Review: Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War takes the Marvel Cinematic Universe to an entirely different level, says


Image: Marvel Studios

Image: Marvel Studios

After months of anticipation, Captain America: Civil War finally hit cinema screens in the UK last week and it most certainly delivered. Loosely based on the ‘Civil War’ comic book run, this film uses the best of Marvel’s assets to create an intense conflict between two factions of heroes, dividing the superhero community in two and forging cracks that will most likely never heal. Unlike any other Marvel movie, with the exception of the two team-up Avengers films, Captain America: Civil War fully utilises the expanded cinematic universe that Marvel has been growing for over a decade. With the exception of the Hulk and Thor who are absent from the film entirely, every hero is present and has their own unique and interesting response to the Sokovia accords. Each character had their own moment to shine during the film, never once feeling like they had been wedged in simply for fan service. Captain America: Civil War is a continuation of all that is great about Marvel films, whilst also propelling the franchise forward into bigger and brighter things in the future.

As brilliant as Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. were in their respective leading roles as Captain America and Iron Man, we have come to expect nothing less than excellence from them and in Captain America: Civil War, it is actually the more ‘minor’ characters who shine the brightest. The real star of the film has got to be Tom Holland’s Spider-Man. When it was first announced that we would be seeing Peter Parker return to the big screen again for the third time, many of us were left questioning: do we really want to see another Spider-Man reboot? After Civil War, it would be fair to say that we’re all extremely hyped for Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017. Holland was the perfect casting for fans of the wise-cracking web-slinger of Queens’ comic books. We may have only seen him on-screen for around 30 minutes, but those were the most exciting and memorable moments of the entire film. The Russo brothers were extremely wise in not subjugating audiences to another Spidey origin story, something that we’ve seen twice before. This meant that Holland could swing straight into the action amongst the MCU’s biggest stars without missing a beat. Spider-Man was perfect, enough said.

Over on Team Cap, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man was standing tall (quite literally). Despite my scepticism about last year’s Ant-Man, in Civil War his character really knocked it out of the park. As a huge fan of the franchise, I had pretty much anticipated the majority of what was going to happen during the film, but when Rudd became Giant-Man I was completely taken aback. In his own film, Lang was only capable of shrinking the suit back and forth from miniscule to his normal height, so seeing him grow to a humungous size was quite the surprise. A lot has clearly been going on since Ant-Man. Not only in regards to Giant-Man but also with Lang having tactically shrunk vehicles at hand to use whenever he likes, a lot like Pym’s use of the tank in the standalone film. He has definitely gone up in my estimations.

Although I have already invested a lot of space in merely discussing the roles of two characters within the film, I would just like to challenge the criticism that I have seen circulating around that Captain America: Civil War is ‘overcrowded’. Admittedly there are a lot of characters within the film, but by no means is this poorly handled or confusing if you have watched the prior films in the series. As the title suggests, the film centres around Captain America. If you were to boil it down, the key players in the film are: Captain America, the Winter Soldier, Iron Man, Black Widow and Helmut Zemo. The rest are effectively supporting cast and with the likes of Ant-Man, for example, a lack of knowledge of their background will not damage your experience of the plot. Furthermore, if Civil War is the first film in the MCU that you’ve ever seen then you are bound to be a little lost. That is your fault, not the film studio that is catering to its devote (and quite frankly, huge) fan base. You wouldn’t watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 or The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and complain that you don’t know all of the characters and their motives. Heaven help these critics when Infinity War comes around!

Captain America: Civil War is a spectacular addition to the Marvel franchise and the only criticisms that I for it are very minimal. First of all, I wish T’challa was a little fleshed out, but as suggested above this wasn’t his film and we’d should expect him to take centre stage. Effectively, Civil War just serves as his origin story so that he can be developed upon in his own standalone film in 2018. Secondly, I felt that Scarlet Witch and Vision’s romance was a bit half-hearted. They kind of danced around this issue, not really developing it whilst also not making it too subtle. It’d have been better if they’d just made it very clear or left it until a later date. Finally, as one would expect about a film centred around debating a set of accords, certain scenes could be a little slow. Especially when things got a little too bureaucratic. Despite all of this however, it was a fantastic film and I can’t wait to see how it has ripple effects in the future titles in the MCUs line-up.

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