Before you read this Civil War review rest assured that it will be entirely spoiler free. I’ll just be giving my thoughts on the movie as a whole, the characters and acting etc. I’ll also add that if you haven’t already seen ‘Captain America: Civil War’ to get the most out of it you’ll need to have seen ‘Avengers,’ ‘Captain America: The Winter Solider’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron.’ However, it’s not absolutely necessary to have seen them.
Is Civil War an Avengers movie or a true Captain America sequel?
It’s equal parts both, but that’s not a bad thing at all.
Captain America: Civil War isn’t a traditional superhero movie and I do think it’s important to keep that in mind going into it. There are nefarious forces at work, but none that will be beaten by punching them in the face. The threat to Captain America and the Avengers here is opposing ideals.
Cap, as he did in Winter Soldier, has serious issues with how the powers that be are trying to impose themselves. The government feels the Avengers need to be held to account and sanctioned for one too many operations that lead to innocent people dying. So, a document is written that’s supported by the United Nations to put the team under their command. Captain America refuses to sign the documents and events that follow see a small rift grow to a chasm.
There’s a great emotional core to Civil War, the heart of it being Steve’s need to help Bucky. This is a story about him doing what he feels is right, not only in in his stance against the government, but also for his friend. He’ll see his reputation burn to the ground before he gives up on Barnes.
On the other hand, Robert Downey Jr. pulls off a tortured Tony Stark incredibly well. We’ve already seen the weight of things hitting him in Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron, but here we see an added edge of sheer frustration, anger and downright fury from him. The legendary Stark ego is on show from quippy smart ass to utterly infuriating arrogance. The writing is such that it does a fine job of making you understand the viewpoint of the opposing sides here. There are times when I felt that both sides had totally valid points and having the viewer feel so conflicted is very clever story telling.
The film asks a very big question. Why do these people have the right to act of their own will and be free of the consequences when they make mistakes? After so many movies which see huge destruction is totally valid and really interesting to explore. It makes for a much more involving and thought provoking story than the comic that carried the Civil War name.
The rest of the ensemble cast are given their due without them causing the movie to get overcrowded. Wanda’s character is given plenty of time to show of how incredibly powerful (seriously, she is SUPER POWERFUL) yet inexperienced she is. It’s great to see her being given a good chuck of screen time. Her fledgling relationship with Vision is there and makes for some really nice quieter scenes. In turn Vision’s character gets explored just enough to add some nuance to him. It’ll be interesting to see where he and Wanda go from here. Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang/Ant-Man only appears for a short time, but he’s used wonderfully.
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther is another inspired piece of casting and I was captivated every second he’s on screen. He plays the part with a quiet intensity and humility that works so well for someone who has royal blood. He also kicks some serious ass. His fighting style is definitely befitting of the feline reference in his name. He’s a revelation and his story arc in the movie does a fine job of telling us who he is and establishing his origin story.
I’ll put my neck on the line and say it, this is the best onscreen Spider-Man yet. We get just enough time from him to establish the direction they’re taking and for him to have a handful of standout moments. He’s young, he’s smart, he talks smack when he’s fighting and he knows how to handle himself in a brawl.
Civil War lacks the slickness ofThe Winter Soldier and it suffers from bouts of predictability and a few leaps in logic. Overall though I loved it. It packs an emotional punch, but not at the expense of the great one liners and visual gags that you’ve come to love in Marvel films. Civil War also features the best fight scenes we’ve ever seen in a superhero movie. I really recommend checking out an IMAX screening purely for the airport battle alone. It’s a visual feast and up there with the best scenes so far in a Marvel Studios movie.
Civil War is another wonderfully fun, superbly written, emotional ride that goes places no other Marvel movie has. It ends in such a way that leaves you wondering where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is headed next. It’s a bit of a game changer!