Captain America: Civil War - Review

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Millions of comicbook fans' dreams came true when Marvel announced that the next Captain America movie would be an adaptation of one of the most popular Marvel storyarchs out there - Civil War.
Pitting Captain America/Steve Rogers against Tony Stark/Iron Man and their respective followers, Civil War is presented as one of the more dramatic entries in Marvel's Cinematic Universe boasting a tragic "brother vs. brother" story.
Question is whether Marvel continues its streak of succesful movies with Civil War or if the movie featuring a comparable premise like "Batman v Superman" will fail equally?...




The plot:
After another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps, one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark's surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.
Source: IMDb




Captain America: Civil War has quite some expectations set for it by fans, which the movie for the most part delivers to make for yet another solid albeit not outstanding entry in the huge Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Civil War features the typical Marvel trademark of a good mix of action, humor and drama in a this time more grounded storyline. It's an overally satisfying, pretty extensive and entertaining package on most fronts even despite some misssteps here and there in the form of some clunkily handeled political aspects and character origins.
 
Welcome to the mini Avengers movie.

"Captain America: Civil War" is of course based on the popular Marvel comicbook storyarch of the same name, which questions the freedom of superheroes and whether they should stand under governmental regulations, orders and supervision in order to have their oftentimes destructive actions controlled.
While the topic in itself is actually handeled quite well as a whole in Civil War, the movie has undeniable and obvious aspects in the debate that appear as if they are just utterly glazed over or even blatenedly ignored. And though this occasionally comes over as somewhat annoying at times, the movie nevertheless sure enough does a great job in avoiding to place Tony Stark and his followers entirely into the place of the bad guys by giving actually some pretty good arguments for either sides and perspectives onto the conflict (although it's still implied that the movie wants you to root for Captain America of course since it's his movie after all).
Yet, as already said, some of the most dominant arguments repeated throughout the movie oftentimes can feel a bit heavy handed and exaggerated, as for example the fact that it's just somewhat ignored how many human lives the Avengers saved despite there (of course) being some unavoidable casualties (just like in any war or counter-terrorist operation), or the fact that after a short while some members of the Avengers are suddenly treated as if they would have severe problems to even control themselves or their powers (this is the case in particular for Scarlet Witch)
The naggings here regarding some of the arguments in the conflict aren't enough to make the entire Civil War conflict as a whole nonsensical or less serious, yet it indeed doesn't make it entirely 100% convincing if you really think about it.

The political aspects are thought provoking but not perfect.

However, other than that though, being a Captain America movie, Civil War actually feels more like somewhat of a mini-Avengers movie considering all the involved characters with just a slightly bigger focus on the relationship between Captain America, Tony Stark and Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier). Other characters involved in the movie are mostly just dragged into the situation due to their stance on either side of the conflict. Aside from the political debate in the movie, the emotional and more personal dispute between Cap, Tony and Bucky is acutally pretty immersively handeled though and gives a nice main dramatic thread throughout the movie, despite some quite predictable twists, turns and outcomes that play some tricky situations a bit safe.
Furthermore, tonally speaking, Civil War is far not as straightforwardly dramatic and tragic as some trailers might make it out to be. After all, Civil War is a Marvel movie which are almost always very good at balancing tone. And while Civil War is of course more grounded than other Marvel movies regarding its more personal and politically driven themes, Civil War nevertheless manages to also make this more tragic tale of "brother vs brother" involve some great humor that fits very well during its scenes without feeling forced at all. An achievement that was in comparison severeley lacking in the overly brooding "Batman v Superman" that boasted a similar premise.

Expect the usual well balanced blend of action, humor and drama.

While the usual main protagonists like Captain America, Tony Stark and the Winter Soldier get their good share of character development mainly through their ongoing main conflict during the Civil War (which for them especially also takes place on a personal level), it's especially the newly introduced sidecharacters (who aren't Avengers) which come off as the most interesting to look at and experience in Civil War.
Starting off with Black Panther aka T'Challa, he is a completely new character introduced for the first time in Civil War. And while his motivations to get involved in the main conflict and to side with Tony Stark are simple and convincing enough, his origin story (if he even has one) is anything but. Boasting only an extremely thin and somewhat confusing explanation as to why this African prince somehow has a high-tech superhero suit and acts as a superhero after all, sure enough his battle skills and moves during action scenes are cool but those are the only truely positive aspects about his character. Aside from the action, Black Panther comes over as somewhat egoistical and ignorant in Civil War, making it hard to truely root for his revenge motivations throughout the movie, and even harder to truely be excited about his planned standalone movie.

Where did you get that high-tech superhero suit again?

Taking a look now at one of the bigger newcomers to the MCU - Spider-Man:
After the fail of the "Amazing Spider-Man" movies from Sony, the character of Spider-Man is finally at home in the MCU with his first big showup taking place in Civil War.
With now young teenage actor Tom Holland acting as a much younger (and more comic book accurate) depiction of Peter Parker, Holland turns out as a great pick to play the part.
Even though Spider-Man is very sparingly used in the movie and basically only really shows up during the airport fight scene, his involvement in the movie is really not essential to the plot (and even feels a bit shoved in) but nevertheless is more than welcome due to his high entertainment value. This new Peter Parker/Spider-Man feels great in being an insecure yet also somewhat reckless teenager complete with quirky humor that leads to some awesome comedic interactions with the other more serious superheroes.
It sure enough is still a bit too early to tell whether he is the best Spider-Man we ever saw on the big screen, yet his introduction in Civil War sure enough should raise the hype for "Spider-Man: Homecoming" considerably.

Welcome home, Spidey.

Yet what sadly comes off as by far the most disappointing aspect about Civil War is its main villain, Daniel Brühl as the mysterious mastermind Zemo. Quickly turning out to have a big evil plan to exploit the conflict between the Avengers, the viewer will immediately get suckered into speculations about who exactly this Zemo character is. Unfortunately though, on top of being quite forgettable of a performance, Zemo's plan ultimately shows to have quite some weird plot holes in it with the biggest flaw though being his extremely underwhelming motivations and origin.
Going into more detail about exactly why his character turns out to be so disappointing would go too much into spoiler territory, however, viewers definitely shouldn't expect any memorable villain to turn out of Zemo in Civil War.

Finding Zemo? - Apparently not really worth it.

Regarding the action scenes, Marvel once again shows that it's absolutely at its best when showing off a team of superheroes fighting alltogether at the same time.
With that said, Civil War is of course full of awesomely choreographed and very creative action scenes. From an anti-terror operation in Africa, over a very intense chase scene between Cap, Winter Soldier, Black Panther and the German Police, to the standout big airport fight scene between TeamCap and TeamStark, viewers expecting great action scenes will of course be more than pleased with what Civil War has to offer. Especially the airport fight scene is a great achievement in having each superhero fight with one another and showing off their own specific personalities and powers at the same time complete with comedic bits thrown in. Civil War fully takes advantage of Marvel's succesful entertainment formula without having the action feel as "been-there-done-that" as in Age of Ultron thanks to a way more consistently creative action choreography.

The airport battle scene is rightfully THE standout action scene in the movie.

Overall, "Captain America: Civil War" is yet another solid entry in Marvel's Cinematic Universe that for a change delves deeper into more grounded, personal and also political themes regarding the globally influencing actions and power of the Avengers and superheroes as a whole. Giving way to equal amounts of emotional drama, humor and action, Civil War once again shows off Marvel's great talent of balancing tones in its great entertaining package.
Said package though isn't entirely flawless, keeping Civil War from reaching the same heights as its predecessor "Captain America: Winter Soldier". With that said, the main center conflict regarding the governmental regulations of superheroes in some instances appears quite a bit one-sided and occasionally completely ignoring the fact that despite numerous casualties during the battles, a way higher number of human lives has actually been saved. Similarly heavy handed is also the origin of newly introduced superhero Black Panther and especially the woefully disappointing true identity of antagonist character Zemo.

Yet even with the movies undoubtful shortcomings here and there, those cannot distract from the fact that as a whole Civil War is nevertheless rock solid Marvel entertainment. While it might not exactly refreshen the superhero movie fatigue some moviefans might experience nowadays, fans of Marvel's successful entertainment formula will exactly get what they came for from this mini Avengers that actually turns out to be better than the actual "Avengers: Age of Ultron".



Final Verdict: 7 out of 10

 

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