Captain America: Civil War is the next instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but, as we all know, it’s more than that. Known amongst some fans as ‘Avengers 2.5’, Captain America: Civil War had to balance its roster, be a sequel to The Winter Solider (one of Marvel’s most acclaimed standalone films), introduce two major new characters and also flesh out those left over from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Oh, and on top of that, it had to be a good film in its own right. The hype for the movie seemed insurmountable. But has Marvel bagged another hit?
Absolutely! The Russo brothers have succeeded in the juggling act which Joss Whedon failed. Captain America: Civil War is this year’s must-see hit. Read what TiCGN’s reviewer thought below!
One of the best things about Captain America: Civil War is to see the separate progression of Tony Stark, Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff. We’ve come to know them, over what is fast approaching a decade, and we’ve watched them become friends over time. The purpose of Civil War is to rip these friendships apart and the internal conflict of the characters is brilliantly conveyed by the three veteran actors. In the comics it took many years for the rifts between the heroes to be healed and you be sure that this will be true for the cinematic universe too. There are tragic moments for both Iron Man and Captain America and, without giving anything away, this film sees both go through multiple character-defining moments.
Unfortunately shielded from the limelight in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Scarlet Witch and Vision have finally received the screen-time they deserve through Civil War. They are not just there as gimmicks or concepts to be explored later but have a really meaningful impact on the story and the people around them. Through Wanda Maximoff we see a naive and inexperienced perspective on what the Avengers do but also a strength of character that many superheroes only achieve later in their careers. Vision, by contrast, is assumed to be infallible. We learn this is not true and that many of the values assumed in one are actually embodied by the other. This is as much a conflict film for Marvel’s old cast as it is an introduction for new heroes, and Wanda and Vision waste no time in making themselves known.
Finally, of course, we have Spider-Man and Black Panther. I’ll waste no time in saying that Spider-Man is one of the highlights of the whole film. We’ve had far too many poor attempts at the iconic web-slinger in recent times but, while Tom Holland’s performance as Peter Parker was brief, when suited up as Spider-Man he stole every scene he was in. Black Panther also marked his entrance to the MCU in similar style. T’Challa is the young, warrior prince of Wakanda who through unfortunate events is pulled into the Civil War conflict. The Marvel Cinematic Universe likes always to offer up characters with different outlooks and backgrounds. Black Panther is no exception to this as, unlike the others, he is already held accountable by his people. This plays into his character quite a bit and what we see of him briefly in Captain America: Civil War will have many looking forward to 2018’s Black Panther.
The biggest potential problem when tackling something like Capitan America: Civil War is deciding what event it should be that splits the Avengers down the middle. Many of the characters have fought side by side for years and so far nothing has ever divided them for long. Until the Sokovia Accords. Due to another international incident, the governments of the world demand that the Avengers be held accountable for their actions and that, in future, action will only be taken by them at the direct request of the United Nations. Dark times and big ideas are in play here but have no fear, the Russo brothers know what they’re doing. We get twists and turns and, although it never really feels as if anyone is truly at risk, Captain America: Civil War has no trouble raising the stakes when it matters. The clashing of such drastically different personal ideologies is the perfect catalyst for ensuing events and Civil War raises interesting questions about freedom, the nature of security and of responsibility along the way.
But it’s a superhero movie, right? So, what about the action? Well it’s safe to say you won’t be disappointed if it’s action you’re looking for. Marvel movies always do fight scenes well, and that is pretty much given at this point, but what makes Civil War stand out is the way it distinguishes its fighters. No two Avengers fight the same and newcomer Spider-Man fits in so well with the others that you’d be forgiven for thinking he’d been on the roster since Avengers 1. The action shifts from small scale to large scale on a dime and the pace never slows.
Important too is the fact that the action isn’t condensed into pockets. There are solid, action sequences sprinkled throughout this film and that fact helps complement the chaotic and conflictual nature of the plot.
Captain America: Civil War is a blast. Action packed superhero throw-downs come in many variants but this is the one that will never be beaten. While the old friends’ fight is heart-rending, you won’t miss the introduction of the new guard and there’s not a hero in here that doesn’t need to be. The stage is set for Phase 3 and Captain America: Civil War represents one hell of a demo reel for the Infinity Wars directors, Joe and Anthony Russo. If you like Superhero films, then you’ll love this.
Additional: This is a review of Captain America: Civil War in IMAX 3D. The review would not change much with format although the IMAX experience did lend itself to the larger battle scenes. The 3D was serviceable. However, if you watched in 2D your experience would be in no way impaired.