Review: Captain America: Civil War


My real review: GO SEE IT! Since I can’t post three word reviews:  Here are few thoughts on Marvel’s latest blockbuster, Captain America: Civil War.

Since 2008, Marvel Studios has transformed the month of May into the starting line for summer movies. This year, directors Anthony and Joe Russo come out the starting blocks strong with Captain America: Civil War.

Civil War is equal parts Captain America sequel, Avengers movie, and new characters debut. The plot’s focus is a disagreement between Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) that leads to a super powered confrontation. After the events of 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, the governments of the world want the Avengers to sign the Sakovia Accords – a United Nations law that allows government oversight when “enhanced individuals” want to take action. Tony thinks the team should sign it to help keep them in check, while Captain America thinks the regulations will leave them with their hands tied – literally and figuratively.

Meanwhile, Cap’s old buddy Bucky/Winter Soldier is being blamed for a recent bombing (having a metal arm will always make you look guilty). When Cap goes rogue to bring Bucky in, Tony rounds up a team to bring them both in along with anyone else who gets in their way. With both sides feeling undermanned (and under womanned), Cap and Tony have the best Fantasy Superhero Draft ever.

Team Captain America consist of some familiar faces – Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Bucky/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

Team Iron Man has some old faces like War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Vision (Paul Bettany) along with some exciting new faces – Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).

With all the caped crusading onscreen, Civil War could’ve been clunky mess of a movie. Somehow, the Russo’s deliver a well balanced comic book movie that, even at a run-time of over 2 ½ hours, never feels sluggish or overstuffed. Thanks to all the well written jokes and one-liners, the scenes without capes are as compelling as the action on the screen.

The humor is one of the most important pieces in the film. In a movie that rhymes with Flatman v Buberman, the jokes were absent and made the entire story feel dark and heavy. Civil War adds humor without sacrificing any of the seriousness or emotional beats of the Cap and Tony’s feud.

At its core, Civil War is a movie about relationships. There’s the obvious fight between Cap and Tony that shows how their relationship is fractured. Thankfully, other relationships are explored – Vision and Scarlet Witch’s relationship in the comics is strongly hinted at. Vision cares for Scarlet and the two have a touching moment trying to understand the powers the gem stone gave them both. The other great relationship involves Falcon and Bucky. Falcon still hasn’t forgotten how Bucky ripped off his wings and threw him off a helicarrier. Now the two have to fight side-by-side and their interactions are hilarious. There’s also Black Widow’s relationship with both Cap and Tony. She finds herself torn between Cap’s integrity and Tony’s need for regulation.

The biggest stars of Civil War are its newcomers, Black Panther and Spider-Man. Two characters fans have been wanting to see team up with the Avengers and it was well worth the wait. Tom Holland plays the third cinematic Spider-Man but the first time he’s been played by an actual kid (Holland is 19). When Spider-Man’s introduced, it’s as Peter Parker and it’s impossible to not to fall in love with him. Holland’s Parker has quirky movements and a prepubescent voice that makes him feel more like a child and a superhero. But, when he shows up in the iconic suit, he’s the Spider-Man everyone grew to love in the comics.

The same goes for Black Panther. The intro of Black Panther is him as T’Challa. Boseman plays him as a quiet Prince who is standing by his father’s side at the U.N. When the situation requires T’Challa to show up as Black Panther, all the meekness is out the window. Black Panther is the only character in the story that’s’ deadly serious. He’s on a Terminator style mission to catch the person responsible for what happened.  Civil War gives a little glimpse of who T’Challa is and what his world is like.

If you can’t tell from the trailers, Civil War looks incredible. The big airport fight is unbelievable. It’s possibly the best action sequence in any comic book movie. The entire sequence is going to be hard to top. The number of jaw dropping moments set the bar really high. The only way to top it is to have actually superheroes fighting in the theaters during the movie. Anything less than that won’t do.

It’s not just the special effects that make the movie great. The Russo’s showed a lot of hand-to-hand combat and MMA style fight sequences in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. They upped the ante this time with more close quarters fights and bone crushing action. There’s an amazing staircase fight sequence that has all the amazing fight choreography on display.

The most brutal fight sequence takes place during the final fight scene with Cap, Iron Man, and Winter Soldier. It’s as unbelievable to watch as it is gut-wrenching.  It’s like watching your superhero parents get divorced.

Captain America: Civil War is the best comic book movie ever made. The Russo’s took a comic book and threw it on the big screen. They’re steered a very expensive yacht with 1,000 passengers and make it look easy. Recently, we’ve seen big ensemble films fail and even bigger comic book moves flame out. Whatever magic the Russo’s have that helps them make big blockbusters entertaining, fascinating, and a fun experience for all – I hope they keep making these movies.  Civil War is a masterpiece. It’s the perfect movie in an era where superhero movies dominate the box-office.  I can’t wait to see what the Russo’s and Marvel do next.

Grade: A+