I was very fortunate enough to attend an early screening of Captain America: Civil War. I arrived fours early, where there was already a small line forming up and me and my brother were waited for the next couple of hours. The more we waited the more we engaged in conversation with fans and the more excited I got. I can personally say that this film is one of the best superhero films, despite their being so much of them. Captain America: Civil War offers great tension, wonderful new (and old) characters, and whimsical humor.
Give credit to Anthony and Joe Russo who have managed to create a perfect blend of action, humor, and conflict within the characters. Despite there being so many other characters, so much so that it could be called ‘Avengers 2.5’, each character is utilized well and is given a good amount of screen time, while still making the film focused on Captain America. Each character was there for a purpose and none were wasted. No scenes were ever wasted as everything about the film felt balanced and it flowed well; nothing felt forced.
The Russo Brothers are massive comic book fans, but they’re also filmmakers and you can see that they certainly payed attention to the source material. Even with the changes, you still feel and get an authentic depiction of the Civil War story despite the differences. What they could’ve done is make Team Cap the protagonist and Team Iron Man the antagonists, but it isn’t black and white. They explore this gray area in which both sides are in the right and wrong and there will be moments where you will agree with Cap and other moments where you’ll agree with Iron Man.
Captain America has stayed true to his values since his first film, but you still see him evolve in the MCU, while still seeing him be who he’s always been, a man fighting for what’s right. In this film you see him go to the ends of the Earth to protect his best friend and uncover a plot, despite the consequences. Iron Man, from his first film, has had a big character arc in the MCU and he has evolved to this man that needs to have accountability for his actions. You see a broken man who realizes that they need people to trust them, to know what they’re doing is right, despite everything that has gone wrong.
The introduction of Spider-Man (my favorite Marvel hero) and Black Panther was nothing short of amazing. You understand why both characters are on Iron Man’s side, but what really matters is how they were portrayed. The scenes with Spidey left me in awe and laughing hysterically. The one thing about him in the comics is that he doesn’t shut up and he certainly has a lot to say in this film. However, the costume does look a bit CGI heavy, but when you see the film it might be made clear on why it looks that way. Black Panther was another wonderful addition to the MCU, where we get this character straight out of the comics; from the accent to the action, Black Panther shows us a true warrior of Wakanda. The way he moves, his ferocity in a fight, his mannerisms, they all come together to give us a Black Panther we will all love; with a great character arc as well.
One thing I didn’t expect to like so much is the companionship of Falcon and Winter Soldier/Bucky. Both are Steve’s best friends, but although they may seem different, they both are more alike than one would assume. There are wonderful moments between the characters, fun action packed scenes and hysterical moments that you wouldn’t expect. Falcon is back and with new accessories. Anthony Mackie does what he always does, making people laugh and this film is no exception. Now the character of Bucky is being developed better in this film and there is one scene where you get to see his pain, when he was the Winter Soldier that is a loud, but subtle scene that works.
One thing I certainly appreciated are hints of Scarlet Witch and Vision becoming a thing. Vision was great, he’s still learning about our world and he knows what is needed for the greater good. Now the same could be said to Scarlet Witch who was also wonderful but her character arc in the film and drives the movie forward.
The super spies, Black Widow and Hawkeye are back and you get exactly what you expect, great hand to hand combat. Black Widow chose Iron Man and with good reason, but she certainly fits into that gray area, where her character always excels in. Hawkeye is back and you guessed it, he’s still kickass. There is a great moment with him and Tony, in an emotional scene, building up tension.
Iron Man’s best friend, Rhodey (War Machine) is back and he is in full support of Tony’s plan. The character stays consistent, but there is one scene with him that changes everything and drives Tony and the film forward. A nice character that was shown was Ant-Man who was both hysterical and fun. He gets a big moment to shine in this film and it doesn’t go to waste.
The antagonist of the film, which has been mentioned in interviews, is Helmut Zemo. They certainly taken some liberties with the character from the comics, but there is something interesting about him. He is smart, cunning, and charming, but he is a man with a plan and his plans falls in line with the Avengers. Some may or may not consider him to be a generic villain, but I will defend him and say that he reminds me of Alexander Pierce from The Winter Soldier. He is calculating and his motive makes perfect sense, you are able to understand why he does what he does. What’s more fascinating is how he does it; I actually consider Zemo to be a worthy antagonist for the film. However, one could even say that the true antagonist are the heroes themselves. Deep down, I feel that this is a movie about friendship and how far you will go for your friend who are like family; as well as being about sacrifice.
The one scene everyone is talking about it the airport scene and it may very well be the best action scene in the MCU. There was humor, because it wouldn’t be a Marvel movie without it. There were stakes, we honestly didn’t know what would happen to some of the characters on whether they would make it or not. And finally, there was tension as our heroes finally confront one another in an amazing, choreographed brawl. The amazing thing about this movie is that you can take out that big action scene and it’ll still be a great movie! It just adds more to the story and the characters.
Now as a superhero film I loved it, but as a film in general there were some minor flaws. One of the motivations for one of the heroes was never really made clear and another hero was sidelined far too often. There were about two plot holes that I found and the true ending felt too quick of a resolution. I’ll explain more in a spoiler review, but those minor flaws, still did not take me out of the movie and will certainly see it again when it hits theaters.
This film certainly delivers on the tension building up to war and the character emotions. We have had a dozen movies leading to this one and I can say that it is one of Marvel’s best, I cannot praise this movie enough. There were certain scenes and even lines, that if you’ve read the Civil War comic, you will see it come to fruition on the big screen. Great job from the actors, the writers, the directors, to everyone involved in the film.