Marvel’s third phase of their cinematic universe kicks off with the best entry of the entire catalog. Captain America: Civil War shrugs off the trend of a horrible trilogy film and instead kicks us right in the feels for a two and a half hour ride full of spectacle, Avengers characters, and reeling reveals. While many people suggest that 13 is an unlucky number, I feel Marvel has bucked all preconceived notions and in doing so, changed the status quo for the next 9 films that will be talked about for years to come.
Civil War may look and feel like an Avengers film, but it is not. To me, the movie captures what a lot of people had issues with during Phase 2, in that these characters teamed up during Avengers, but where were they during their own movie-creating circumstances? We never found out, but now we get to see what happens when everyone is involved in a character film. Minus the inclusion of Hulk, Thor, and Nick Fury, every character gets at least one highlight moment if not more throughout the film’s running, but at the core, this is Steve Roger’s journey to clear the name of his best friend.
Speaking of characters, the must-see Airport fight sequence is worth the price of admission alone. While many have claimed it’s not ‘enough characters’ compared to the comic book Civil War, those nay-sayers obviously didn’t see the movie yet. Which is also to say, this is mostly an homage to the material in which the name was derived. Stand out performances include RDJ as Tony Stark, as always. Since it isn’t an Avengers film, we don’t get his full story since Ultron, but every action he takes in this film is an emotional one, usually in reaction to a larger bit of information or news. His reactionary role is what provides his stance on the Sokovia Accords and only sways one person to his line of thinking. The rest of his team are more sympathetic, including the great introduction of T’Challa and the Black Panther mythos. Spider-Man joining feels the most out of place (did he sign the Accords? Is he an Avenger full-time now?) but he steals the show for every second he’s there. Marvel gets Spider-Man and next year, his own film will probably knock our socks off.
Yet I digress, from the true hero here, Captain America. Chris Evans brings thoughtfulness, devotion, and has elevated the character from humble beginnings in his 2011 origin film to probably better/higher quality content than RDJ gets with Iron Man in the past few years. Bucky also has some of the greatest action/fighting scenes throughout as he’s more of a hand-to-hand brawler with a sweet apartment setup (function over form). He’s just as great here as in the Winter Soldier and hopefully we see more of him in the buildup to Infinity War. The Falcon also steals his scenes as a support character. His new tech upgrades are cool, but he’s very capable of tackling a lot of situations on his own and saves some ass occasionally. Coming in close to third is Ant-Man, a late-comer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but definitely upped the ante in the Airport scene, with surprise action and clever use of his powers. On point, Paul Rudd.
We also see some Scarlet Witch and Vision moments, Hawkeye shows up, Black Widow is awesome early on, and War Machine is there as, well, the only person to agree with Tony for the most part. Even with all of these characters, they never get in the way of the film or feel they hinder the Captain America story arc, which has a great closing by the end of the film. We’re not done with Steve Rogers, nor do we want to be, but how and where he shows up over the next few years will keep people speculating, including us.
The story is straightforward, although the actual Sokovia Accords and their ramifications take the backseat to a larger plot orchestrated by Zemo. The tides and plans shift quite a bit, but it is definitely another great plot with a villain that is in the upper echelon of Marvel’s properties. Without delving much into it, this is again, an emotional journey that takes our main characters on a ride and leaves them in new places by the time the credits roll. This film takes bold stances against common tropes as well, probably cementing the fact they can be bold in doing what they want, without trying to employ shock value throughout their series.
After repeat viewings, Captain America: Civil War is without a doubt, my Empire Strikes Back of the Marvel films. While other films before it were good, this takes them and improves upon them exponentially. The ending will leave you wishing there was more and that much more anticipated for phase 3’s offerings, including newcomers Black Panther and Spider-Man. Keeping in mind that this is Steve Roger’s story and his relationship with Bucky/The Winter Soldier, helps elevate Civil War even higher and is one of those films that gets better on repeat viewings. It isn’t a perfect film throughout, rarely anything is, but this is damn near close even without the Marvel name. Captain America: Civil War raises the bar to heights never before thought possible and I couldn’t be happier.
Captain America: Civil War
4.75 out of 5
Enjoy the Superhero Slate and I’ll update this post when my full review is written!
ComicUI will be at the Motor City Comic Con this weekend in Detroit area, so feel free to catch us there as well!