The 2016 summer movie season is upon us, so you know that means that Marvel has their latest to kick things off. This year’s film is the highly anticipated Captain America: Civil War, the third of the Captain America-centric films and the 12th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe over at Disney. Hype has been huge for this film since it’s the film that finally pits Cap against his allies, primarily Robert Downey, Jr.’s Tony Stark. In a sense, this is Marvel’s answer to March’s Batman v Superman, in which two heroic titans fight each other over something. In fact, Batman v Superman was originally scheduled to open May 6th against Civil War, but chickened out once news broke that Downey, Jr., a box office juggernaut when playing Iron Man, would co-star. Also joining the duo are essentially every Avenger minus Thor and Hulk (they’ll star together in next summer’s Thor: Ragnarok). I’m also very happy to report that Civil War is a blast, and one of Marvel’s finest cinematic ventures yet.
Chris Evans once again plays the Cap, Steve Rogers, mere months after the events of the last Avengers film. After a catastrophic episode in Lagos, the U.S. government forces The Avengers to sign the Sokovia Accords, which were enacted after the events in Age of Ultron and at the beginning of the film. The government feels that the heroes must be held accountable for their actions, and will be sanctioned by the government. Stark agrees to this, along with James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), the Vision (Paul Bettany), and Black Panther in his first cinematic appearance by Chadwick Boseman. However, Cap and his buddies don’t agree to this, hence the Civil War begins between our two heroes.
The film was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, who directed the last Captain America film and are directing the upcoming epic two-part Avengers film Infinity War. And like that last Captain America film, Civil War is wildly entertaining and a blast to watch from beginning to end. The film is littered with action, with a fantastic sequence in the Berlin airport, but it’s also very story-oriented. There’s room for these characters to grow and breath in the film, which is a welcome change of pace. While nearly all of the cinematic Avengers appear in this film, this is still a Captain America-oriented tale, and its kind of fascinating to watch his struggle with these Accords since’s he’s always been called a “boy scout” by his companions. It’s also interesting to see his conflict with his old friend Bucky, aka The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who is still being hunted down by the government for reasons I won’t give away.
It also helps that for a character-oriented superhero film that the acting is stellar from every actor. Downey, Jr. can essentially play Stark in his sleep at this point and he’d still be incredibly funny and witty in the role. Chris Evans also gives another fantastic turn as the Captain, proving that Evans is THE actor to play this role. Elizabeth Olsen returns as the Scarlett Witch, and she’s really fantastic in the film. She kicks a whole lot of ass, and is slowly becoming one of the standout characters in these films. I also really liked Daniel Bruhl’s role as Barron Zemo, the film’s antagonist. He wasn’t this big badass or anything like that. He was a more unassuming villain, and one of the standouts in the MCU since their villains have always been lacking.
As great as everybody else was, I really want to touch upon our two new additions to the MCU. Let’s begin with Chadwick Boseman as the Black Panther. He’s fantastic, and the unbelievably talented actor will be one of the highlights of the MCU when the Black Panther film roles around in a few years. But the juggernaut in this film is the introduction to Spider-Man. Marvel now has the rights to the character, and they have finally nailed the perfect cinematic interpretation of the legendary character. Tom Holland nails the role, and that standalone Spider-Man flick coming out next summer can’t get here soon enough. Kevin Feige and the guys over at Marvel nailed how Spider-Man moves and talks, and I was laughing out loud at nearly every comedic beat that Holland was hitting. He’s in the film for a few scenes, but he stole the show each time. You’re really going to like this interpretation of Spider-Man, and this is coming from a long time fan who was horribly disappointed with the most recent Spider-Man flicks.
There’s also a heightened emotion to the stakes between the characters in this film. A sequence in which Iron Man and Cap are wailing at each other is even more emotional knowing that we’ve been watching these two on-screen for nearly a decade now, and watching two heroes that we love fight each other like dogs is honestly a little bit heartbreaking. Its emotion like this that was missing in the Batman v Superman fight. I hadn’t gained a love or appreciation for the cinematic interpretations of those two characters, so I could’ve cared less about the outcome of that fight. I really hope that DC is taking note on how to do a proper “versus” film if they plan on doing another bloated 3 hour headache of a film. Also, the runtime really worked in Civil War. Running a little over two and a half hours, it never dragged on. It was the perfect runtime for such a big and epic film.
All in all, I had a blast with Civil War. I don’t really have any outstanding complaints with the film just because it was so damn fun and entertaining. If you liked the last couple of Marvel films like I did, chances are you’re going to like this one. If there’s one complaint I have its that Marvel doesn’t try anything new or unique with their formula, but that’s actually just fine. They found what works best in their films a few years back, and they don’t really need to stray away from it. The masses love it, and so do I. This film will probably make a billion worldwide in the next few weeks, so you’ll definitely have some time to go check this one out whenever you do.