FILM REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War
I’ll keep this review short (ish) as Jeff Randle and his co-host Matt posted the entertaining and in-depth Captain America: Civil War edition of their Marvel Cinematic Universe Podcast only last Friday. I’m also going to try and keep the review as spoiler free as possible, though as Jeff and Matt say, if you haven’t seen this film yet- you need to reassess your life priorities!
That pretty much some up the tone for the rest of this review- as, if you’re even just a loose fan of Marvel’s awesome film franchises, the third instalment of Captain America is a must-see.
Although this is a solo movie in the sense that it features The First Avenger as the titular protagonist, it’s very much akin to The Avengers, featuring a delicious filmic mix of characters that each get a chance to breathe and spread their wings to flourish in their own right. Normally movies, especially one as highly anticipated as this one, that have a very slow build up are quite annoying, yet this amount of exposition was necessary. The gradual development of the first part of the film sets the scene and convincingly explains why two of our favourite heroes, who’s characters are firm friends with aligned values, clash and get their wires so spectacularly crossed resulting in an epic ‘civil war’.
The slow build up serves to establish the political and moral pickle the heroes find themselves embroiled in, as calls for The Avengers and their associates to be held accountable in light of collateral damage deaths of innocent civilians in tragedies like Sakovia in Avengers: Age of Ultron spark pressure from the government for the team to agree to the Anti-hero Registration Act- an initiative which is backed by Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). Meanwhile, Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) disagrees, citing the fact that controlling The Avengers, who save lives and have the world’s best interest at heart, isn’t right.
The fact that both Tony and Steve both offer each other so many olive branches and chances before going against each other with everything they’ve got shows just how strong and valued their friendship was…until it shatters. The film’s brilliance lies in the fact that, as a viewer, it’s easy to understand where both heroes are coming from, and you root for both of them and the other heroes they drag into the battle on each of the opposing sides.
The movie poses deep and thought provoking questions, such as if we do what we believe is right, even if it goes against the wishes of others or the letter of the law do we ever still have the moral high ground? How far must be go to defend what we believe in? And how easy is it for trust to breakdown?
Deep questions aside, the film, like most Marvel films, is a big healthy dose of fun. I always love the Marvel films where a team is assembled over the studios’ solo character outings as there’s more opportunity for quick one-liners, and laugh-out-loud banter as the star-studded cast bounce off each other. Whilst young Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) struggles with her powers and wrestles with her relationship with her abilities, a young Spiderman (Tom Holland) is pure comedy gold in his first fight.
It was hard to take the film as a sci-fi in some points, with the first conflict between the two opposing sides (Team Iron Man consists of Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman, whilst Team Captain America comprises of: Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man) seeming like a playground scuffle, with all the heroes holding back. Black Widow/Agent Romanov (Scarlett Johansson) even asks Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), her former ally: “We’re still friends right?” to which he quips: “Depends how hard you hit me.”
We even get treated to Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), our favourite anti-hero (sorry I couldn’t resist there) going into risky ‘Giant-Man’ mode (oops I said no spoilers didn’t I?!). But as the action packed, fast pace plot, infused with surprising twists, develops and the playground scruffle graduates to an high-stake epic all-out war, it’s Daniel Bruhl that dazzles as chilling villain Zemo. Captain America: Civil War does eventually take us down the worn path of revenge, which is a little disappointing as it’s an overused theme, but there’s no doubt this instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Marvel at its best.