Captain America: Civil War will bring your faith back into superhero clashes.
The latest chapter of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a brave and daring dive into psychology and philosophy delivering an inspired metaphor of the pervasive anxieties in our real world. This may be hard to believe as many casual movie goers would like to view Civil War as just another superhero outing. But, the movie truly is way more than just an action adventure simply providing a bit more story into the Captain America mythos. Rather, it is a perfectly structured and intricately detailed piece of storytelling delivered through the magnificent vision provided by Anthony and Joe Russo.
The Nitty Gritty
Without delving too deeply into this masterpiece, I believe Captain America: Civil War is a perfect movie. I do not mean flawless. I mean that… just as the movie provides equal and satisfying parts to all of the costars from the other Marvel properties, Civil War provides equal elements that one would like to see in a summer flick. There is, of course, great action with beautiful choreography and thrilling scenes throughout. There are thought provoking characters who stances serve to simplify the otherwise complex debate between all the heroes, helping the audience to truly understand both sides in this lose/lose scenario. There is comedy as the movie does not take itself so seriously that it becomes depressing. Finally, there is a lot of emotion in this film. The drama behind all the glitz and the glam of the shiny suits and shield comes down to friend versus friend or family versus family. This movie is an excellent way to erase the bad taste left by Batman v. Superman.
*** WARNING: MINOR SPOILERS BELOW!!!***
From Page to Screen
Captain America: Civil War adapts the 7 issue comic book series of the same name that was introduced into the Marvel comic universe in 2006. In similar fashion, the events that lead to the world leaders creating a registration act and system for superheroes was created through tragedy. In the comic books, the tragedy and error of a heroic team was exponentially more destructive than what is used in the movies, but The Russo Brothers reflect that same essential ingredient into this movie with the death toll significantly lower, but with more worldly consequences. This translates into a realistic view that fits perfectly into the events that have transpired through the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far.
New Kids on the Block
The introduction of Black Panther and Spider-man were welcome additions to the movie and the cinematic universe as a whole.
Black Panther, played spectacularly by Chadwick Boseman, begins his costume donning career within this movie. His suit is a perfect adaption from comics to big screen and his fighting style is both graceful and deadly, fully taking on the behaviors of his namesake. More importantly, his character never truly joins any team as he has his own agenda and responsibilities to deal with, therefore making his character much more than a simple addition or attention grab.
Spider-Man on the other hand could have been a lot harder to pull off. With this being his third reboot and his origin already being threshed out twice cinematically, it made his inception into the Marvel U a bit tricky. Rather than rely on a new suit being cool or his action scenes being explosive, the studios relied on the acting ability of Tom Holland. The 19 year old actor delivers wonderfully. He has the awkwardness of a teenage genius yet the growth of a young man that knows his powers come with responsibility. His action scenes and look are as great as can be expected with a third iteration. But, what makes this Spider-Man great is his portrayal of Peter Parker. He has the nerd appeal of Tobey Maguire and the wise cracking boldness of Andrew Garfield all wrapped into a crowd pleasing, younger version of the friendly neighborhood hero from Queens.
The Avengers… Plus One
The rest of the cast returns from the previous movies delivering a variety of exceptional performances. Chris Evans (Captain America) and Robert Downey, Jr. (Iron Man) are impressive as always in their lead roles. Scarlett Johansson plays her role as a friend to all involved, often times seeming to be more of a big sister to the two leads. Paul Bettany (Vision) builds upon the mystery of his character that was introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, while Elizabeth Olsen shows growth by making the Scarlet Witch more confident and independent. Paul Rudd graciously brings the same amusement from Ant-Man, becoming a shining star in the biggest action sequence of the whole movie… the infamous “airport” scene.
For me, the standouts of this movie are with two of the main costars. Anthony Mackie (Falcon) and Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes) are extremely enjoyable carrying a lot of the humor, action and down to earth feel of this movie. Both have bigger roles than they originally had in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and boy do they earn them. Sebastian Stan almost seems to be the main character of this chapter as it is his growth, trial and tribulation that carry the film forward smoothly. With more action scenes and a lot more dialogue, he makes the Winter Soldier character not just interesting, but also respectable considering his villainous role in the previous Cap movie. Mackie’s Falcon also has a lot more action scenes and a bigger role in this one. He no longer is a guy just there to help his idol and friend. Now, he is a soldier that can hold his own in this battle amongst god-like individuals. Both characters play well off of each other, bringing the “we are friends because of Cap” relationship a very realistic and humorous feel.
So Much More than Just the War
When you break it down, Civil War is the battle between two ideals… The right of freedom and the need to control it to keep it secure. The adage, “Freedom isn’t free”, is the bare bones foundation to this movie and it is expressed through the need for all the superheroes to be held accountable of their actions. This debate is the climax of the character growth of both Captain America and Iron Man since their first movies. Cap has always fought against security through fear and being ordered to do something by people with possible nefarious agendas. Iron Man still wants to find a way to make the world safe regardless of whether it seems right or wrong. In his mind, if the limb may need to be cut off, he will just make the cut and create a new and improved one.
But, The Russo Brothers quickly incorporate more than just those two sides. They show the two types of soldiers with War Machine being the career military man and The Falcon caring more about his soldier brethren than following orders. They show friends fighting for what they believe in but still wanting to make sure that when all is said and done, the friendships will last through the battle. But primarily, among the entire varied dichotomy, they portray justice versus vengeance in a very real and human way. For me, this is the true highlight of this thoroughly entertaining film.
All in all, Captain America: Civil War is a great move and one of the best in the Marvel movie catalog. It has something for everyone and everyone will be able to find different elements that they will like about it. The true crowning achievement of this movie is how well The Russo Brothers successfully make the audience understand that neither side is right or wrong as both sides are justifiable at their core. It is a movie that deals with extreme and opposing views in a very intimate and compassionate way. The movie is excellent and is a must see.
Although, the movie does contain intense action scenes, there is a lot of dialogue that may cause younger viewers to lose interest at times. Other than that, the subject matter is suitable for all audiences. Enjoy!