Captain America: Civil War
Anthony and Joe Russo's Captain America: Civil War is the most satisfying Marvel mash-up yet, managing to be the best Captain America film, while also dealing with conflicts, characters and action on the same scale as a full-blown Avengers film.
Captain America: Civil War is one of Marvel’s busiest films, yet it also has one of the best payoffs. Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) have managed to make the best solo Captain America film, while also making the most satisfying Avengers film. Civil War is an action-packed, character-pushing superhero showdown that’ll make you struggle picking a side.
Civil War is a film that’s been a long time coming. Finally, the events of previous Captain America, Iron Man and Avengers films are catching up to our heroes and the world wants someone to be held accountable.
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) still believes in The Avengers and believes very strongly that they should be the final call of justice, while Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), still obviously shaken up from Age of Ultron, believes that they need to be put in check.
Civil War is one of Marvel’s most unique films, because it pits Avengers against Avengers in a battle that doesn’t quite have a clear winner or loser. There isn’t a side that you should be rooting for more than the other, which makes the action more epic and the fallout that much more gut-wrenching.
But this isn’t another Avengers film, even though you wouldn’t be wrong if you called it Avengers 2.5. The central story of Civil War is still very much about Captain America. The film deals heavily with Steve’s relationship with The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) aka his best friend Bucky Barnes.
His search comes head-to-head with Stark and political interference that suggests Capt., Iron Man and the entire Avengers crew sit out worldwide conflict until called upon. It’s something that doesn’t sit well with Capt. and it’s made even worse once the mission becomes hunting Bucky and possibly killing him.
The rest of Civil War contains slight spoilers, so I’m just going to stop explaining the plot right here.
What I can continue to talk about is the characters and how well directors Anthony and Joe Russo infuse them into the larger story without ever overbearing the film or its story.
For starters, the new Spider-Man gets his day in the sun, with a young and energetic Tom Holland proving to be an annoying Peter Parker, but a fantastic web-slinger. The costume still doesn’t work for me, but I enjoyed watching him join the party and play with the rest of the Avengers.
I’m curious to see how well Holland manages to hold up on his own in Spider-Man: Homecoming, but at the very least I can say that his Spider-Man is a loud mouth that’s cocky, yet playful.
Also, Chadwick Boseman enters the Marvel cinematic universe as T’Challa aka Black Panther. Boseman’s time on the screen is both exciting and yet disappointing. He’s clearly the right pick for Blank Panther, but Civil War doesn’t exactly have enough room to fully introduce us to the character and his world. I’m excited to see more of him in his solo film, but I did feel like he got the shortest end of the stick when it came to introducing someone completely unknown to the universe in a way that has to be important, yet quick. The Russos do a fine enough job, but I feel that his scenes could’ve used a bit more detail.
The rest of the Avengers function as you’d expect them to in a full-on Avengers film, with each character given enough detail and importance to make their inclusion worthwhile. You don’t really find yourself missing Hulk or Thor too much, which is a blessing, because Civil War allows the focus to shift onto some of the smaller guys, such as Ant-Man and even Hawkeye.
Paul Rudd‘s chemistry with the rest of the team is great, despite this being his first rodeo in a team-based environment. His character mostly plays as the comedic relief, yet he’s also one of the most important players when it comes to the film’s well-shot airport runway scene.
This action sequence is equally as wowing as the group shot in The Avengers, hitting home the sheer awesomeness watching all of your favorite superheros both work together and battle it out, yet also reminding us of the importance of long-form storytelling.
Marvel has somehow managed to make all of it work. DC’s latest Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice isn’t nearly as bad as it’s claiming, but it suffers from a character standpoint, because they never had this amount of time to craft each and every single character so delicately.
Marvel has spent lots of time and money establishing and developing these characters so that we actually feel for them and enjoy watching them not only work alone, but come together. It’s not easy watching a friendship like Captain America and Iron Man’s go up in flames over a long-boiling dispute. This moment has been building and building, yet the cards have completely changed since when we first saw them meet up in The Avengers.
Tony Stark is now the shell shocked soldier trying to keep his team together and safe, while Steve Rogers is the outlaw trying to go against the grain. It’s taken film after film to get us to this point.
Some might be irritated with the lack of complete resolution in the film, but I found Civil War‘s climax to be more rewarding because of the fact that it wasn’t your typical cookie cutter ending. It leaves things in an interesting place and only further invests you into the MCU as a whole.
Hats off to Anthony and Joe Russo for managing to re-invent the Marvel universe this late in the game. Captain America: Civil War never forgets that it’s a Captain America film at heart, yet it still manages to act as an efficient mash-up that more than deserves the title Avengers 2.5. It’s long, yet it doesn’t feel long enough. It’s got slick action, great character development and a story that’ll tear you in two, depending on which characters you call your favorites.
Those of you that are claiming that superhero films are boring, tired or old will need to check out Captain America: Civil War, because it’s not just one of the best Marvel films in years — it’s also one of the best films of 2016.