This review is SPOILER FREE. Enjoy.
Captain America‘s films have become the turning points of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Winter Soldier completely changed the course of Phase Two, and made an impact that was arguably greater than that of either Avengers flick. Now, the Russo Brothers return to direct Captain America: Civil War, kicking off Phase Three and threatening to turn the universe on its head once more.
Civil War is a culmination of everything that’s happened in the MCU so far (minus Guardians of the Galaxy). The Avengers have done a lot of good for the world, but they’ve also caused a lot of collateral damage, and civilians have died in the process. Naturally people are scared. So world leaders have come together to form legislation that would provide oversight, and it splits the team into factions. Meanwhile, a new rogue has entered the fray, and he provides the perfect catalyst to make the two sides go to all out war with one another.
The key to a movie of this magnitude is balance. When you have this many characters and plot threads in play, things can easily get lost in the shuffle and the storytelling can become messy. Luckily, the Russo Brothers do a superb job of weaving everything together. The story flows beautifully, like a river on a sunny spring morn. It makes sense why everything is happening the way it is, and not once does it come off as jarring or disjointed. Plus each character gets the attention that he or she warrants, so put any fears about that to bed.
“The story flows beautifully, like a river on a sunny spring morn.”
Just like the comic series it’s based on, there’s actual weight to this movie; it’s not just a two-and-a-half hour punchfest. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have penned another outstanding script, one that creates internal conflict in the viewer. Both sides of the battle have valid arguments, so audience members should never be fully for one team. They should be torn; they should walk out of the theater debating philosophy and which character was “more right.” Similar to The Winter Solider, Captain America: Civil War is forcing people to decide: how much freedom are they willing to give up for security?
To top off this jam-packed summer blockbuster, the filmmakers managed to introduce a couple of new faces. More impressively, they introduce them while blending them seamlessly into the plot, once again maintaining that precious balance. Black Panther‘s a great addition to the Marvel Universe, and Chadwick Boseman is just another example of Marvel’s uncanny ability to cast superheroes. His solo adventure will absolutely be one of the most anticipated movies of 2018. And then there’s Spider-Man…
Tom Holland is the best on-screen Spider-Man to date. The hype is real, but he deserves to be seen in action, so the less said about him the better. Suffice it to say that he’s good enough to make a grown man cry tears of joy. [Author’s note: This point can’t be disputed, because I welled up a little. Don’t you dare judge me. His portrayal transported me, and all of a sudden I was 12 years old again reading comics in my parent’s basement.]
“Tom Holland is the best on-screen Spider-Man to date.”
As a final point of praise, a huge shout-out needs to be given to the Russo Brothers, the stunt coordinators, and anyone else that orchestrated the action sequences. These scenes are so stunning and intense without ever feeling old hat or repetitive. The airport scene in particular is worth mentioning, as it’s literally everything that a comic book fan has ever wanted to see on film.
Now if there is a weak spot to this picture, it’s the villain (unsurprisingly). Zemo is yet another generic bad guy with generic motivations, which seems to have become Marvel’s standard. But, that being said, he’s not as bland of a baddie as Malekith or the “Mandarin” were. There is at least some gravitas to his character, and he doesn’t detract from the story at all. Ultimately, he played the role that he needed to play in a story of this scope, and Daniel Brül did a fine job acting with the material he was given.
“It’s literally everything that a comic book fan has ever wanted to see on film.”
Captain America: Civil War is exactly what we as fans have come to expect from Marvel Studios, and more. It’s action packed, it’s witty and heartfelt, it’s intelligent, and it’s just a damn good time at the movies. There’s nothing else that can be said about it that wouldn’t be better seen in an actual theater.
Thank you Marvel. Thank you for making that awkward 12 year old boy reading in his parent’s basement very happy.
Captain America: Civil War opens in the U.S. this Friday, May 6th.