By Nick Hintz
In “Captain America: Civil War”, political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) that results in dividing earth’s mightiest heroes.
The big concern going into this film was the size of the cast. As frequently commented, for a Captain America “solo” film, it has the cast of essentially “Avengers 2.5.” With that being said, the large amount of characters were handled really well in the film. Each Avenger gets a few story beats and their moment “in the spotlight” while Captain America and Iron Man carry the bulk of the film. This leads to really my only issue as far as the amount of cast and how each character is used. Civil War feels like a combo of Iron Man 4 and Captain America 3 with a dash of Avengers for good measure instead of just a Captain America. This, of course, is certainly not a bad thing. Iron Man and Captain America really do well playing against each other and each character is explored in depth. Robert Downey Jr. shows a new side of Tony Stark that we haven’t seen in any of the Iron Man or Avengers films, and it really works to expand upon his character. Meanwhile, on the other side, Chris Evans’ Steve Rodgers is really taken to his core in this film, and you really get to see what makes his character tick.
Highly anticipated in this film was the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debuts of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and what welcome editions to this ever expanding universe they are. Marvel thankfully spares everyone from a third Spider-Man origin story in recent history, and instead introduces him six months into his “super heroism.” Tom Holland brings new life into the character and is a welcome breath of fresh air for the character. Chadwick Boseman once again shows his incredible acting skills in portraying T’Challa / Black Panther. His performance added a nice level of weight to the character and story, especially considering his interest in the “civil war” is very small. The two are great editions to this film, and work well with the host of other characters involved. Even so, the two balance each other out. Black Panther brings a certain amount seriousness to the story, while Spider-Man serves as great comedic relief. Of course, I should mention that like most Marvel films, Civil War had two end credit sequences which go on to further setup Black Panther and Spider-Man for the respective solo films. Not only is Civil War a solid movie in and of itself, but it also works to get fans excited for the next installments of the MCU.
Civil War has a lot of great action sequences. Right from the start you see the New Avengers taking on Crossbones (Frank Grillo), in full costume this time, and the pace continues throughout. The epic act two battle between Team Iron Man and Team Captain America looks absolutely stunning. Plus, there is also the great imagery in the fight between Iron Man and Captain America with images seemingly lifted straight out of the pages of the comic books.
The story in the film is largely character driven, yet Civil War deals with some complex themes of accountability and what impact the Avengers have when they go about, well… avenging.The events of the film definitely have a large impact on the MCU which would be very interesting to see going forward. With its serious subject, there are plenty of moments of humor (plus a particularly humorous Stan Lee cameo). Particularly, Paul Rudd does well as his usual lovable self in portraying Ant-Man and along with Spider-Man, is one of the funnier characters of the movie. However, I did feel that some of the humor was oddly placed, especially during the large team battle.
The bottom line for Captain America: Civil War is that it is simply one of Marvel’s best films to date. It really explores its characters and has great action sequences to boot. I recommend seeing it, but with one caveat, do your homework. We are likely past the “point of no return” for the MCU, meaning that in order to get whats going on, you should be familiar with the other films in the MCU. For this particular film, that means if you have not seen at least “Captain America: The First Avenger”, “The Avengers”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, and “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, you may want to at least familiarize yourself with them or you may be left very confused by some of the plot lines.
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