Spoiler Review: Captain America Civil War
*Spoilers Beyond this Point*
Civil War was a popular comic book series that featured a lot of the same ideas that are present in the finale to the Captain America trilogy, but ultimately the two only truly share the title. Captain America Civil War makes our heroes take accountability for the deaths that have occurred while the Avengers have saved the world. However, this thought process is opposed by Steve Rogers, who once again is played perfectly by Chris Evans, as he believes that the best hands to safe guard the world are ultimately their own. On the other side of the conversation is Tony Stark who is riddled with guilt over his failed creation along side the deaths that have occurred on his watch. Stark believes that giving in to the government will lessen the casualties and make them better then the villains that they fight. Ultimately, this puts the audience in a position where they feel for both sides making the movie that much more intriguing. The film isn't about some villain blowing up cities or plotting to destroy the world. It is about an internal struggle between these heroes that we have been invested in over the course of twelve films, that is the genius of the film and what makes it so strong.
Obviously there is more at stake in the film then the internal struggle between the team as Cap's old friend Bucky Barnes resurfaces. Bucky is a huge part in this film, and it finishes his arc just as much as it does for Cap. His struggle with dealing with the brainwashing from HYDRA as well as the lives he had taken under the control is clear, which Sebastian Stan portrays very well. At it's core, this film is based around friendship. At the center of that would be Cap and Bucky's friendship, but also Cap and Tony. Through out all the movies you have always gotten the sense that Tony had some resentment towards Cap but still ultimately respected him. All of that was tested in the film when it comes out that Bucky had actually been ordered to kill Tony's parents. After that point, Tony's perception of Cap had been completely altered as he felt lied to. He felt that this man that his father had built up was nothing but a lie. It was a heart breaking moment to see unfold and even more so as the viewers can still see both sides and understand the motivations of both characters.
The film also does a terrific job of introducing two new characters that'll be big players moving forward in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. First, we have T'Challa or better known as Black Panther. Chadwick Boseman plays the part with such authority that every time he is on screen you are completely enamored with his character. Surprisingly, considering how big of a film this is and with all the plots moving forward his arc is still something to get behind and truly empathize with. He is thrust into a position of power when he sees his father, and the ruler of his country of Wakanda which he had sworn to protect dies in front of him in the bombing. This sets him on a mission where he seeks revenge and he truly does not care who gets in his way. It is fun to see, and even more interesting to see that he is the one that sees who is pulling the Avengers strings in order to tear them apart. That brings me to the true villain, granted he isn't a physical threat he is absolutely a psychological threat. Helmut Zemo, played by Daniel Bruhl, seeks revenge against the Avengers as he had his entire family die in the events in Sokovia when they had defeated Ultron. It is another instance of the film doing a good job of showing how actions in previous movies have come back to haunt them. Zemo works behind the scenes in an attempt to tear down an empire, that empire being the Avengers. He believed that if he could turn Tony against Cap then in the end he had won. He was a strong villain, stronger then most recently within the MCU but he drew the short straw in terms of character development. It wouldn't surprise me to see more of him down the line, and turn into his comic book counterpart. The last new character that had been introduced would be that of Peter Parker. Tom Holland does a terrific job in the role and in the least amount of screen time he already solidifies himself as the best Spiderman to date. He hardly has an origin story but at one point he says, "When you have powers like mine, you cannot sit and do nothing. That's when people get hurt." That statement tells you everything you need to know about his character. It sums up what happened with Uncle Ben. You can even hear the pain in his voice as he tells Tony this. Past all of that, it was truly a treat to see him interact with all the other heroes. More so, he would not stop cracking jokes even in the middle of fights which is what we all expect to see from him.
The Russo Brothers out did themselves. Winter Soldier before this film was the best Marvel movie to date, which they also directed. Winter Soldier was more character driven and contained solely on the titular characters whereas Civil War has a much bigger scope. Civil War is told from the perspective of Captain America, but feels like an Avengers movie as it deals with more then just his journey. The Russos did realize that Cap has always worked better in an ensemble as part of his struggle comes from how he fits in with others as well as how he leads. That is why Civil War works so well as everything had a profound effect on him. However, in this film they did an outstanding job balancing a lot of different characters while also finishing the arc of Captain America's trilogy. It dealt with the themes of revenge and friendship in a beautiful way that is both tragic as well as incredibly relatable. The action scenes are incredibly well done and better then those that were in Winter Soldier, which is inevitably going to happen considering the scope of the fights, but the Russo Brothers did a great job capturing it all while still managing to make it seem realistic. Some scenes looked off due to the CGI but ultimately it all was very good. My only true complaint about the film as a whole is more of my issue with comic book movies. Every single comic book movie will always end with a fight. The structure of a comic book movie will always be the same in terms of the introduction of a threat, heroes fail, heroes fight. This is still the case in Civil War, but it will having a lasting effect due to how it caused a rift between the heroes.