So, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 6 months, Captain America:Civil War is the third installment in the Captain America franchise, and the thirteen movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has produced more hits than misses in it’s 8 year run. The movie in itself has the difficult task of following up 2014’s excellent Captain America:The Winter Soldier, as well as being a better Avengers sequel than Age of Ultron, which I still liked, but admit that it was flawed. Is it worth seeing, well I kind of gave it away already, yes, it’s totally worth seeing, but you’re likely just killing time at work, so you might as well read the review anyway. Mild spoilers ahead, so be cautious. If you haven’t seen it yet, just stop reading now, it was really good, and come back here and read this later. It’ll still be here.
So, Civil War picks up in our present day, or roughly around the same time concurrently that Ant-Man was taking place, with Captain America and The Avengers (remember that arcade game?) tracking down former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent turned mercenary Brock Rumlow, now in full Crossbones gear to Africa, when things don’t go as planned.
Between that, and Tony Stark getting some information from Miriam Sharp about her son’s death during the Avengers battle with Ultron in Sokovia (which turns out to be as destructive as Superman’s fight with Zod was in Man of Steel) now Secretary of Defense “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt reprising his role from The Incredible Hulk) brings up the Sokovia Accords, documents that would force The Avengers to register as government agents not too dissimilar from the Superhero Registration Act in the comic book version. Only difference being that it seems that these documents just pertain to The Avengers it seems, and not all metahumans (to use DC’s phrase for super powered people) so Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and company are all excluded from having to worry about this apparently, though I really wish Marvel’s movie and tv sides would work together, since that’s how it was intended to be in the first place.
Iron Man and a handful of other Avengers agree to the accords, but Captain America can’t bring himself to sign the document, after the events of The Winter Soldier, he’s no longer as trusting of the government, let along being forced to work on their behalf. Also during this, it appears that Captain America’s old friend Bucky is back, and just blew up a UN meeting, which sends Iron Man and his crew after him, including Prince T’Challa of Wakanda, The Black Panther (played by Chadwick Boseman from 42) Captain America and The Falcon go off to find Bucky before Iron Man does, and here’s where the conflict truly starts to begin.
Now that we know what the movie’s about, how good is it? The movie has a fantastic script to work from Christopher Markus and Stephen Mcfeely (writers of the previous Captain America movies, as well as 2005’s The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe) There’s a lot that goes down in this movie, and a lot of characters, a lot of plot, and a lot of action, and the movie is super long too, but you’re invested as an audience member every step of the way. Not once during it’s entire 147 minute runtime did I look at my phone once to check the time.
The acting is fantastic all across the board as well, Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evan’s chemistry shines, as well as the whole cast just bounces and plays off each other so perfectly in this movie, we know going into this movie that they’re going to knock it out of the park, so that was never a question.
I do have to give major props though to Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland though, as The Black Panther, and Spider-Man respectively. I’ve never really known too much about The Black Panther, the most I’ve read of the character in the comics has been in the past year or so since I started reading the Marvel Universe in chronological order thanks to the Marvel Unlimited app (cheap plug, it’s fantastic) But from what I’ve read, he embodies the character perfectly.
And speaking of perfectly embodying a character, first we had Tobey Maguire, who was a fantastic Peter Parker, but not a great Spider-Man, then we had Andrew Garfield, perfect Spider-Man, (even had the right accent for Queens, where Peter is supposed to be from) but always seemed too cool, too hipster to be a right Parker. And now lastly we have Tom Holland (The Impossible) as the pitch perfect Peter Parker and Spider-Man. I guess third time’s the charm. He’s the youngest Spider-Man we’ve ever had, and I’m hoping that he sticks around a while so we can see that character’s evolution past high school (which filmmakers keep falling back on, even though that was only a snapshot in the character’s history) We also get a brief glimpse at Marisa Tomei’s youngest Aunt May ever, which I was suprisingly okay with. I mean, after thinking about it, how old are your aunts generally when you’re a teenager? It fits with today’s society, and she kind of reminds me of the aunt from Big Hero 6 in a way. You didn’t really expect them to fall back on the elderly frail aunt in 2016 did you? It’s different, but it works.
The visual effects and the action are all top notch as well. The Russo Brothers (Captain America:The Winter Soldier, the best episodes of Community) can direct epic action surprisingly well. The camera does get a bit shaky at times, which some of my friends I saw the movie with didn’t like, but it didn’t bother me.
And huge props as well to Paul Rudd for stealing the show as Scott Lang/Ant-Man once again, his interaction with Team Cap was fantastic. He’s not in the movie enough for my taste, but he makes do with what he has, and just kills it again. Really looking forward to 2018’s Ant-Man and The Wasp.
The huge downside of this movie, despite it’s best efforts, and best intentions is that it doesn’t really feel like a Civil War, the scale isn’t nearly as epic as it was in the comics, and to be fair it really couldn’t be, but to call it Civil War when it’s just amongst The Avengers is kind of just being dramatic for drama’s sake. Now it does take some key plot elements from the comic series, but being that certain characters aren’t included (for rights issues mainly) it really feels more like a Civil Skirmish at best, to borrow the term my friend used when describing the movie. In the comic books it was an epic battle that affected the entire Marvel Universe, here it affects…like 10 people…tops, it seems.
And also once again Marvel drops the ball on making a good villain, here we have Daniel Bruhl (Rush, Inglorious Basterds) playing Helmut Zemo, loosely based of the comic book version of the character, minus anything cool about that character from the comics. Here he’s just a guy, who’s motivations are essentially the same as Batman’s motivation to fight Superman in Batman V Superman, and he does a decent job with the character, but I’m still left wanting more.
Really though, overall, Captain America: Civil War is a total blast, my favorite movie of the year now, onto a list of favorites which is short so far for this time of year, with it just being 1. Captain America:Civil War, 2. Deadpool, and 3. Zootopia. Some minor flaws of course, but it’s a really great time at the theater. Oh, one last thing I will say if you haven’t watched them in a while, go back and rewatch Captain America:The Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, and Age of Ultron again just to refresh yourself, Winter Soldier especially, for one plot point which as soon as a particular date was mentioned, I knew where they were going with a thing. So till next time, be sure to keep it Reel.
4.5 out of 5 Stars