Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo.
Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson.
Captain America: Civil War devours every moment of its 147 minute run time, escalating the Marvel Cinematic Universe to speculative new heights. In a departure from typical genre conventions, the Russo brothers’ film demands retribution for the superheroes’ collateral damage, which has contributed to much death and destruction around the world.
Which side are you on?
The film ultimately probes the morally dynamic (obviously fictional) question of, should superheroes be regulated by the government? This comes as a result of another mission by the Avengers team, which has led to further untimely destruction. A new mission, which initiates the film’s plot, follows Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), battling against a terrorist group in Lagos. However, their mission goes very wrong and it’s another disaster added to their catalogue of chaos, following on from what happened in Sovakia, in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
As a result, the government decide that the only way to prevent further mayhem is legislate regulation by the UN over the Avengers. In the eyes of the law, anyone who does not comply with the new legislation is essentially a criminal. Captain America resists the sanctioning, whilst Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) believes it is for the greater good of humanity. So, the whole Avengers team become divided, leading to a full-scale civil war between the once united heroes.
Captain America: Civil War is the most enthralling Marvel film I have personally seen, and it might just be one of the best superhero films to date. Firstly, what particularly stands out is how the film maintains the overall continuity of the MCU. Despite the assemble cast, it still remains a Captain America film at its core, as it follows on from the events involving The Winter Soldier/Bucky (Sebastian Stan) in the previous film. Civil War balances this continuity with the clear acknowledgement of what has happened in the previous Avengers film.
Hulk and Thor’s absence is even touched on but in reality, their exclusion from the film was probably because of how enormous the cast would have been. And also, the fight would have been over pretty quickly with a god and a bad-tempered green monster on either side. So, it was a good call from Marvel to leave them out of the film. Fundamentally, Captain America: Civil War serves as both a follow-up to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Where the film prospers the most, is with its dynamic cast. All the characters have their own goals (to an extent), embodied with distinct personalities and moral stances. So, we have Captain America who believes in the Avengers’ independence and seeks to both protect and interrogate The Winter Soldier. Iron Man is stricken with guilt over all the destruction they have caused and believes the UN’s authority over the Avengers is justifiable.
Also,Vision (Paul Bettany) tries to assimilate himself into human life, whilst we have Scarlet Witch struggling with the weight of her own powers. And also we get the introduction of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who is seeking vengeance. However, some of the characters including Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) seem to be there just to make up the extra bodies. Despite this though, the film still manages to give every superhero their moment in the spotlight.
The film has so many joyously entertaining and thrilling moments. The actions scenes and special effects are spectacular as one can expect, but the introduction of the new characters, and how they all seamlessly fit together is one of the film’s biggest strengths. Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of Black Panther particularly stands out and it presents a new type of superhero within a specific context we have not seen before. He marks the first African-born superhero to grace the screen, which corresponds nicely with the character’s status as the first black superhero in mainstream comics.
Captain America: Civil War also entertains the reboot of Spider-Man, this time played by Tom Holland. Being one of the most popular characters in Marvel, it is a general consensus among fans that so far the web-slinger’s on-screen portrayals have not done the character justice. In Holland’s relatively short time in the film, he captures the essence of Spider-Man brilliantly. This is mainly due to the fact that new Spidey actually looks like a kid, faithfully complying to the comics. One of the ways in which Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield floundered was that they were far too old to be playing a teenager. It just was not believable at all. Even though they looked younger than they were, it was fairly obvious they were both pushing 30.
Heroes take centre stage
Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), who I did not know was going to even be in the film. So this was a pleasant surprise for me personally, but unsurprisingly, Rudd is great in all the scenes he appears in, further showcasing his comedic talents.
The film’s overall tone manages to balance comedy with stern action, and some moments of darkness. However, the clear sense of fun, charisma and energy is fundamentally at the heart of the film, which is well-entrenched in all of Marvel’s movies. Also, what I found interesting is the film’s lack of a powerful and sinister villain. Baron Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) is not your typical villain and he does not actually pose much of a physical threat to the rest of the characters. He is a cunning manipulator but not overtly threatening. It marks a departure from other Marvel films, which always included menacing villains.
So clearly, the focus is on the conflict between the superheroes themselves and a powerful villain would only distract from this. At the centre of the film, is the clash of ideologies, both which are justifiable, and can be emphasised with. But ultimately, the audience is left to decide where they stand.
The film’s duration is a bit on the clunky side, as it’s only half hour short of a three-hour film. The sheer intensity of the film and its length does become slightly tiresome, mainly towards the end, but by no means does this reduce any enjoyment. Where Captain America: Civil War ultimately succeeds is in its entertainment value. It is an enthralling and energetic and one of the most exciting films of the years. Captain America: Civil War simply cannot be missed.
Quoted: “Okay, anybody on our side hiding any shocking and fantastic abilities they’d like to disclose? I’m open to suggestions.”
Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Run Time: 147 min