At the time of writing, Captain America: Civil War is pretty fresh in my mind. Seriously, I literally came out of the theater like half an hour ago, so you can be sure this review is, for the most part, going to be pretty darn accurate.
First off, Civil War is definitely worth seeing. In fact, if you've got the time and money I'd suggest you go and see it at least two more times. It's definitely a good film and Marvel have definitely outdone themselves yet again. Is it perfect? No, but it's not too far off.
Seeing as the movie is yet to launch in the United States, I'll be keeping this review entirely spoiler free, so no need to worry there. However, I will be addressing certain aspects of the film that have been covered in various press releases and trailers, so if you plan on going in blind, better stop reading here. Don't worry, I won't judge you for it.
Firstly, I feel the need to make it clear that Civil War is a Captain America film by name only. It is, without a doubt, an Avengers film. In fact, even if you had to pin it down on one character, it still wouldn't be a Cap movie. Any Iron Man fans in the house should be happy to know that, unless I'm mistaken, Tony Stark gets a lot more screen time than anyone else, including Cap. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Iron Man 4 with the wrong sticker on the cover.
And, as Iron Man movies go, it's a good one too. Is it better than Iron Man 1? Possibly. Is it better than Iron Man 2 and 3? Absolutely. We've seen Tony Stark stuck between a rock and a hard place before, but this is the first time we've seen him truly conflicted. Despite being at constant odds throughout the film, it's clear Tony and Cap share a close bond that hasn't been seen all that much yet and, for the most part, Tony seems torn between loyalty to his friends or his morals.
And you'll also be pleased to hear that Civil War is better than Age of Ultron by a long shot. I didn't consider Ultron to be that bad but it's still got nothing on this movie. While the last Avengers outing felt more like a build up to the next phase of Marvel movies, Civil War was 100% payoff, tying up loads of loose ends, some dating back as far as the very first Iron Man movie. While it was clear the top dogs at Marvel were working towards something bigger, at no point during the movie did I feel like I was being denied information like I did during Age of Ultron. Rather than teasing the existence of Spider-Man in the same way Ultron teased Black Panther, Civil War gave us the full monty, with the most comic-accurate Spidey we've ever seen.
Ah, of course. Spider-Man. Spidey's appearance in Civil War, though never disputed, has been shrouded in secrecy since day one. How much screen time will he get? Which team will he be fighting for? Will he be played by Andrew Garfield again? Will he be any good?
As we got closer to the release date, two of those questions were answered. Tom Holland, a new kid on the scene, will be bringing us a brand new Spidey who'll be teaming up with Iron Man during Civil War. And now, just because I'm extra nice, I'll fill you in on those other two.
Spider-Man is one of the highlights of this movie. He's snarkier than his previous iterations and, frankly, a lot funnier too. He's got a quip for every occasion and, during his twenty minute burst onscreen, dishes them out like it's Christmas. As Peter Parker, he's just as witty, slinging one liners here and there as if it's his damned birth right. His rapport with Tony is also a high point and I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do with the character next year in Homecoming.
Black Panther/T'Challa and Ant-Man are also standouts in the movie overall, with T'Challa's motives being one of the main driving forces of the plot. However, as plots go, Civil War definitely isn't the strongest.
Despite fantastic character development and a ton of awesome set pieces, Civil War rarely felt like more than those two factors. Baron Zemo never really excels as a villain and the main plot is driven mostly by the conflict within the Avengers themselves. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but at times the real battle against Zemo just felt like a weak B-plot rather than an intense race against time.
Additionally, the movie never really felt like it was following a single over arcing plot. Several scenes felt out of place or sometimes downright unnecessary, and many segments, including the fantastic airport battle and the final punchout between Cap and Iron Man, felt more like separate set pieces rather than something that should be considered a key part of the plot.
That's not to say they didn't add anything to the movie though. The airport battle is hands down the best action sequence in any Marvel movie ever made. Everyone's there, duking it out while Spidey swings around pissing off War Machine with his jokes and makes a wonderful nuisance of himself to Team Cap. Additionally, the final duel between Iron Man and Cap is all kinds of intense, with both sides giving as much as they take and destroying both themselves and each other in the process.
And the twist at the end, though predictable, really gave the whole fight that extra gravitas. Both sides are pissed and it's clear. Remember in the trailer where Steve tells Tony he has to do it because Bucky's his friend and Tony broke all our hearts by whispering "So was I?" Yeah, that's completely turned on its head in the movie. I'm not giving anything away, but you'll totally get what I mean when you see it.
So yeah, aside from a few gripes, Civil War is pretty exceptional. Is it the best Cap movie? Yes. Is it a better Iron Man movie? Also yes. Is the not-so-subtle Community cameo the best part of the whole movie? Definitely.
Also, there are two post-credits scenes. Nothing too ground-breaking, but you'd kick yourself for missing them. Just a heads up.