Not since Age of Ultron had I been more excited about a Marvel film release and if you read my review on that film (my first review too) you'd know exactly how that turned out. So I approached Civil War with slight trepidation. It was Marvel's first big ensemble piece since AoU, and although I didn't hate that film (just read my review if your that interested :P) it did leave me feeling a touch disillusioned with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, was there nothing wrong with Ultron and I had just grown weary of the formula? Ant-Man helped ease my mind, it managed to entertain and not disappoint, but it was just an entertaining origin story, it was comedic, entertaining and after the disappointing AoU it was just what Marvel needed, a fun superhero romp that didn't take itself too seriously, however it was a single character piece, something Marvel has now honed to perfection, this was Civil War, a comic story as epic in scope and history making as Age of Ultron first was before being adapted, before an overuse of quips and wisecracks sucked all the seriousness out of the story. I feared the same could be said of Civil War...
This film had a lot riding on it, in a lot of ways felt quite similar to AoU in terms of media exposure and hype overload, with news sites constantly updating various rumors and fake facts. Both film's juggled a large cast of various main characters all fighting for fair screen time, both film's served as sequels to highly acclaimed box office giants, and most importantly, both films served as introductions to all new, important, fan favorite characters. Most importantly... Spider-man. My all time favorite character ever, the one that got me into comics in the first place, and after discovering the comics, then discovering the 90s animated series at the ripe old age of nine years old leading to a childhood choc full of Spidey, a million action figures, videos, comics, cards etc i was a spidey kid. When Raimis film finally come out I was sixteen and must have seen it at cinemas at least five times. I adored Webbs Amazing films too despite the haters, the second had issues but none as defining as Raimi's third installment. I was sad to see Garfield leave and that series die, but it was made tolerable by the news he would finally be inducted into the MCU, where he belongs. So yeah he is important to me. Not just to me considering how popular the original trilogy was, and what it did for superhero cinema. The Spidey factor alone was cause for trepidation, the culmination of years of hype and rumors.. coupled with everything else and the flick could have just as easily failed as succeed. The difference between this and AoU? Civil War never buckles under all that weight. Due to brilliant direction by the acclaimed Russo Brothers (Captain America: Winter Soldier, Infinity War) great performances from all involved and a super tight script the film thankfully succeeds in all places AoU failed.
So after viewing I can now admit with great pride that Civil War did not disappoint me one single bit. The release caught me by surprise actually, i had been following the US release forgetting Australia got it a week early, so when my mate at work announced it released today I was shocked, well first I didn't believe him, but I was shocked when I googled on my phone to prove his nonsense wrong. Obviously last minute plans were instantly made to see it after work. As you could imagine the work day then dragged. Going to the cinema I had a strange, almost surreal moment, Winter Soldier is my absolute favorite MCU film so far, this was the sequel, this featured iconic character Black Panther's film debut, this film featured almost everyone, it was the brilliant Russo bros, its the bloody Civil War! A story I really enjoyed in the comics, and was now on the big screen, a showdown between Cap and Iron man, all this going for it... and I was just pumped for Spidey and to see what Marvel did with him. First things first, lets get it out of the way now, did Spidey live up to the hype? Hells yeah he did. I was kind of against such a young Pete, Pete grew up just like I did, I wasn't sure if I would still relate to the character the same way. Well Holland aces it, delivering one of the truest representations of the character thus far. Bouncing all over the place launching quip after quip as he banters with the other superheroes, his scene stealing performance had the whole cinema in stitches, he is accepted into the MCU with open arms, a quick exchange between him and Cap made the fanboy in me giddy. Was he needed? Hell no he wasn't? Did he add absolutely anything to the story? Hell no he didn't. Does any of that matter? Hells no! If it felt forced, lazy, shoehorned in or it was an unlikable performance of JarJar proportions, then yeah, this would be a valid argument, instead he fitted the universe, it worked as a perfectly fine intro to his solo series and helped establish him as an important character to this universe, so all in all, a resounding success.
Now I won't keep gushing on Spidey, how did our other new star go? Lets just say Panther would have been the scene stealer if it wasn't for Spidey. He is a perfect adaptation. Played to perfection by Chadwick Boseman. Serious, tough and stern, yet caring and likable, all at the same time, and his fighting, phew, his fighting, all I can say.... Badass! Another great example of a perfect introduction for an important character's soon to be solo series.
So far so good right? How do the others fare? Well all perfectly fine actually, Evans Cap is great as usual and Downey Jr puts in an uncharacteristically serious performance, entirely fitting for the subject matter. Johanssen's Black Widow is more proof she fully understands the character now coming off half believable when compared to her earlier, more wooden performances. Wow is she lovely. Unfortunately Hulk and Thor are no shows but luckily the others all make an appearance. Rudd's Antman gets his second big screen appearance, and some big laughs (not an easy feat when sharing screen time with Spidey) Winter Soldier and Falcon get beefier roles in this second appearance and actually share decent chemistry, I'd watch a Winter Soldier/Falcon film quite happily (make it happen) Renner's Hawkeye is again in top form coming out of retirement to help his former teammates, while Vision and Scarlet Witch do perfectly fine during the quieter moments.
So its Cap Vs Iron Man right? Well who is the villain since both are fighting over an ideal. Freedom vs Government opression. When both sides are just in their convictions, who do we root against? Luckily the film also serves as yet another introduction to a famous Marvel character, this time villain Baron Zemo. A cold blooded killer on a revenge mission, pulling the strings leading up to this new regiment, and all of the devastating fallout too. Not the most faithful character depiction but no less memorable. William Hurt also returns as General Thunderbolt Ross, further cementing Norton's Hulk film as MCU canon. Always the asshole he does fine with the part.
So all of that praise, what exactly didn't work? Well the plot as a whole seems a little over the top, nothing that couldn't be hashed out over tea and coffee with your hero mates, jumping to all out assault on your friends due to a difference of opinion seems a touch drastic, but hey at least its less so here than it was in the comics, and Stark is more human in his motivation than he was first depicted in the book. What else? Honestly not much, I prefer Winter Soldier probably but its honestly just boils down to personal preference, the film honestly does nothing wrong. Aunt May is way too hot but that's more a fanboy gripe than technical problem and Tomei still does well in the part.
So there you have it, one of Marvel's best recent outings and sheer entertainment, this film will be hard pressed to find many haters, it really is top class all the way. Unlike AoU the film left me feeling excited for the future of Marvel. As we enter the final chapters for our favorite characters it's heartening to see how much potential is only just beginning. Suddenly I am incredibly excited for both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther solo ventures. Be sure to watch past the credits as always for two unique extra scenes, I will not spoil.
Hope you all enjoyed reading and hope you all enjoy the film, it's out today in the states so be sure to get along and let me know what you thought? Did I share your feelings or was I way off base? 'Comments' people! Follow me on [email protected], moviepilot or Johnny Clash @johnnygeekcool (twitter)