Captain America: Civil War Review

capamericacivilwar

Captain America: Civil War? More like Avengers 3 if you ask me. This 2016 flick features virtually every hero from the Marvel cinematic universe, with the only notable omissions being Hulk and Thor. Based on recent Ragnarok photos I have seen, the thunder god has taken time off to get a haircut. Meanwhile Bruce Banner is leading the life of a “lonely man” after ditching Black Widow (insert sad piano tune here.) Instead of battling evil, this time round the Avengers have assembled to brawl amongst them selves. Superheroes squaring off against each other is all the rage these days. Thankfully the billed Civil War is much more satisfying to watch that the underwhelming tussle between DCs two most famous cape wearers.

OVERVIEW

When an Avengers mission in Africa ends with the accidental loss of civilian lives the Sokovia Accords are established. Said accords decree that the Avengers will have to limit their future activities to UN sanctioned assignments. The new law causes the team to fragment into two factions, headed by Captain America and Iron Man respectively. Tony Stark is guilt tripped by a bereaved mother into supporting the new measures whilst Steve Rogers opposes the treaty. Cap isn’t playing ball because the authorities are attempting to assassinate his chum Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier) for crimes he unwillingly committed whilst under the indoctrination of Hydra. The Nazis brainwashed Barnes into hating carriages so much that uttering the line “freight car” turns him into a mindless killer.

How do our heroic role models resolve the impasse? Reach a compromise through diplomacy perhaps? Nah, screw that. Let’s have a battle royale at the airport instead! The ensuing costumed punch-up features the likes of Falcon, War Machine, Hawkeye and a couple of new faces. First up is Wakandan monarch Black Panther who seeks vengeance against Barnes (the man he believes is responsible for killing his dad.) The other debutant is Spider-Man, who swings into a Marvel movie because Fox have accepted they are incapable of making a decent wall crawler film. Based on this showing I am excited for Homecoming. Tom Holland is perfect in the role of geek that can rattle off quips under a mask. His aunt is also sexier than the old ditty I recall from the comics.

VERDICT

My rating for Captain America: Civil War is five stars. If Internet speculation is to be believed that score qualifies me for a cheque from Disney. You know, the fabled bribe critics get for bashing DC movies and praising anything Marvel. The reality however is that Marvel Studios deserve all the plaudits they are getting. Civil War was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. The action was spectacular and thanks to the 147-minute running time the writers had ample time to delve into the motivations of each character. As events unfold audiences are shown why Stark, who has previously had contempt for the military, supports the Sokovia Accords and the reasons that compelled patriotic Steve Rogers to go rogue.

Usually when a movie has a big cast someone gets lost in the shuffle, but I must say that Civil War did an admirable job of sharing out the screen time. Even comic relief Ant-Man is given the opportunity to make a “big” impression. Civil War also fared better than most Marvel movies in the villain department. Helmut Zemo may not possess superpowers or the charisma of Loki, but I was still impressed by the manner in which he engineers the Avengers fallout. Unlike Lex Luthor in Batman vs Superman, Zemo is successful in bringing Earth’s mightiest heroes to their knees through infighting… and he did so without the assistance of Jolly Ranchers or jars filled with urine. No, I am not “taking the piss” that really did happen in Dawn of Justice. Urgh. No wonder that screenplay got a Razzie.

35 thoughts on “Captain America: Civil War Review

  1. I thought this movie was fantastic. Character motivations made sense and the story moved along without feeling like it was just trying to set up the next movie. (Maybe Black Panther skirted those lines a bit.)

    As you mentioned, this movie fared much better than BvS. I think a lot of it had to do with Marvel really taking the time to set up their universe and establish characters. This movie was the pay off to that hard work. Whereas BvS really was just trying to shoehorn in more characters as a shortcut to catch up in terms of world-building. Plus jars of piss.

    • Civil War and Batman vs Superman share a lot of ideas, but the Marvel film executed them better. Like you say, Marvel has the advantage of having characters you are invested in because prior films have laid down the groundwork. The action was far more impressive in Civil War too.

      I didn’t dislike Dawn of Justice, like some people did, but I didn’t care for Lex. He has caused me to go off preach tea.

    • Elements of Zemo’s plan were clever and given his back story I can sympathize why he would be driven to topple the Avengers. I agree that the scheme depended on too many coincidences, but that comes with the comic book territory. Take Superman for example. What are the odds that an alien from another world would exactly resemble human beings?

      • There’s a big difference, though. The example you gave isn’t the plot, it’s the premise. A premise sets rules, and then the plot has to follow them. It’s a lot more forgivable for the premise to be ridiculous than the plot.

      • I think you’re right Fullmetal Narcissist. A far-fetched premise sets the stage, but once the story gets underway it’s easily forgotten. A far-fetched plot on the other hand is more difficult to ignore because it’s a recurring aspect of the narrative.

  2. Such a good movie. I was not overwhelmed with Age of Ultron (though I still have to give props for the dialogue. It’s always fantastic), but Civil War was amazing. It takes a balance to make sure everyone receives equal time, and Marvel has always been good with that, too.

    • I still need to watch Age of Ultron, Guardians of the Galaxy, Winter Soldier and Ant-Man to be up to date with the Marvel movies. From what I understand Guardians is the best one from that quartet. I am keen to check out Ant-Man too cos the character amused me in Civil War.

      Yes, it is nice when everyone in the cast is given a moment to shine. That’s in contrast to the X-Men flicks which keep increasing the size of the team, but only ever focus on a few key characters.

      • I need to watch Ant-Man, too. Agreed on how amusing he was in Civil War lol. Guardians is up there with Avengers for my favorite Marvel movie. I truly can’t decide which one I love better. When I initially saw the trailer, all I could think was, “Marvel has so much money they can pretty much do whatever the hell they want like having a walking tree and a talking raccoon,” and they pretty much took D characters most people had never heard of and made a phenomenal movie. There’s also the soundtrack, which is a little bit before my time, but it just fits so perfectly.

      • You watched Civil War before Winter Soldier??? You crazy, man! That one is pretty much universally regarded as the best Cap film. And CW would probably make a bit more sense. Ant-man was fun if you didn’t go in with high expectations. But Guardians is a pretty good movie. I thought it was as good as Star Wars movie as we’d ever get again before they started the engines churning up in that universe again.

    • The airport in question was abandoned. Not that regular security could have done much to stop the Avengers anyway. My supermarket’s security guards cannot prevent people from stealing the store’s trolleys, much less oppose super humans.

  3. I agree with your assessment that this was more akin to another Avengers film than a separate Captain America film, and while I agree that they handled the large cast well, I think there is still something to be said letting a superhero have their own story on occasion, in contrast with this heavily networked style of storytelling that Marvel seems to be favoring.

    It was a fun ride, and the scenes worked, but on the whole the story felt overly fragmented and disjointed. The characters’ journeys felt rushed, and the overall pattern of infighting seems a little too familiar within the Marvel universe. It’s not a bad story pattern, but I think they’re relying on it a bit too often.

    • Seeing so many heroes onscreen is fun, but I do agree that the networked style can spoil the stand alone films. Some of the Marvel movies were weaker because they shoe horned cameos or tried to use the story to setup upcoming sequels. DC is especially bad with that sort of thing. Batman vs Superman for example didn’t need to reference so many Justice League characters.

      • Agreed. I’m also struck by how consistent Marvel is these days. They’re making good films, but the general patterns feel overly similar to me.

  4. I had never seen the Avengers before Civil War, but I did see Man of Steel (didn’t care for it) before BvS. CW was just so much better even though I didn’t know who a bunch of the characters were.

    • I managed to follow the story of this movie, even if I haven’t watched some of the Marvel phase two films. If I hadn’t seen Avengers I would have totally been confused by the plot though. Glad you enjoy Civil War regardless.

  5. Pingback: Ghibli Heroines tag! (Original)  | meltingpotsandothercalamities
  6. I’ve wanted to watch this for a while, it seems as if everybody completely loved this film. I heard that Black Panther was one of the most impressive superheroes in the film.

    • Black Panther and Spider-Man both impressed, so I expect their solo movies to do well. Panther can kick arse in a fight and in he comes across as a more sensible leader than either Rogers or Stark.

  7. I will have to add it to my list…. when I was a kid both He-Man & Captain America were my favorites.
    Great review. Thank you so much for sharing!. Love & best wishes to you, Judge ⭐

    • Thank you for the kind words. I owned tons of He-Man toys back when I was little. Maybe your fondness for the character is what motivated you to cover all these myths that star muscular men 🙂

  8. Awesome! I loved the movie because it took the cinematic universe it had been building and created something that brought it together while continuing to move the story forward. I agree that everyone had that cool moment in the film, with Ant-Man definitely being a huge example.

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