Captain America: Civil War Review

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We’ve come a long way since Iron Man first hit theaters 8 years ago. Marvel Studios has changed the Hollywood landscape with their maverick idea of cinematic universe-building. A third Captain America film was slated to be released on May 6, 2016. At one point, DC Comics’ Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was set to go head-to-head with Captain America on May 6th, but eventually Warner Bros. decided to move the release date to March instead. Everyone was shocked that DC Comics would move its sure-fire box office behemoth against the “lowly” Captain America threequel. That is until it was revealed that the Captain America threequel would become Captain America: Civil War, based on the highly popular Marvel Comics arc. With Civil War being the second hero vs. hero film to come out this year, does Civil War fall into the same traps as its DC counterpart or does it live up to the massive expectations?

Although it’s not as impactful as The Winter SoldierCaptain America: Civil War pleases in every phase of the film. While Batman v Superman comparisons are bound to happen, there is absolutely no comparison at all. Captain America: Civil War was able to pull off what Batman v Superman didn’t and did so on a much grander scale.

Following the events of Avengers: Age of UltronCaptain America: Civil War follows Steve Rogers as he tries to deal with the mounting political pressure to install a system of accountability when the actions of his team lead to collateral damage. The U.N. proposes a treaty titled the Sokovia Accords that requires the Avengers to follow the orders of and report to a U.N. council. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes that superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without any government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) believes that in order to separate themselves from the villains, accountability must be held. As the debate escalates, an unexpected incident involving an old friend brings these once close friends into battling enemies.

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Captain America: Civil War’s marketing asked fans to choose a side between the two titans of Marvel, Team Cap or Team Iron Man. Yet the film does a great job in blurring the lines of who’s right and wrong. The film leads you to believe that both Steve and Tony are right. After a while, you begin to realize that the real villain of the movie isn’t Steve Rogers, Tony Stark, or even Helmut Zemo, but the conflicting emotions of its heroes. However, these themes do take some time to build before it reaches its climactic boiling point.

The Russos made a name for themselves with the creativity in their action sequences. Audiences saw it in the popular “Community” paintball episode, in The Winter Soldier, and audiences will see it again in Civil War. The action sequences in Civil War are again quite breathtaking since the hand-to-hand combat sequences are fierce, fluid, and in-your-face. It’s like the beautiful love child of The Winter Soldier and The Raid. Civil War‘s more fantastical action sequences are still well thought out and grounded in execution.

With as many characters as there are in the film, Civil War is still well balanced. Every single individual storyline is intertwined into one coherent storyline. Even Spider-Man, a late addition to the Civil War cast, is miraculously and perfectly fitted in the film. It’s also amazing how easily you can follow along even as the film swiftly navigates from one character to the next. Every character has just the right amount of screentime needed too, never really focusing on one character more than the other. It astonishing how Markus, McFeely, and the Russos were able to pull this off with such efficiency and finesse.

But as we move from one character to another, you notice just how comfortable everyone is with his or her respective roles. Whether it’s their second time or their sixth time playing the role, the cast seems to have settled right in — even as their characters grow and develop.

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As much as Civil War is very much the Steve and Tony show, the meaningful introductions of Black Panther and Spider-Man steals the show away from them.

Chadwick Boseman has a certain gravitas that commands respect whenever he’s on screen. Quite fitting for T’Challa, the future King of Wakanda. Tom Holland is the Spider-Man we’ve all been waiting for. Although Maguire and Garfield were great in their own right, Tom Holland is the definitive comic book version of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He portrays all the qualities that you would expect from a Spider-Man that’s ripped right from the comics.

However, not every character is represented as well as the heroes. Helmut Zemo is vastly different than its comic book counterparts, both 616 and Ultimates. Character changes typically would be fine if it were not for the fact that Zemo doesn’t really have a lasting presence in the film. Zemo is set up as a tragic character and Brühl does an excellent job portraying his pain. Yet Zemo is only there as a plot device to further the tension between Steve and Tony.

Overall, Captain America: Civil War is a dynamic and entertaining film bolstered by its amazing cast. At 2 ½ hours, the film is one of Marvel’s longest films but it doesn’t feel that way at all. The film makes great use of its long run time to be an entertaining, complex, thrilling, and emotional film. Sure, Helmut Zero adds to the long list of lackluster villains, but the heroic throw down between the characters makes up for the lack of a villain. After all, fans are the ones that will debate to no end which side is the villainous side. Let the games begin.

Rating: 4.5/5 atoms
NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1408 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.