Marvel’s Third Phase of movies kicked off with Captain America: Civil War and sees the iconic figures of Iron Man & Cap go toe to toe in what could well be an event movie to reshape what’s to come.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this at first given that the Civil War comic series is one of my least favourite events but after the success of the previous Captain America (The Winter Solider) it was clear that the tone had changed taking the character in a new direction resulting in my favourite Marvel movie to date. The few trailers I chose to watch helped build up the hype and the glimpse of Spider-Man helped send that hype into over-drive and raise expectations even higher.
The basic premise of the movie is simple – the superheroes of Earth have come under increasing scrutiny following their recent world-saving adventures with the human and financial costs being left in their wake. Cue the expected registration act spinning out of that comic series and a divide is firmly drawn between the Avengers team-mates…….but the whole scenario itself is under the control of the mysterious Helmut Zemo who is expertly played by Daniel Brühl. The subtle, unassuming villain has plots on top of plots on the go and it’s only as the film progresses that we truly realize how the twists and turns all fit together.
The struggle between Tony & Steve is the age old struggle of head over heart and it’s only now that I realize how apt that analogy is. Iron Man’s genius is obviously the head with the inherent good of Cap representing the heart and it’s a power struggle between the two that plays out extremely well throughout the movie to the extent that I maybe shifted sides before coming to my senses and holding onto the #TeamCap that I’d been so feverishly sharing on social media.
The familiar faces of other Avengers ease in and out of the main story with Black Widow, Vision, War Machine, Ant-Man, Scarlet Witch & The Falcon all playing their part and get a chance to shine individually and as part of the side they opted for. The choreography of the hand to hand combat is seamless and the ensuing face off between the two sides manages to grasp each of their abilities and flow some of the most impressive fight scenes we’ve seen from many movies. Weaved through that is the slick elements of espionage and the laugh out loud humour that completes a package of pretty much everything you’d want from a movie let alone from a Superhero one.
The new additions to the roster are a major success in the movie too as Black Panther flexes his regal muscles while Spider-Man (who is finally back at Marvel) spins his quips out just as fast as his webbing, making him earn that “Amazing” title and both debuts almost steal the show. Almost but not quite as this film belongs firmly to that Iron Man & Cap dynamic which sees them tussle over Bucky and slug their way to an “agree to disagree” moment that brings the film full circle with a rewarding sense of closure. Fitting perhaps since this is the last solo Cap movie that Chris Evans is contracted for but after seeing this I think we need more solo movies from both these characters as they’re are still hidden depths to their individual stories.
I’ve seen talk online that Superhero movies have had their day but on the evidence from 2016 so far and from Civil War in particular that seems to be grossly premature. This movie alone has that pleasing cry of defiance in the face of that notion and with movie rosters set up for the next 5 or 6 years I hope it continues beyond that.
The Russo brothers seem to have achieved the impossible with Civil War as they’ve somehow managed to better their previous movie with a mix of thriller, action, humour and just plain fun. The familiar faces from earlier films have had a new lease of life breathed into them building a fresh the interest in them and while juggling those would be challenging enough the ability to add more and make them shine proves how well balanced they’ve made this latest addition to the MCU. They even had me liking Don Cheadle as War Machine which is no mean feat!
This ends up being something special…….not a good Superhero movie but a GREAT movie and it instantly goes to the top of my favourite list of MCU movies and potentially pushes a lot of other movies out of the way as it does. The struggle from here though is whether they could improve on things in Phase Three because the bar has been set very, very high…….but given they’ve managed to improve on Winter Soldier……..I can’t see any others holding them back or causing a stumble for Marvel Studios. There’s also two end credit scenes to wait around for too so get comfy.
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
Robert Downey, Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon
Don Cheadle as James “Rhodey” Rhodes / War Machine
Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther
Paul Bettany as Vision
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man / Giant-Man
Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter / Agent 13
Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Frank Grillo as Brock Rumlow / Crossbones
William Hurt as Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross:
Daniel Brühl as Helmut Zemo
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo
11/10 (No that’s not a typo)