CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is a very complicated film. With twelve superheroes, multiple plot lines and an assortment of action scenes, Marvel could have very easily found themselves with a confused mess. Trying to cram so much into one film can easily lead to elements important to the overall movie getting lost in the mix. Yet, the creative filmmakers behind this latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe have proven once again that they were up to the challenge, creating an exciting superhero film with an engaging story filled with a lot of twists that work in a very smart, exciting and sometimes emotional way. Continue reading for more of our CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR review.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR picks up where AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON left off, as the Avengers (Minus a few key players) continue with their mission to protect humanity. After an international incident involving the superheroes results in some devastating collateral damage, a worldwide outcry is created and a political decision is made to have all the superheroes and their actions regulated by a governing body. This new status quo fractures the Avengers as Iron Man and Captain America find themselves with differing opinions on how to deal with it, while also having to protect the world from a new villain who is mysteriously digging into the Winter Soldier’s past.
The film’s script is very involved, juggling more than its share of elements. It’s loaded with an abundance of action, plot twists and character conflicts – both internal and external. Fortunately, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have done a great job balancing everything out. They effectively mix all the twists and turns in the plot with the right amount of emotional moments to create an engaging story filled with an amazing ensemble of superheroes who feel like real people going through real moments of human emotions. Whether it’s Captain America (Chris Evans) wanting to stand by his misunderstood friend Bucky while Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) tries to bring him to justice or Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) emotionally dealing with feelings of regret after a disastrous mistake made during the opening action scene, all the characters are given moments to allow their true emotions to be explored without ever feeling false.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo keep everything moving at an even pace. The action scenes are exciting, because they work on two levels. Whereas some filmmakers create action scenes and use visual effects just for the “wow factor,” the Russo brothers have created something special by making sure that all the action is motivated by character. Every move made has a purpose based on the emotions or ideals of the characters involved. The big battle scene in the film’s center is big and loud. The effects are impressive and watching twelve superheroes battle it out is rather exciting. What makes it even more powerful though is that it’s not just a bunch of characters fighting, but well rounded people whom we have gotten to know beforehand, fighting for the beliefs that are central to the movies themes. The action scenes have been given a purpose, instead of just being thrown in because it’s time for an action scene.
Everyone in the cast is exceptional. They continue to add new depth to the characters they have already been portraying throughout the course of multiple movies, showing a respect to where the heroes came from and staying relatively faithful to the characters that fans have grown to love over so many decades. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. take center stage playing the lead characters on different sides of the thematic fence. Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier adds to this conflict as the friend that Captain America wants to protect. Stan brings some real humanity to the internal conflict that the Winter Soldier has. He is a man who wants to do the right thing, but is still dealing with the aftermath of Hydra’s brainwashing. The climactic turn at the end of the film that causes the final confrontation works on a really strong level because of the way that these three leads handle their characters singularly, as well as in relation to one another.
I have to admit that the two characters that work the best for me though are the two that appear only as cameos. Paul Rudd is amazing as Ant-Man, bringing in some real humor as he geeks out over getting to meet the rest of the Avengers. He actually has what I think is the best moment in the film, but I won’t spoil it here. Tom Holland is also effective as the new Spider-Man. As a big fan of SPIDER-MAN 2 and Tobey Maguire’s performance, I have to admit I think Holland is stronger in the role. He gives a great performance as a teen trying to deal with his new-found powers while also wisecracking his way through the big fight that he seems so happy to be involved in. After the last two AMAZING SPIDER-MAN films I really thought I had enough of the web-slinger, but thanks to Holland’s performance I now find myself wanting more. Lets also give kudos to the filmmakers for answering a question I have always had regarding Spidey, “How does someone with so little money afford that suit?”
After witnessing the cinematic mess Warner Brothers’ presented with BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, I was glad we didn’t have to wait too long for Marvel to step it up and show the DC Universe how it’s done. With CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Marvel gives us the cinematic superhero showdown fans have been wanting for a long time. It’s a satisfying thrill-ride that takes its characters seriously, while still having fun with the story and action. At a time when some moviegoers are beginning to think that too many superhero films are being released and some are even growing tired of the genre, I say that as long as Marvel keeps giving us real stories with real heroes similar to this, than let the reign of superhero movies continue.