Captain America Civil War Review

Updated on May 7, 2016

What starts as a simple mission for the new team of Avengers quickly turns into a catastrophe that sparks the UN to act. They present the team with an accord that would place overseers in charge of them. So starts the latest movie from Marvel. Based on the trailers, it seemed like Civil War was going to be more Avengers 2.5 than Captain America 3, but that isn’t the case. Despite the large number of players in this film, the story stays centered on Captain America, his actions, and his internal struggle to convince himself those actions are the correct ones.

Chris Evans continues to be great as Cap. It’s easy to dismiss Steve Rogers as boring or unemotional, but Chris Evans understands neither of these things are true. His subtle facial ticks and occasionally hesitant delivery shows this is Captain America at his least certain. It’s interesting to note that of all the characters, the one who seems to question his chosen path the most is Cap himself.

That doesn’t mean the entire movie is a philosophical discussion though. While there is a great debate between various members of the Avengers toward the start of the film, the majority of the time is split between tense action sequences and world building. And Civil War features some of the best fights in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it might be a disappointment to not have Thor or Hulk involved, their absence keeps the teams balanced. Team Captain America includes Bucky, Falcon, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Sharon Carter, and Ant Man while Team Iron Man has War Machine, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Black Widow, and Vision.

Unlike the fights in Age of Ultron, which at times felt like a mess that was trying to do too much, the big showdown in Civil War manages to remain focused despite the large cast it is juggling. The standouts happen to be the two new characters. Tom Holland as Spider-Man is endearing and the best onscreen Spider-Man I’ve ever seen. Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther is a fascinating character and a great addition to the MCU. While his backstory is still a mystery, his motivations are clear and sympathetic. I went into the movie only being vaguely familiar with the character,but I left more excited for his standalone film than any of the other upcoming movies.

Amongst all the inter-Avengers fighting, it can be easy to miss who the real bad guy is, and that is exactly the point. Baron Zemo has an agenda of his own that remains a mystery for the majority of the film. But unfortunately, his character doesn’t get fleshed-out making him the next in a long list of forgettable Marvel villains. In this case it is forgivable considering the main point of the film was the Avengers fighting each other and not Captain America fighting another Hydra guy. However, it is a bit worrisome that the MCU has yet to come up with another villain anywhere near as memorable as Loki.

But what the movie might lack in an interesting villain, it makes up with the continued friendship between Steve Rogers and Bucky. They make a great team and seeing them fight in sync with one another not only shows the depth of their friendship but also functions as a great way to imply Cap’s shield may be going to Bucky someday.

Civil War is a fun, interesting super hero film that does a great job balancing its large cast. Unlike in the comics, which sees Iron Man become more of a villain as events unfold, a strong case can be made for both sides of the conflict throughout the entire film. But while neither side took it as far as they did in the comics, their inter-group fighting still caused a lot of damage. Both sides contributed to the total destruction of an airport, which means thousands of people are now stranded far from home. Considering everything that happened, it feels strange to end the movie without addressing this destruction was kind of the whole point behind the UN wanting to install oversight to begin with.

Despite a few minor hiccups, Civil War remains a powerhouse superhero film that does more than just give us cool set pieces, but also asks its characters and the audience just what role should super heroes play in society. The movie leaves the question unanswered, but provides evidence for both sides: ensuring the debate will continue into future years. Whether that debate will continue in future movies or only exist on Twitter remains to be seen. One thing that is clear, is this movie provides plenty of stunning visuals to gush over and plot points to talk about.

4.5/5

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