Marvel has continued to do no wrong with their historic cinematic universe. Even when the company has reached with stories/characters like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant Man, things have went their way. Surely, a joint task force with some of their greatest heroes would be another home run, right? So perhaps it comes as no big surprise that, with bumps, Captain America: Civil War is another home run for Marvel and Disney.
Captain America: Civil War follows up the events of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron. The Avengers have went unchecked, causing immense damage and killing thousands upon thousands of civilians. The United Nations decide enough is enough, the Avengers must comply to a joint task force, or otherwise be listed as a criminal. This divides friends and allies, putting together a conflict that will forever damage the camaraderie these characters have built over the eight years of Marvel films. What we get is a close adaptation of Mark Millar’s famous Marvel collaboration, Civil War.
For all intensive purposes, Civil War is a great film. The action beats are excellent, with superheroes collaborating into epic brawls that we have never seen before. The Russo Brothers (Directors of this and The Winter Solder) put action sequences into a dirty, knuckle weighing brawl. Every punch feels hard, and every hero that smacks into the side of a truck, you feel their pain. If you’re going to the theaters for action alone, you will surely be blown away, especially by the OUTSTANDING airport sequence. The sequence, which will go down in cinematic history, is roughly 15 minutes of your childhood imagination gone wild. How they managed to choreograph something that immense is beyond critical thinking.
The film is littered with characters. However, The Russo Brothers, with a relatively tight script (from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely respectively), manage to give every character their nugget of time to shine. My initial worries were that people like Ant-Man or Hawkeye would get overshadowed, thankfully they don’t. Of course, new characters Black Panther and Spider-Man will be the talk of the town. Black Panther represents raw, physical emotion that we really haven’t seen from a character in this universe. His heart is always on his sleeve, and Chadwick Boseman absolutely excels as the African Prince. This is a serious, brooding character, and a relatively nice change of pace for the universe as a whole.
Tom Holland absolutely nails Peter Parker/Spider-Man. The first scene featuring the character was an automatic sell. His pre-pubescent voice, mixed with boyish charm help craft the loveable teenage vibe that the character has desperately craved. He manages to be heroic, silly and ridiculous fun. This is as pure as a Spider-Man as anyone will ever get, blowing away Andrew Garfield, and cementing himself at or above Tobey Maguire. For a lot people, Spider-Man will be worth the price of admission. In my viewing, the crowd was just as captivated as myself, often laughing, cheering and earning quite an applause. This character finally gets the adaptation he deserves.
That all being said, this is still Captain America’s film. The Marvel universe has always rode on the heart, charisma and determination of Steve Rogers. Chris Evans does his best efforts here, especially when tasked against Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark. Finally, Stark has underwent a bit of a transformation, and lost some of his Whedonisms. The character is still quippy, but there is plenty of emotional turmoil that RDJ explores. It greatly adds to the conflict that Cap and Iron Man share, which eventually and inevitably blows up in both of their faces.
Civil War isn’t without complaint. While the narrative is compelling, it isn’t as tight or as polished as The Winter Soldier. The film’s length can be felt at times (This is the longest Marvel film to date). Part of this reason really falls on the film’s villain, the chief complaint among the Marvel films. Baron Zemo, infamous comic book villain, is the man who pulls some of the strings. Unfortunately, a lot of what he does was more than likely destined to happen anyways, he only accelerated the process. The film’s conflict resides on the characters actions of previous movies, and didn’t need reinforcement from Zemo’s presence. Because of this, when Zemo appears on screen, there is a feeling of disconnect. He isn’t necessarily the worst villain they’ve done, but he still could’ve been done without.
As for the film’s ending, it feels like a large band-aid was placed over the film’s events. Something of this magnitude, happening to these characters, will cascade through the films. Unfortunately, the ending seems to side-step all this and throw out a bit of a, “just kidding.” That being said, most will be captivated by the film’s emotional, gut wrenching ending that ends with a climatic Captain America and Iron Man duel. This fight sequence borders that of Bane’s brawl with Batman in the sewers. This will surely justify the quick wrap up for most fans.
For comparison sake, The Winter Soldier is Raiders of the Lost Ark and Civil War is The Last Crusade (Indiana Jones reference, for those who live under a rock). The Winter Soldier has a better polish on it. Its narrative structure is more sound, crisp and lacking the fast food bloat Civil War carries. That being said, Captain America: Civil War is more bombastic, when it gets going, the level of entertainment reaches a level all comic book films dreamed of. For all intensive purposes, this is the best Avengers movie (and doesn’t share the calling card). Captain America: Civil War will more than likely go down as the most entertaining summer film, and for good reason.
FOUR out of FIVE