Captain America: Civil War (2016) movie review

(If you’ve not read my reviews on the previous Captain America flicks, The First Avenger, and Winter Soldier then please go check those out now)

It’s here. The movie we’ve all been waiting for.

Without a doubt, this is the best Captain America film within the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) that we’ve received so far. If you know me, then you may think that I’m swayed in saying that because of my love for Spider-Man; while I’ll admit that the best scenes in this movie are the ones containing Spidey (in my humble opinion, at least), I will make it clear now that there are many more reasons for me saying a statement like that.

For starters, the plot is much easier to keep up with than the prior Cap. A film that we received. In fact, I’d say the plot, all around, was much easier to digest then both previous films, as The First Avenger felt like it was trailing after a story that involved Red Skull, rather than being involved with it, and Winter Soldier was slightly drew out something that didn’t need to be. I’m not going to act like this flick doesn’t draw it out a bit (I mean, with a run time of 2 and a half hours, you can only assume that at least a whole third of that is plain action), but I think the reveal at the end, followed by the final fight, is what really makes up for some of the lacklustre parts.

So, what’s happening this time in the MCU? The Avengers team are informed that there have been many complaints from multiple places complaining about the havoc they’re wreaking from the previous fights we’ve seen them encounter during the releases over the last few years. Because of this, the government want them to leave S.H.I.E.L.D and sign a contract to say they’ll work only under government orders; this is what starts the conflict between some characters, as Captain America isn’t as willing to give in as some of the other team members. So, what causes them to fight? Cap. A’s friend Bucky (aka The Winter Soldier) is under suspicion of causing a major attack, which Rogers wants to prove has nothing to do with his friend. However, it’s the rest of the Avengers’ mission to stop him and Winter Soldier and lock them both away. But in the attempt to prove his friend is innocent, Captain America calls for backup from other hero who are willing to fight Iron Man’s team.

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I like how the audience are left in the dark about whether we can trust Winter Soldier for a fair bit of the film, as we’re shown there is another villain but we don’t know if Bucky is using his and Rogers’ past to his advantage to help the man behind it all, or whether Bucky is the one being used. It makes for an interesting development throughout, because for at least half the film the audience is given the chance to decide whether they’re on Team Cap or Team Iron. It’s a nice change to laying everything out for the audience, like most films do; it works especially because once we’re shown the whole picture of what’s going on, viewers can still be torn by wanting ‘the other side’ of the fight to see why they’re wrong. I think this really works well for the overall plot and ending, as it gets in the way of any resolution for a fair amount of the feature, and you’re in the dark to whether they can work things out by the end.

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It’s clear that Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) was a little shoehorned into this feature as a way to set up for a solo movie (of which, a teaser is shown as our first end credit scene), as we’re not given much about him throughout – other than for vengeance on Winter Soldier for the death of his father. Considering we’ve never had a film on him before, I feel they squandered the opportunity to allow casual fans (i.e. anyone who’s only knowledge on superheroes is via movies, and possibly the occasional comic – just generally no more interest beyond that) to really learn anything about him, which, in turn, leads to little interest in him. This isn’t to say that I think his solo film will be a flop because of this, at all. Simply, we could have been given the chance to be a little more excited/interested had we been given more insight into who he is as a character – beyond the mask.

When you compare his reveal to the new Spider-Man (Tom Holland), it’s really highlighted how little casual fans are given to be excited for a solo movie on him. I mean, we all know Spider-Man to some extent: he has hypersensitive senses, Uncle Ben dies, he fights Green Goblin, he shoots webs to catch criminals, the head of a newspaper company hates him. Point being, whether you’ve only watched a movie or two on him, keep up with the comics, watched the cartoons as a kid, or all of the above and more, you know at least a little about Peter Parker and his Spider-like powers; so having only a couple scenes with the new Spidey in, and a teaser at the end of the film, is enough for anyone who views Civil War to be satisfied with what we’re given, and fans of any extent to be excited for his solo comeback next year. When you compare this to Black Panther, though, you can see why I’m a little underwhelmed with what we were given. I know he’s only a minor part of this film’s plot, but I still would have liked more on him for an introduction to the MCU.

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Without a doubt, this is the best portrayal of Spider-Man we’ve been given, yet. I’m hyped as heck for Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

As was the case for the last Captain A movie, the acting and directing all around was great. It’s really clear that everyone involved in these films care about what they’re making, and each of the actors really want to do everything they can in giving the best portrayal they can on such beloved characters. (I’m also, personally, loving the cameos from the cast of Community (2009 – 2015) in each of these Marvel films that the Russo brothers are giving us.) The only complaint I have in regards to actors is Martin Freeman; why in the name of Jesus/Buddha/Spongebob was he giving an American accent. His strong British accent is one of the best things about having him in a film. Honestly, what’s the point in hiring him if you’re going to ruin his best feature like that?

Overall, this new Marvel release is definitely worth watching, and worth the excite. I think the best way to sum it up is with something my friend said as we left the film theatre last night: “That was everything Batman vs Superman [2016] should have been, but wasn’t.”

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