Captain America Civil War Review
Captain America Civil War Review
The previous Captain America films have all shaken up the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The First Avenger added history and depth to the universe while The Winter Soldier contained dramatic developments for S.H.I.E.L.D, Cap and his ex-ally Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier. Captain America Civil War continues this trend by pitting Cap’s former allies against him, this time over the Sokovia Accords, an agreement between the governments of countries around the world that these Avengers need to be kept under a closer watch and operate under stricter governmental control. The film also serves as a direct sequel to The Winter Soldier as Bucky’s actions past and present come under scrutiny. There’s a lot to Captain America Civil War, including sprawling action, the introduction of a new character in Black Panther and a returning one in Spider-Man. Thankfully, directors and writers Anthony and Joe Russo prove themselves worthy of the task once more.
The plot of Captain America Civil War revolves around Bucky Barnes and his past misdeeds as the Winter Soldier. Despite being on the run, Bucky has regained many of his faculties and no longer wants to harm anyone when Zemo, played by Daniel Bruhl frames Bucky for an attack on a government building where the Sokovia Accords are being signed. Zemo’s plan to essentially destroy the Avengers from within doesn’t come off as maniacal or evil for evil’s sake and he does have motivation for doing so. The story has flashbacks to Bucky’s training and conditioning under the Soviets and his past plays into the rift between Cap and Tony Stark in a brilliant and satisfying way. Bucky’s story has been a favourite of mine since The Winter Soldier and Sebastian Stan plays the haunted Bucky really well in this film. Cap’s loyalty to Bucky is questioned throughout the film and the Russo brothers manage to muddy the water in this film and it isn’t necessarily clear if one side is better than the other.
For a film with some pretty serious material, the writers put plenty of amusing moments and scenes into the script. A special mention must go to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker/Spider-Man who is everything fans would hope he would be as he quips with the other Marvel characters and web slings around. Thankfully, the writers didn’t feel the need to retread Spider-Man’s origin for what feels like the hundredth time. Ant-Man’s introduction and use during the big airport fight scene is also pretty spectacular and several of the characters have good moments of levity. Although the film keeps Captain America at its heart, there’s so much going on here and it is handled with a deft touch. From Scarlet Witch’s ideological journey, Black Panther’s grief and Tony Stark’s guilt, there are various moments and touches of character development which elevate the film to another level. This scattershot approach though does mean less focus on the lead character and I could have done with a few more scenes of downtime with Cap and his thoughts on the Accords in particular.
Captain America Civil War isn’t perfect but in my opinion it is better than last year’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron which was less cohesive in terms of story. Once again, Marvel doesn’t quite handle the villain of the piece as effectively as it could. Daniel Bruhl has plenty of charisma here and unlike some other Marvel villains actually has believable motivations for his actions however his back story is a bit too rushed. Perhaps though it can be forgiven when there is so much more going on in Civil War and the main draw of this film is the heroes. Some oversights are less forgivable such as an ending that feels too much like setup for future movies and a lack of resolution. Some aspects of the plot aren’t explained too well either like why Hawkeye needs to be in the film when he’s supposedly retired.
The third installment of Captain America’s journey contains plenty of action, humour and world-changing events. The Russo Brothers have proven they can not only handle Cap and the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also the entire stable of characters who all have room to grow and evolve. For comic book fans the film is a pleasure to watch as you see characters that you’ve only read about fighting each other on the big screen. Although not everything falls neatly into place in the film, Captain America Civil War is another worthy addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.