The Captain America franchise has set itself apart from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (so far) with a less cartoonish approach to its stories. Civil War tackles collateral damage from superheroes.
The interesting twist is that Steve Rogers, the straight-arrow patriot, opposes the UN. Tony Stark, the cynical genius/billionaire/playboy/philanthropist, approves of the Sokovia Accords.
All hell breaks loose and we’re given what The Avengers has teased since the first ensemble movie – biological-enhanced super-soldier Captain America vs. robot-powered Iron Man.
The Russo brothers’ decision to focus on Bourne-style action sequences pays off, as the movie offers highly enjoyable superpowered fight scenes that have Black Widow do more than hair flipping and effectively introduce new faces to the roster.
If you’re wondering how Spider-Man’s web hold-up against Captain America’s strength and if Panther’s claws are sharp enough to damage the shield, you’re in luck. This attention to detail combined with mano-a-mano fight scenes is refreshing from all the CGI-manufactured mayhem that has become stale over the years.
There’s a lot of dialogue, but the solid performances from the cast provide the needed conviction for the characters. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. have finally something to work with – the movie puts their character development to good use after being squandered away in Age of Ultron.
The rest of the cast is great, with well-placed twists that don’t betray their characters. Paul Rudd and Tom Holland added the needed levity to the film. Marvel proves once again that they’re good at casting with Chadwick Boseman.
Marvel’s franchise-building machinery appears once again and takes advantage of the ensemble picture. Civil War doesn’t provide anything new outside of its creator’s cinematic universe. It merely continues previously established themes and wraps up loose threads while also serving as a platform for up-and-coming features.
The first half of the movie is bloated, then we get the hyped-up team showdown in scattered skirmishes at an airport lot.
Fortunately though, Captain America: Civil War is executed well enough to make up for these flaws. It’s a smart superhero movie, an oddity in the mega-million franchise-driven Hollywood industry.
It poses interesting questions about well-intended but catastrophic derring-do in today’s paranoid world. In the end, the movie also shows us that superpowers don’t exempt anyone from human fallibility as The Avengers’ real enemy, is indeed itself.
More importantly, Civil War is a much-needed change of pace from the Marvel template.
Captain America: Civil War
Captain American: Civil War is a surprisingly smart MCU entry with gritty action and the much anticipated showdown between Captain America and Iron Man.