to the movies. This was well worth the effort as, even after re-watching the Civil War trailers an embarrassing number of times in anticipation for the full movie, the film still feels unexpected and fresh.
Some credit for this has to go to the addition of Spider-Man. Tom Holland’s take on the Peter Parker character lives up to the claims that he may be the best Peter Parker we’ve seen from any actor or studio thus far. His youthfulness and exuberance feels authentic and his dialogue and one-liners feel as though they could have been ripped directly from the cells of comic books. Likewise, the appearance of Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man opened the door for some side-splitting laughs and even a little geeking out (something I think we can all relate to).
But the most compelling character to make their first appearance in a Captain America movie, and indeed their first appearance in the MCU, had to be T’Challa, the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely do an incredible job of creating an instant and deep emotional connection with the character while leaving plenty of room for Black Panther’s upcoming stand-alone movie to explore the origins of this new, mysterious hero. Audiences will undoubtedly be left looking forward to that film, even if they aren’t already familiar with the long-standing comic book character. Despite Ant-Man and Spider-Man bringing much levity to the film, the seriousness of Black Panther balances this out, a theme easily applied to the film at large.
Though our team finds themselves in darker spirits than we usually see them in, Civil War does much to intermix that severity with comedy. This film even does a fantastic job at working hard-hitting one-liners into tense battles in ways that delight without distracting. In fact, Civil War may do this better than many of the previous Marvel movies. However, for all of it’s laughs and moments meant to delight and thrill fans, Captain America: Civil War is, at its core, an examination of vengeance and the consequences of our desire to seek retribution in the face of tragedy.
While Civil War may not go down in film history as a movie that changed the face of the super-hero genre, it is more than worth seeing come opening weekend. There’s no doubt audiences will be left talking about the highlights and quoting the most memorable lines for months to come. That is, until the next Marvel blockbuster.
Captain America: Civil War:[usr 5]
About Captain America: Civil War
Synopsis: Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Daniel Bruhl, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, John Kani, John Slattery, Hope Davis, Alfre Woodard
Runtime: 146 min