Benjamin Wollmuth is a lover of literature who enjoys sharing his thoughts on everything from movies and video games to books and music.
Here we are. The start of phase 3. Avengers 2.5... er, I mean Captain America: Civil War. All jokes aside, I can understand why some consider this to be an Avengers film rather than a Captain America film. The massive cast––and the fact that it focuses on a lot more than just Cap––lends credence to that idea. However, I still look at Civil War as a Captain America film because it is a continuation of his inner conflict, which started in The Winter Soldier. Cap has always been a man who wants to do what is right. He believes that protecting Bucky is the right thing to do since Bucky had no control over his actions as a Hydra assassin. Others––more specifically, Tony––do not seem to see it in that way. The conflict of the film mostly centers around Cap's decisions and ideas. That's how I see it, at least. Yes, we also see a lot of what others believe, and we get a lot of focus on other characters, just like we would in an Avengers film. Therefore, I understand the argument. But that's not really what I want to talk about in this article. What I really want to talk about is why I think this film is so good––fantastic, in fact. Now, bear with me, because this is all my opinion, as reviews usually are. If you don't agree, don't start a civil war. Instead, start a conversation in the comments, and we can discuss our thoughts.
Handling the Cast
This film contains a large ensemble of characters, and the film could have failed tremendously because of it. However, the Russo Brothers, as well as Markus and McFeely, manage to give each character a well-deserved amount of screentime. The main focus is, of course, on Captain America. We see a lot from his POV, but that doesn't mean we don't see from anyone else's. That's the beauty behind this film: the writers and directors manage to make it really hard for us to decide whose side we are on. Each side has valid points. Each side has characters we love. Cap is fighting for friendship while Tony is fighting for justice, or at least what he sees as justice. We understand why each character is on the side they are on. We are even introduced to new characters, which could have easily made the film feel bloated if not handled properly. However, we are given the perfect amount of Spider-Man and Black Panther to get us excited about their respective films. In my opinion, they don't feel like they are there just to be there. This is a civil war, after all. We need more than just a few heroes fighting each other.
The Sokovia Accords
Some could look at this film and say that the government is flawed... and heck, they would be right. But I don't think that is a flaw in the writing. I think it was purposeful. Hell, we are supposed to side with the heroes, after all, and at the end of the film, it seems like all of the heroes are somewhat on the same page. Plus, the accords are pretty much thrown out the window in later films, and we can blame Thanos for that.
What I mean by a flawed government is this: they are kinda stupid. Look, I am not a political guy. I don't talk about politics and I sure as hell don't argue about politics. But that doesn't stop me from thinking about why this fictional government looks at who did die more than who could have died. If the Avengers didn't fight off the Chitauri in New York, Earth would have been consumed by Thanos. If Captain America and company didn't knock those helicarriers out of the sky, thousands of people would have died from Hydra's targeting system. The Avengers did what they had to in Sokovia to stop the whole world from blowing up. And I can almost assure you that the same amount of people––including Cap and possibly Wanda––would have died if Wanda hadn't launched Crossbones into the air. And if Crossbones would have escaped, who knows what he would have done. But they don't really acknowledge that.
Again, I don't think that is a flaw in the script. I think that is an intentional flaw used in order to prove Cap's point. Therefore, I think it was a brilliant idea.
If the writers and directors come out and say that it was a writing flaw, well... I will commend the flaw because it worked for me.
Finally, I want to talk about the villain, because they are usually a hit or a miss when it comes to Marvel. Helmut Zemo manages to be an opposing villain even though he doesn't fight a single Avenger. Instead, he manages to get the Avengers to fight each other.
Zemo has an understandable motivation, and in my mind, motivation makes or breaks a villain. He lost his family in Sokovia, and while I think Ultron is more to blame, I can understand his anger. He knows he lacks the skills to kill the Avengers himself, so he sets a goal to get the Avengers to kill themselves. While no one actually dies, the Avengers are split up in Infinity War, and I believe that's what allowed Thanos to win. If you look at it that way, Zemo helped Thanos eradicate half of all life in the universe.
We do know that Zemo was a soldier, so he can most likely fight pretty well. He is also pretty smart––a dumb guy would not have been able to pull such an elaborate plan off. Needless to say, I am excited to see him return in all his purple-hooded glory once Falcon and the Winter Soldier rolls around.
While there are––as with every movie––flaws, including some awkward-looking CGI, I still look at Civil War as one of my favorite MCU films. Not only does in include a cast of amazing characters that are all handled very well, but it also includes some of the best fight scenes in all of the MCU. The villain is memorable, the conflict is emotional, and the brutality is raw. The film could have ended happily with the Iron Man and Cap coming together to fight an army of super-soldiers... but that doesn't happen, and it's better off that way. The film also sets up so much of what would come in the rest of the Infinity Saga. I praise the third Captain America film to this day, and I will keep praising it for years to come.
Now, no film is perfect, and 10/10 does not mean perfect. To me, a 10/10 film is one that I could watch on repeat; a film that kept me engaged the whole way through; a film that includes characters I love and action I love; a film that plays with my emotions; a film that allows me to forget the flaws even exist. Therefore, I will be giving Captain America: Civil War a 10/10.
Check out my last Infinity Saga review!
- 'Ant-Man' - Infinity Saga Chronological Reviews
This is a review for Marvel's "Ant-Man," and contains spoilers for both the film and the MCU as a whole.
© 2020 Benjamin Wollmuth