Avengers: Civil War
Marvel has delivered solid superhero movies over the past eight years and has successfully expanded their universe to include more characters and pull in audiences. They have successfully done that again with Captain America: Civil War which serves as a strong follow up to both Captain America: Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. While the movie does have some flaws, the movie is able to successfully juggle a handful of characters while also delivering a cohesive and sometimes emotional story.
A year after the events of Age of Ultron, the United Nations is demanding accountability for the actions and the wreckage the Avengers have caused from the previous films. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is all on board for the Avengers operating on the government’s agenda, while Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) believes that the Avengers should be free to do as they please. After an inciting event involving Cap’s old buddy Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Cap goes rogue to protect his friend as he forms a team to help him while Tony Stark forms his own team to bring in Cap. It is friend vs friend as new and returning heroes join the battle while a mysterious enemy Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) begins his own shady agenda.
From the beginning, it is clear that this movie is Captain America’s story despite the multitude of other characters in this film. It is a personal journey he must face to protect his friend while also standing up for what he believes is right. Chris Evans is the heart and soul of the MCU and really delivers a strong performance for this character.
The relationship between Cap and Bucky is really what drives this movie. Cap is out there trying to protect his buddy while Bucky is left to deal with the fallout of his actions under Hydra’s control. They are another emotional center for this movie and really lends a good perspective to the friendship these two carry. It also proves for some humorous moments between these two and Anthony Mackie’s Falcon who had become Cap’s “best friend” in the previous movie.
Robert Downey Jr. delivers another great performance as Tony Stark/Iron Man. This time around, however, we see a more darker and pained Tony which provides a very interesting character arc for him. He is dealing with the fallout of Age of Ultron while also having problems of his own. It lends an emotional center for him and makes him easy to root for in this battle of ideologies.
Those arguments between Stark and Rogers are also really interesting. Seeing these two friends argue over what is best is compelling and both deliver good points that can sway audience’s opinions on who to root for. However, some of the arguments tend to repeat themselves and when you think about it afterwards, there are some really good points that happened in previous MCU films that both of them could have used, but didn’t, to elevate the argument. While that concept of accountability is brought up initially in the film, it is fully explored and is surprisingly forgotten by the films end.
Returning characters include Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine and Ant-Man. While all of these familiar characters did great in the movie, it is Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) that really stands out. His fanboying/girling nature over meeting the rest of the Avengers plus his small comments make him hilarious and a great part of the movie. The other characters fare well, but it does seem like Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye was shoehorned into this movie to make equal teams for Captain America and Iron Man.
There are some new additions to the MCU, one of which being Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther. I really liked Black Panther. He has a real motivation to be in the fight and he delivers a very bad-ass performance. His costume looks amazing and his emotional arc in the film satisfies the need for an origin story on his character. His introduction to this universe is successful and makes me excited for the Black Panther solo film in 2018.
The biggest new addition is Spiderman and Tom Holland absolutely nails the character. He blends the nerdy side of Peter Parker from Tobey Maguire, while also being the quippy fanboy of Andrew Garfield. He is hilarious and the most accurate version of Spiderman we have seen to date. However, he is only in the movie for a brief time which is good because when he is on screen he literally steals the show. His introduction is also very forced in this film and makes you question what his purpose is other than to have “Spiderman” in the film. Nonetheless, I am excited to see his solo film!
The best part of this movie is easily the airport fight scene. I will not spoil it for you, but I will say that all of those superheroes fighting and clashing together made for one spectacular seventeen minute fight sequence that is easily my favorite superhero fight of all time.
In terms of Bruhl’s character Helmut Zemo, he is the man behind the scenes sort of bringing the Avengers into conflict. He is an interesting villain, one without superpowers or some same insane plot to rule the world. He is simply a man with an agenda to tear the Avengers apart which is a refreshing change of pace in terms of MCU villains. However, he is not really necessary to be brought into this movie. If he were gone, you feel as if the Avengers would have gotten to each location on their own.
The third act of this movie can be hit or miss for some people, for me I liked it but I felt that some of the motivations there reminded me too much of Batman v Superman. That’s not to say the motivations are way more clear and better, I just needed a little something more. Another thing about this movie that really bothers me is the resolution of this movie. I kind of expected some big fallout for the actions of these characters, but I did not get that. There is no Winter Soldier level twist here which is kind of a disappointment in a movie called “Civil War”. That’s not to say there is not consequences, I was just expecting something to the level of what the Russo Brothers delivered last time.
Captain America: Civil War is the definitive MCU movie if not one of the best comic book movies ever. It smartly balances characters giving each their moment to shine. The story is compelling and emotional and you can really feel it being with these characters for eight years. Spiderman and the airport scene are the standouts of the movie. The movie primarily focuses on Captain America, which is fine but you also want to see more of the Sokovia Accords. Zemo is good but unnecessary. Overall, the Russo Brothers have delivered yet again and it makes me even more excited for the coming MCU movies to come.