You know a movie has exceeded expectations when you walk out of the theater replaying what just happened in your mind and can’t stop talking about it with those around you. Such is the case of 'Captain America: Civil War'. A movie in which the hype does it no justice and it is without a doubt the greatest achievement the Marvel Cinematic Universe has put out thus far. A movie that may not rival 'The Dark Knight' as the greatest comic book film of all time, but damn sure stands right by its side.
Civil War is a film with A LOT going on, yet it’s paced properly where grasping all of the material doesn’t necessarily require a second viewing for a basic understanding. Captain America and team are running around doing their Avenger thing when the civilian casualty count reaches its limit forcing General Ross and government to intervene, creating a bill that essentially grants the United Nations control of the Avengers and those with Super Powers. Tony Stark is in agreement with the need for rules and regulations, but the good ole Captain just isn’t haven’t it. Trailers and commercials lead you to believe that everything was split down the middle and you would either choose Team Captain or Team Iron Man, but the film does an excellent job of keeping it in a grey area. Things aren’t as black and white as it seemed. A case can easily be made to side with either as both causes show validity behind them. Captain America does have some selfish actions, willing to drastically bend rules and break the law for a friend, but when a dark secret of Tony’s past is revealed he has no problems breaking the rules either for revenge purposes. By the end of the film deciding who was right and who was wrong was virtually impossible. You were left with a full understanding of the choices being made with solid reasoning to justify either cause.
Team Captain America
- Captain America - Chris Evans does an outstanding job of portraying Captain America as both the typical hero we are used to as well as a renegade, standing up for his beliefs and his willingness to break the law out of sheer loyalty to an old friend. Some of his actions are indeed questionable, but you have to ask yourself how far are you willing to go in order to help someone you care deeply for. When it comes to action Cap truly is a super soldier showcasing extraordinary abilities and putting that shield to good use as we would see on the pages of his comics.
- The Falcon - Anthony Mackie stepped his game up big time as one of Cap's most trusted friends, The Falcon. Honestly, many of the scenes he was involved in he stole the show with his sharp wit, super cool attitude, and when he donned the wings he was a true badass giving us some of the more memorable actions sequences in the film, along with his usage of his robotic bird/drone Red Wing.
- Scarlet Witch - – I wasn’t overly fond of Elizabeth Olsen's portrayal of Wanda in 'Age of Ultron', but she too has evolved into a character with much more life and emotion. You felt her inner conflict and struggle as she truly gave off the vibe of a young warrior just getting use to her abilities. Her display of powers was awesome to say the least giving us a glimpse of just how powerful she truly is.
- Ant-Man - Paul Rudd brought forth a scene stealing performance with his easily likable Scott Lang. He represents your everyday person...extremely funny as you are constantly given the feeling that he’s enjoying his new found powers and having a blast in using them. When he reveals his latest ability to expand in size rather than shrinking is one of the film’s defining and most awesome of moments.
- Hawkeye - Easily one of the weakest members of the previous films step forth giving his best performance to date. He didn’t have a ton of screen time, but when he did he delivered, showed off some cool archery skills and a funny little fight with Vision.
- Bucky/Winter Soldier - An absolute badass. Sebastian Stan came through with a mighty performance bouncing between a conflicted Bucky showing signs of his former good-nature'd self locked within, and the stone cold killer that is the Winter Soldier
Team Iron Man
- Iron Man - His reasoning and logic is noble and Robert Downey Jr. does a phenomenal job of showcasing a hero that is trying to do the right thing for everyone even if it means alienating some of his closest compadres. He may be willing to divide the team but not without turmoil as you can feel and see the conflict on RDJ’s face as he struggles to keep everyone together.
- War Machine - The least potent of any character in the film, Cheadle does an okay job of just sort of filling in background space and inputting his two cents every now and then.
- Black Widow - Johansson is a great actor and has no problem putting her skills to use as the black widow. She’s a believable badass, but even during what should be more tender moments she comes across as a very cold character. I think the most emotions we have seen from her thus far was in Age of Ultron when interacting with Banner.
- Black Panther - Wow, I don’t even know where to begin other than saying, Wow. Chadwick Boseman was fantastic as the Black Panther in displaying raw emotion and a 'just a I don’t a F’ attitude in search of revenge that made him a very vicious hero. He was easily one of the coolest characters, very likable, and any fight scene involving him was awesome.
- Vision - If there was one complaint about Vision, it would have to be his limited screen time. He’s charming, thoughtful and probably the most grounded of all the characters in his quest for peace. He comes across the type of guy you want to play a game of chess with while enjoying a nice brandy. Smooth.
Tom Holland is...Spider-Man
Okay, here is a character I hold near and dear to my heart as much as I do with Batman…and finally…finally, we have a Spider-Man that is true to the comics and represents everything I always loved about him. Tom Holland is flawless in depicting Peter Parker as a teenager with new found powers getting caught up in a battle with seasoned heroes. He’s a major dork as Spider-Man should be, with his never ending humor and motor mouth skills that that lands smoothly and not douchey like Andrew Garfield displayed. He also shows a much needed level of intelligence that the previous two Spider-Men didn’t. It was a young, fresh and vibrant take that was much needed to salvage our favorite wall-crawler.
Say hello to the bad guys:
- Crossbones - Not much can be said about this character other than his minimal onscreen time made for an excellent opening fight sequence with the Avengers. Small part yet effective.
- Zemo - though not the greatest of villains, gave us a very believable character with an agenda and actual motifs behind his assault. Rather than posing a physical or mystical threat he provided a solid challenge using intelligence to divide and conquer.
'Let's get ready to rumble'
The Airport battle gave us a MASSIVE fight between the two teams. It wasn’t an all out war with each opposing sides set to kill one another, but a muscle flexing contest that ended up being LOADS of fun. It was highly entertaining with each character bringing forth something unique to the contest that kept me on the edge of my seat with excitement as my little inner-fanyboy leapt out with joy as my child hood heroes squared off. Hands-down, Spider-Man and Ant-Man stole the show with their hysterical onscreen antics and abilities that was like watching a comic book come to life before your eyes.
The Final Fight - Where the Airport battle was loaded with fun moments, this was an intense, emotionally charged battle that cut deep as they faced off in what could have potentially been the end for one of our favorite heroes. It was what every final fight should be, a believable, nail-biting event where you could literally feel the effects of each blow delivered. Sebastian, Chris and Robert Downey were spectacular in making you feel the rage, the hate, and the sorrow involved in this fight, with the final segment between Cap and Iron-Man acting like a quick kick to the gut.
- Every Character was on point in their performances and created a valuable asset lending their unique qualities to every scene.
- A multi-layered story that kept levels of intrigue high but didn’t over saturate or confuse the audience.
- The writers for making a Team vs Team battle where the audience really had an inability to truly decide who was right and who was wrong. Arguments could be made for either side leaving you to select your team based on who had the coolest characters.
- Zemo, though not as layered and as awesome as The Kingpin or Kilgrave, gave us a solid villain that created problems with a little more meaning behind them than just another world-ending threat.
- Spider-Man, though I wish he had more screen time, was giving the PERFECT amount of time. It was a great introduction that slickly bypassed the origin story and gave us just enough for us to salivate over the thought of his big screen debut. His interaction with Tony Stark was extremely fun and showed a chemistry between the 2 that makes RDJ’s inclusion in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' a very welcomed one indeed.
- Marisa Tomei as Aunt May
- Black Panther! Everything about him kicked booty to the max and after that performance his solo venture should be in high demand
- Paul Rudd as Ant-Man! He brought forth an excellent comedic element that came across as genuine and added to the fun of the big fight. From the moment he came onscreen until his exit he literally stole the show, with the only time eyes averted from him were to watch Tom Holland OWN Spider-Man.
- The Airport Battle was everything you could hope for…an explosive, fun, smorgasbord of action with each hero lending their unique abilities and personas to the awesomeness of this big brawl.
- When Iron Man and Captain America stood toe to toe you knew that this was THE final fight. It was violent, highly emotional, and almost hard to watch as these two icons tried to put an end to one another.
- Limited screen time (although expected) for enjoyable characters like Vision and Hawkeye.
- War Machine was necessary as Tony’s long time friend, but he did little for the film and his inclusion was almost pointless.
- Some random plot holes here and there.
- It ended!
- It set the bar EXTREMELY high. Topping this or even coming close to equal is going to be a tough challenge.
Whether you are a casual viewer, DC fan, Marvel Fan, or both this is a must see film that defines the comic genre on the silver screen. Every element one would expect for greatness is present with its deep story, huge battles, special fx galore, an assortment of likable characters that all deliver and help elevate this feature that isn’t forgotten the second you exit the theater.