Back in 2008 we were given an Iron-Man movie, the end credit scene revealed that a gigantic cinematic universe was about to explode. For the true fans out there- back in 2008 when you first witnessed that Nick Fury scene, what was your reaction? I instantly began thinking who could pop up in the future, how are they going to do it etc. Eventually we got to an Avengers movie in 2012 which was the big pay off of all of the origin films that were built up beforehand. We truly witnessed cinema history in the most mesmerizing way imaginable. Since then, things have gotten bigger and better, and much more diverse. Going back to watching that 2008 credit scene again, did you ever imagine to see such an incredible collection of superheroes battle it out against one another? It just blows my mind looking back at the early days in Phase 1 and watching the escalation slowly unfold until we reached this pinnacle clash. Ultimate fans are treated with such a tense tug of war match against a dozen characters we’ve come to love because we’re so emotionally invested.
Captain America: Civil War is obviously the aftermath of Age of Ultron. That’s not a spoiler. If you somehow didn’t know this then… wow, what are you? Things have gotten tense, we get to see the consequences of collateral damage and how the heroes tackle accountability. Obviously there’s a rift and The Avengers are divided between what happens next. Things go from friendly arguments/differences, to not-so civil fights! We see how far Iron-Man will go to stop Bucky and we see how far Captain America will go to save him. Imagine two sides that are both full of lovable characters and then being pulled back and forth by your arms every time one of them makes a valid argument. It’s genuinely torturous in the most entertainingly effective way. Anyway, enough prelude, I can’t wait anymore, let’s get into the (spoiler free) review!
This movie was long (in a good way obviously) and provided so many amazing moments! Therefore it’s hard for me to dissect everything from the top of my head but I can say confidently that the plot as a whole is the most compelling and intense plot from any MCU film to date. The Avengers (2012) is perhaps everyone’s number one MCU film simply because you can’t take away that first moment of seeing them assemble. The Russo Brothers did a great job at providing a unique tone and story to create a fresh and unseen spectacle; much like how Captain America: The Winter Soldier stood out and made its mark. The Russo’s were pretty much born and destined to make Marvel movies as they’ve proven before. They give us an amazing roller coaster ride from start to finish. So although it can never recreate that first feeling of seeing them assemble, it does the opposite and shows us what happens when they tear themselves apart. We’ve seen glimpses of conflict between heroes which has slowly boiled the kettle but know we see the steam blow and hit the roof. The directors could have easily labelled one side as wrong and the other side as right, but what happens is that both sides are right in different ways! It’s not two sides of a coin, it’s a coin constantly spinning with no end in sight which spirals your emotions from left to right and back around again. I literally felt torn and heartbroken because you know that there can’t be a civil conclusion or consensus!
The plot is very different to the comics (for obvious reasons) but you can feel similar beats which offers some nice homage moments. I loved how they revolved their fall out not only around The Accords, but also how this affected their friendships when Bucky was caught in the middle of things. We see a side of Captain America we’ve never seen before, and just when you thought Iron-Man couldn’t provide us with something new, we also see a horrifyingly sour side of him too. Just like what Steve says to Tony in Age of Ultron when he says he doesn’t trust a man without a dark side. Steve replies, “let’s just say you haven’t seen it yet”. Who could have expected to see a such a dark side to the most selfless and noblest hero in the world. I’m sure you all saw that this film was occasionally being dubbed as ‘Avengers 2.5’ but let me assure you, it’s definitely a Cap film. Of course, a high percentage of traction is gained from the events of Avengers 2, but the film takes that and shapes it into a Cap-centric story. I love Age of Ultron, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it felt more like a juggling act of characters. However Civil War was more fluid even though it had a larger ensemble. It didn’t distract from the premise of it being a Captain America movie which to me could have been risky. Instead, it used the large ensemble in a way that bounced off of the motives and decisions made by Steve, seeing as though he’s the boss.
It’s refreshing to see a lack of Avenger VS villain. Instead we see Avenger VS Avenger and the result of creating your own demons. This is why the film is so good. The conflicts are more personal and engaging because it’s between characters that have been developed over a long period of time, characters that usually work together symbiotically as one unified power. This makes their clashes awkward and uncomfortable which is why it works, because you just want to hide behind your hands and beg them to stop fighting because they’re hurting your feelings as well as each others faces! The film does not hold back at all. There aren’t any moments that are resolved with an apology and a handshake. The movies notions and ideologies are valid and thought provoking and serve a deeper level of engagement that simple ‘good against evil’ can’t touch or ever get close to. There’s so much emotional tension, my descriptions don’t do it fulfilling justice. I found that the film felt much more grounded and dark than the other films but it had a greater spectacle than anything else. This is because of the endless personal stakes which turns you into a nervous wreck. If you expect to sit through the film and be dead set on favoring one side then you’re wrong, because both sides are right!
The Russos described their love for action perfectly. I’ve heard them say on numerous occasions that they’re, “action fetishists” and it’s evident throughout. It’s not just thoughtless fight scene after thoughtless fight scene either, there are slow build ups that explode into conflict. Conflict that offers diverse pinnacle moments that snowball and branch off… not just drab warfare. The fight scenes themselves from a simple action standpoint are visually stunning! The amazing storytelling and hair raising moments work hand in hand. The huge fights never felt like a dot to dot puzzle or disorientating. The film keeps your eyes locked and makes sure the punching always has a reason behind it. With such a collection of heroes, all with unique abilities and traits, you can expect to see some diverse styles of fighting. I can only begin to imagine how difficult it is to balance everybody. There’s human characters against omnipotent characters but everyone has a fighting chance. You never feel sore eyed or fatigued even though the action scenes play out for a long time. It’d be foolish and somewhat impossible not to have long fight scenes in a movie called ‘Civil War’. For me, the longer the better so long as it remains enchanting and you can count on the Russos to do just that. So when I say the fight scenes are long, it’s a good thing!
The cinematography is divine and the music is blissful. There isn’t a single shot in this film that DOESN’T encapsulate the beauty of what a superhero film should be. Henry Jackman’s score helps move the story from scene to scene. I actually teared up during numerous scenes and my sister actually cried! My sister is going to kill me for mentioning that, but it just proves how powerful camera framing/movement and music can either help get your heart racing or shatter it into a million pieces. A good script and plot is only half of the work- it’s imperative that it’s all represented and illustrated on screen the right way. I have a personal rating system that involve goosebumps. If something gives me goosebumps then it has succeeded. My personal goosebump record was achieved as soon as the Marvel logo came on and Henry Jackman’s score struck like lightning. I loved the score in the Winter Soldier and I liked how it was tweaked to bring something heavier and more extreme.
The film presented some great locations. It’s nice to see that everything doesn’t revolve around New York which is perhaps the most generic convention and location in a superhero film. The Winter Soldier gave us Washington DC which was the heart of S.H.I.E.L.D intelligence, then Age of Ultron gave us a more global feel. Civil War feels like an ‘on the run’ road trip because there’s so many cool places you visit. It’s even better because they’re pretty much all locations we haven’t visited in the MCU yet, and at the end of they day it’s helping expand the world these characters live in. The great thing about new locations is that they’re always outfitted with things you’ve never seen before. Whether it’s a tunnel chase scene, airport fight scene, they’re the best ones I’ve ever seen in their respective categories.
In terms of characters, every single one of them shines! You have Captain America, Bucky, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Iron-Man, Black Panther, Spider-Man, Black Widow, War Machine and Vision. All have been established previously minus Spidey and Black Panther (I’ll get to those soon) so it’s relieving and fantastic to see that there’s still new ways to show them off. We all remember how much Cap’s fighting style was fleshed out and improved in The Winter Soldier so it’s astonishing to see that he’s stepped up once again. The best part is that it’s not just Cap that gets a combat upgrade… literally everyone else gets the stylish Russo action touch. For example, Iron-Man can always improve on technology but what’s really cool is seeing him attack differently and use his vessel and abilities in ways we’ve never seen before. That goes for everyone else, trust me. Who’d of thought Falcon’s wings could provide so such diversity, what else could Ant-Man possibly do other than shrink and punch, is Vision as truly untouchable as he’s considered, what new aspects can the MCU Spidey bring to the table, is there more to Bucky than just a metal arm… Questions that will be visually answered when you watch the movie I’m sure! Chris Evans has morphed into the role of Captain America flawlessly. Much like how Robert Downey has encapsulated Tony Stark through the years. It’s great to see these actors really nailing what these characters stand for, rather than actors just reading from a script. It was delightful to see everyone return even if it was for different amounts of screen time. My personal favorite characters in this movie besides the obvious Cap and Iron-Man are Black Panther, Hawkeye, Ant-Man… actually they’re all my favorite.
Let’s have a moment to discuss the new guys; Wakandan royalty T’Challa aka Black Panther and high school nerd Peter Parker aka Spider-Man. In a way, it’s unfair to compare previous Spider-Men with the latest one seeing as though they were done by separate companies, but I can assure you that Spidey is amazing and in safe hands! He’s the ultimate Spider-Man (pardon the pun). Sony did some things well with the character i guess… but it’s not until now that the character feels truly precise and perfect. I think there may be some people tired of seeing Spider-Man being rebooted but you can excuse it because he’s finally a part of the MCU! Spidey was a lot of people’s favorite hero growing up so it’s reassuring to see him done well and able to exchange dialogue with the likes of Stark and Cap at long last. So we officially have another bug on the team! Why stop there, let’s have a panther too. Ever since the Black Panther movie was announced I was so excited and I’m incredibly grateful to be given a taster of what he has to offer, rather than having to wait all the way until 2018. Black Panther had more of an impact than Spidey for me personally because it was the first time we’ve ever seen him in a live-action movie. It sounds as though I didn’t enjoy Spidey as much but I loved them both the same. With Black Panther, there was a lot more speculation and curiosity surrounding the character. Chadwick Boseman went to the lengths of inventing a unique accent for the character. I fell in love with him. He’s the most serious hero in the film I feel so it’s cool to see him bounce off of the characters that already know one another. He’s essentially been dragged into their conflicts but he tends to dominate everything he’s involved with. Overall, T’Challa is such an incredibly vibrant new hero that we finally have the privilege of seeing in action. He has a great significance and it feels like he offers something we’ve never seen before from other heroes. I can’t wait to see him and Spidey in their debut films and I hope to see them spring up in future ensembles (I’m sure they will)! I don’t want to talk about Daniel Brühl’s character too much because I want to keep it a surprise. I’ll just say a few things. He was very unique and enjoyable. I mean I really, really liked his character a lot! Just when you thought the plot couldn’t get more thick, vigorous and powerful, Brühl adds his own dynamic outside of the heroes disputes. I wish I could yammer on about what I liked about him but I don’t want to give anything away.
In conclusion, Captain America Civil War was all-round amazing! Prepare for emotional torment woven around dramatic build-ups and the best action sequences you’re ever going to see in any film… ever! Being heavily invested since 2008’s Iron-Man, it’s crazy to see how far it’s all come and how the standard superhero genre has transitioned into things such as psychological thrillers! I have been waiting for this film for so damn long and it was worth the wait. It’s one hundred percent the best MCU film yet in every aspect and it certainly kicked Phase 3 off with a hard to beat, one of a kind, big badass bang! Not only does it feel like a great continuation of Age of Ultron, but the personal trilogy of Captain America has been one hell of a crazy ride. From a physically weak man who wanted to do his part in 1945, to loosing everyone he knew and having to get used to present day, to discovering he almost died for nothing, to standing his ground, protecting his best friend, and going against the United Nations. What an incredible journey. All of this whilst surround by an abundance of incredible side characters that we all know and love. Captain America’s trilogy has definitely been diverse and momentous. Anyone who’s fairly new to this universe is going to love it, but for the audiences that have been at these heroes’ side from day one and have watched the whole collection of movies you’re going to implode with glee and delight. If you’re planning to see this film and somehow haven’t seen any of the other films, or are missing a few from the list, I recommend you watch everything prior to feel the full effect and weight. You don’t need me to sell this film for you. If you have common sense you would have seen it already! If not, what are you doing? Go! Bare witness to the perfect example of action and emotional investment. I’d just like to thank everyone who helped bring the MCU to life and nail this film. The Russo Brothers, all the writers, Henry Jackman, Kevin Feige, all of the actors and actresses, everybody. These films are my life and they just get better and better!
I hope you liked my review. If you’ve seen it then what did you think? (No spoilers please). If you haven’t seen it, I hope I provided you with some worthy hype! Bye for now.