Ok, so there were a lot of elements to "[Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409)" that many were worried Marvel might not be able to pull off. For example, could "Civil War" really come off as a Captain America sequel with such a crowded cast? Could Spider-Man really be pulled off for the untienth time? Would the Russo Brothers really be able to match the hype following up to "Civil War" when similar recent releases arguably haven't? And in the vast majority of cases they most certainly have! "Civil War" was not only a great thrill-ride with a vivacious story, but actually lived up to the hype! However what surprised me more about the Russo duos' latest masterpiece is all the epic stuff I didn't expect! Here are my top 5 unexpected moments that rocked in "Civil War"!
1. Ant-Man Kicks Ass!
Spider-Man wasn't the only wise-cracking jokester in "Civil War". Team Cap had their own comic relief as well! This being in the form of Paul Rudd's Ant-Man. I personally actually find Rudd's clumsy efficiency funnier than Spider-Man's slightly too clever punch-lines at times, although clearly he is great too! Ant-man's surprise size change, growing in size instead of shrinking, really changes the dynamic of the airport fight-scene as well, and stops it from becoming too stale. Hank Pym really relished in the company he keeps in "Civil War", playing the role of us, the audience. He's gob-smacked at the sight of all of these superhero's fighting off against one-another, and a little bit starstruck, reminding us of what we felt when we first found out about "Civil War" actually happening! I think Ant-Man really comes into his own when gets to collaborate with his fellow heroes, flourishing in their presence, rather than being over-shadowed by them! In fact, he was the one doing the over-shadowing, literally, and that was an un-expected moment that rocked!
2. Scarlet Witch and Vision Might be a Thing Now?
I did not in anyway predict that these two super-powered heroes would ever become a thing, but they just might be. Is it romantic? Is it platonic? I don't know, but I do know that I ship it whatever it is. I felt personally that the chemistry between these two was much more natural and authentic than for example the romance between Black Widow and Bruce Banner in "Age of Ultron". Both quiet and contemplative in nature, looking to take the higher ground than run straight into the action, they can understand one another in a way that the other characters can't. A genuine duality of respect helps humanise both characters and show just how mature they are. This is great characterisation in a very crowded movie, and is done in a unique way. Because much of their relationship is incorporated into the story-line it does still feel a tad forced, but all is forgiven in just how sincere one-another are towards each other. Once their fight is over for example, they both apologise immediately and earnestly. This is a sign of a true and genuine friendship! For the first time in the MCU, we may have our very own super-couple folks. And I personally really dig it!
3. The Role of the United Nations
The United Nations is key in a number of important plot points throughout "Civil War". Not only is it the organisation where The Accords originated from, but it is also the organisation Black Panther works with as well. However, the surprising part for me is how accurately they use and portray both the good sides and the bad sides of the international organisation. On the one hand, the UN is a great place for developing countries to get their voice heard on the international stage. This can be seen in the fact that it is countries such as Wakanda that bring the issue of The Accords onto the international agenda. However, many critics of the UN in real-life have also accused the organisation of being a puppet for the US, who use the UN to justify their immoral acts. For example, this is shown in the movies when the US government uses The Accords to imprison many of the MCU's superheros at the end of the film. As a result "Civil War" displays a rather surprisingly accurate portrayal of how many would argue the UN actually operates, as well as the benefits, and problems it faces today.
4. Civil War Introduces the Noire Genre to the MCU
One of the great surprises in "Winter Solider" for me personally was the incorporation the Russo Brothers did with the superhero and political-thriller genres. And on the most part "Civil War" appears to be more of the same. That is, until the third act, which reveals the greatest plot twist in the MCU so far! It turns out that the flash-back we see of the Winter Solider assassinating some apparently unimportant characters were in fact a lot more relevant than anyone could have ever imagined! From that moment, the film begins to mimic that of a 1950s noire mystery-thriller, and reinvigorates the rather long run-time as a result. With the grey tones of the concrete location mirroring a black and white visual, eery, unnerving, yet slightly nostalgic music, whilst the unexpected mystery-twist unravels, the Russo Brothers have clearly become masters of creating tension and weight to their stories. I for one was not expecting this noire-like twist, but was adamantly glad that I expereienced it. Most of all however, is it's now got me wondering what genre mixing the Russo Brothers might conjure up in their future MCU installments?
5. Robert Downey Jr is Oscar-Worthy
I think it comes as no surprise that Downey Jr is great in this movie. What is surprising however is just how great Downey Jr is. Unnerving and raw, every scene he enters is made unpredictable by his constantly changing presence. In one scene he may be the most timid man in the room, in the next the most intimidating. At times, Downey Jr is aggressively hawkish, in others, slightly sheepish. This changeability makes his character even more unnerving, complex and layered, and as such sparks the entire film with an undercurrent of unease that wouldn't otherwise be there. Downey Jr plays a man on the brink of sanity, and keeps us questioning if maybe he's already crossed it. However, what's even more impressive is that despite encompassing the character of a deranged lunatic at times, the pain and sorrow contained within his eyes is so paralysing that you can't help but empathise with him. And this is not an easy feat to accomplish given that technically Stark is the bad guy in this film. As such, for me at least, this was the most unexpected surprise from "Civil War", and maybe the best one!
The Russo Brothers have clearly accomplished a lot in this film, helping transcend Marvel and the MCU onto another plain of story-telling. However, it was just as much the things I didn't expect, as much as the things I did, that have really got me ampt for phase three of the MCU. With these guys replacing Whedon at the helm of Marvel, I'm extremely excited for what's coming up next, as much for what I am not anticipating, as much as for what I am!