AVENGERS DISASSEMBLE! Review of Captain America: Civil War
Most all comic book movie fans and especially Marvel lovers will really enjoy Captain America: Civil War. The Russo Bros. deliver fun and amazing elements in this blockbuster, including roller coaster visuals, emotional scenes, charismatic acting, and mind-blowing set pieces. There are moments when you will cheer, and the Team Cap vs. Team Iron Man sequence you see in the trailers is so damn fun and awesome, (although at times it seems certain players got lost in the shuffle). The new Spidey and Black Panther characters are well-done, but I find it baffling how some people claim that this is the best Spider-Man on screen. Tobey Maguire is still my favorite, and this new kid (Tom Holland) does a great job in his small, supporting role in the movie. We need to see him in his own film before he declared king of the Spider-men! Ant-man steals the show, in my opinion; Paul Rudd is just a genius. The Winter Soldier is a definitive badass in this movie, too. I would love to see him have his own stand-alone story; maybe a prequel featuring him is Bucky in the war, and then showing him as an unstoppable assassin. There are so many cool things I could rant about from this film (Chase scenes! New super-powers! Post credits-teases!), but that’s the trouble, a bag of cool birthday presents (which are always appreciated) do not make a perfect birthday party. Marvel has given us a bunch of shiny cool toys with this film, and fans and critics are getting trapped in the explosive play-time and losing their objectivity about the story, which involves themes of vengeance and loyalty, and is ultimately about ego, guilty consciouses, and a man trying to save his best friend.
The plot focuses on searching for/hunting down or protecting/exonerating Bucky, who is at the center of an international espionage and terrorism plot. Civil War trots the globe like a 007 spectacle, with Cap and Falcon working furiously to save the Winter Soldier and expose a mystery threat. Conversely, Iron Man, Prince T’challa of Wakanda, along with the United Nations and international authorities want to hold superheroes accountable, and restore worldwide order. Despite the events of the Avengers films, and how S.H.I.E.L.D. was compromised by Hydra in Cap’s last solo adventure, half of our Marvel Cinematic Universe cast goes along with the prospect of surrendering their autonomy, and being regulated, controlled, and given orders to by a biased multi-national committee. There are other large slips of behavior by some of our familiars, but I cannot divulge too much without being spoilery. It seems that many of the Marvel movies involve good guys fighting each other, and one might not delve too much into criticism of the plot once you’re distracted by the awesome scenes of heroes punching each other in the face and spitting out one-liners.
This movie of course heavily deviates from the Civil War comic, which is expected. Many of the story criticisms I have for Cap 3 might be similar to some of the complaints that folks had for Batman v. Superman regarding the plot and motivations of characters, and perhaps some underdeveloped (especially for the villain). The Russo’s did top themselves in numerous ways from their previous outing (although Cap 2 is superior in story and suspense), but Civil War isn’t a perfect film. At times, it seemed like Iron Man was taking over the movie, which he somewhat does in the Avengers films, because Tony Stark is such a strong character and Robert Downey, Jr. always turns in compelling performances. Plus, they had to introduce storylines for the new Spider-Man and Black Panther, and juggle a lot with 12 superhero characters (and for the most part, that was well done). For example, Vision and Scarlet Witch were given the opportunity to have more character development, but they get under-used in the big battle sequence. There are at least 3 major original Avengers characters that did not even appear in the film who deserved more an explanation as to why they were MIA (one in particular wasn’t even mentioned). I did find myself wanting to see more of Steve Rogers, because this is supposedly his movie. There are some personal moments (involving romantic events) that didn’t have enough time to develop, as well. Ultimately, I felt like Tony Stark is a supreme jerkface once again, much like I felt he royally messed up by creating Ultron in Avengers 2. He wasn’t really held accountable then, and per his usual, Stark has bad judgment by siding with the government, going against Captain America, and causing the Avengers to split in two for this film. It seems that Tony cannot learn from his mistakes (the same mistakes we’ve seen him make in 6 movies now), and he can’t get past his own massive ego, and although his intentions are to keep the world safe and help people, he lets guilt, sorrow, and personal demons guide his decisions, instead of having some trust in his friends, especially having faith in someone as honorable as Cap.
So in closing, I enjoyed the hell out of this film, and I think most people will too. But it saddens me that some critics and fanboys want to treat this like this is the best superhero movie ever made (the original Superman, The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy should not be forgotten!). With Civil War, the stakes could have been higher, and motivations could have been flushed out better. Whereas DC gets the criticism for being so dark, serious and depressing and lacking hope, there is some merit for Marvel being called Disney Princess-like or cartoony (and I love Disney cartoons, mind you!). In the last couple DC films, the tone seems to focus on life and death, where as in some Marvel movies, it feels like there’s too much fun and games in the middle of a battle. Civil War was built up to “drastically change the Marvel Universe”, and affect the future of the Avengers, and though it was a solid movie, a really good movie, perhaps my expectations were too high, and I didn’t feel like it was as big of a game-changer as I wanted it to be. I will definitely see it a second time, and I recommend everybody to check it out!
Check out Actor/Writer/Producer Derek Easley on social media: on Twitter @fortressofderek, on Instagram @derekeasley, and at imdb.me/derekeasley.
About: Derek Easley
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