CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Movie Review
Civil War is both rousing action film and a story about friendship and loyalty; a culmination of the events of the Marvel cinematic universe in an intense and captivating thriller that is Marvel’s most emotional film to date; albeit one that feels like it tries to do too much in condensing massive amounts of material into one script.
As a geek and an avid movie fan, it can be easy to get so caught up in the hype of comic book movies in today’s world that we forget how the genre almost stalled itself hole just over 16 years ago. We take for granted that these movies are considered some of the best of each calendar year, even if one has yet to be recognized for the most prestigious film awards available to them. Even when some films have grossed a great deal of money and been well received by critics, there is still backlash to what is considered a rather subpar film, as has been the case for Spider-Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Iron Man 2/3, just to name a few. So when a film has a chance to not only hold large implications for multiple established characters but also franchises and storylines, movie and comic book fans anxiously wait to see what the resulting product is. Luckily for both, Captain America: Civil War is a continued step in the right direction, even if it may not be the best film Marvel studios has released.
Where Civil War succeeds is in crafting a story around characters audiences can feel they can relate to and experience their journey with, while also entertaining those looking for the thrill of pure action. While Marvel Studios has the opportunity to pull from established comic book lore for these stories, it is still up to their storybook team to work with the directors of each film to ensure the right story is being told in the right way as to not conflict with the existing stories or other events related to those characters. Civil War accomplishes all of these points and does so with exhilarating flair. There is emotion, drama, action, and wonder in a movie populated with superheroes, but ones who audiences feel they can relate to and understand given the journey they have taken with them over the years and entries. Seeing the journey and evolution of Chris Evans’s Captain America and Robert Downey Junior’s Iron Man is both satisfying to the eye and the mind, as their motives are not only understood but believable within their connective threads. Both men’s journeys have been emotional and developed their characters a great deal over the course of their stand alone and joint films, only adding to the meaning of their verbal and physical clash. Evans and Downey, Jr., have become more than just actors playing a role, but icons who define the genre itself.
However, they are far from alone. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Don Cheadle’s War Machine and Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier join them, along with more recent entries Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, Paul Bettany’s Vision, Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlett Witch, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man are all along for the ride. Save the last two, each brings with them their unique personality and history of their respective arcs, as well as the admiration of fans and critics alike. Their stories all in some way relate to the overarching theme that embroils Steve Rogers and Tony Stark and, ultimately, defines their reasoning behind the side they defend. Their paths to these decisions, and seeing the ensuing fight(s) is well worth the price of admission alone for geeks and action fans everywhere.
Unfortunately, it is also part of the film’s greatest flaw. While Directors and brothers, Joe and Anthony Russo direct the film beautifully, it feels as if they tried to tackle more than should have been attempted in doubling down on the number of characters in the first Avengers film. The story moves briskly, but often times too much so, as audiences don’t spend enough time with some specific characters who feel more shoehorned in to set up future films more than to serve a purpose in Civil War. Characters who at points play major roles in the events of the film frequently disappear for long stretches, with no explanation for their absence(s). Daniel Brühl’s role as Zemo is effective in moving the plot along and pushing the correct chess pieces to their necessary positions but does little else to make him a memorable foe. For as much fun as it is seeing superheroes interact in large action sequences, the events are largely inconsequential to the overall storyline and picture.
Still, when it comes down to it, movies are supposed to be fun, or at the very least entertaining. Sure, sometimes there is a greater, thought provoking message at play that resonates far beyond the screen. But even if a film does not, it doesn’t mean that those very thematic elements are not at least hinted at while operating silently in the background. Captain America: Civil War is quite simply a blast and encompasses all the best of a superhero team up movie; fantastic action, brilliant special effects, laughs, moments of reflection, villains to root against, heroes to root for, and the hope that out there is someone watching over us and keeping us safe from those things that wish to cause us harm. Are those heroes always perfect? No. Is Captain America: Civil War always perfect? No, but it sure as heck is fun to watch it come close.
Captain America: Civil War is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Daniel Brühl, William Hurt, Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, and Frank Grillo.