Only 4 months into the year, and we’re already up to our third superhero movie, this time it’s Captain America: Civil War. So let’s dive into a spoilers review discussion of Captain America: Civil War. And unlike many other discussions about this movie, I vow not to compare or even bring up the movie that shall not be named…
Where to begin! After all the build-up the movie was definitely a fun ride. There was amazing action set pieces and great emotional character moments, but for a movie called Civil War, it felt slightly anticlimactic in a way.
Okay so there was a lot to digest with this movie, so let’s break it up:
The basis of the Civil War hinged on two things: The Sokovia Accords and Zemo. Surprisingly it took the government 4 years to realise they weren’t comfortable with a group of super-powered beings having battles whenever they pleased. After innocent civilians were killed during their battle with Crossbones (who lasted a nice 5-10 minutes in the movie), the government calls in everyone to discuss the Accords.
They want The Avengers to work under the United Nations. Half the team agree with this, with the other half disagreeing. Cap doesn’t like the idea of being told who to save and when to save them. Whereas Tony, who is still feeling guilty about creating Ultron, feels like they need to be held responsible for their actions.
The other basis for the war was Zemo who we shall discuss in a bit.
Because the MCU has such a rich history, the reasoning for the conflict did feel legitimate. You understood why each person was taking their respective side. Cap has always championed the idea of pure freedom, unrestricted by external authority who may have an agenda beyond what’s best for people. However, Tony is looking at the bigger picture. He knows that their actions have caused harm, and Vision makes a strong point.
There’s always been this discussion when it comes to superheroes, are they actually causing more harm than good? Think about Batman. When he became Batman he had to deal with low-level scum, then deeper into his career supervillains were born. Criminals had to evolve because their defense had evolved as well. So soon Gotham became a circus, riddled with crazy villains fighting a guy dressed in a bat costume.
So when criminals see a group of super-powered individuals teaming up, the stakes get bigger, the challenge is bigger and they must react appropriately. Have The Avengers caused more good, or have they caused more harm? It’s hard to measure, but it is a question that must be raised.
Unfortunately, once again I feel like we’ve received another pretty forgettable villain. Although his motivations were understandable. Zemo is the other cause of this conflict. His family was killed during the Sokovia battle, which sets him up on path of vengeance, a strong theme throughout the movie.
His plan? To set up Bucky to look like a killer and reveal to Tony that Bucky was responsible for his parents’ death, in an attempt to get The Avengers to kill each other.
There was definitely an interesting set-up for Zemo. He was mysterious and calculating. I just feel things fell flat once his motivations and his plan started to be revealed. It wasn’t necessarily that he was a bad villain, it was just that he was slightly boring and predictable. This may have been received better if we got to know him a little better, got a greater sense of his personality and psyche. I like to get into the minds of villains, and just don’t think we got the chance to see that here. There just wasn’t anything that was uniquely interesting about him, and because of that, his character failed to really make an impression.
The big battle between the two-sides was a lot of fun to watch. Although not as big in scale as its comic book counterpart, you can’t help but have a fun ride watching the fight unfold. Every hero got their moment to shine.
We got to see Giant-Man, and it was glorious! Seeing a giant Ant-Man stomping around and kicking all the tiny heroes was crazy fun to see.
And of course we got to see Tony’s newest recruit, Spider-Man in action (because apparently bringing in a kid into a war is a good idea). Visually his suit looked a lot better on the big screen, and his action looked great. The fact that we get to see Spider-Man actually interact with other heroes in live-action was a surreal moment.
So the battle itself had lots of spectacle and fun, but did it have the tension? I definitely feel like the tension was undercut by the constant quipping, but this is a Marvel movie and that’s the tone they want to go for, so it’s fine. I’m glad we get to see a variety of tones in these superhero movies, and Marvel are really great at comedy.
But the fun and games ended when Rhodey was shot down accidentally by Vision. Finally, the tension felt real, their battle is real and so are the consequences.
The New Recruits
Black Panther was awesome, like there was any doubt. I like that he brought in a unique attitude to the dynamic. The political aspect was interesting, as we got to really understand the effect The Avengers have in other cultures.
Visually, he’s a great looking character. His fighting sequences were amazing to watch, and showed that he could definitely handle being alongside The Avengers.
Vengeance was also a part of his arc, as he tried to find Bucky who he believed was responsible for his father’s death. And although he was driven by vengeance in the beginning, he doesn’t let it consume him. He has an interesting conversation with Zemo in the end. Zemo is also consumed by vengeance, the death of his family a driving parallel with Black Panther (and Tony). The two of them have a little heart to heart, T’Challa telling Zemo his realisation, that at the end of the day, vengeance is a pointless crusade. And luckily we don’t get another dead Marvel villain, with T’Challa saving Zemo from killing himself.
At the end of the movie we see Black Panther back at home in Wakanda, housing Steve Rogers as well. We only got to see a glimpse of that world but it looked visually stimulating, a nice little set-up for his solo movie coming in 2018.
Then we have Spider-Man, and although I liked Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland absolutely nailed it! In part to the fact that he’s the right age, his remarks and movements really captured Spider-Man.
And yeah he talked, a lot! But that’s how Spidey should be, you know an annoying little shit in the suit, but a kid with a good heart out of it. And it’s interesting to see such a fresh-faced Spider-Man enter into this world of established heroes and villains. We know that he’s been Spider-Man for 6 months now, but no one knows about his secret, except for Tony of course.
We’ll see the relationship between the pair of them continue to grow as Iron Man is confirmed to be appearing in Spider-Man, so that mentor/mentee dynamic will continue. But all in all it was a nice little introduction to the new Spidey.
Captain America’s Arc
Although Civil War was full with other characters, it was still very much a Captain America movie. We got to follow his ideological and emotional arc, as he struggled with the true meaning of being a hero, of being Captain America.
The Steve/Bucky relationship has been something we’ve seen explored since the very first Cap movie, so it’s great that it has been the recurring arc in all the movies. Here we see that Cap is trying to protect his friend, who although did terrible things, was denied of his free will, everything Cap stands against.
So Cap goes against his country to protect his friend, to protect the ideologies he stands for. And he stands by them, until the very end, even when Tony tells Cap he doesn’t deserve to be Captain America. So Cap leaves the shield behind, because he doesn’t really know what being Captain America means anymore.
He’s fighting against his friends and on the run from his country, doesn’t sound like the ideal position Captain America wants to be in. But you have to respect that he’s really one of the few characters who doesn’t lose a sense of their ideals in the movie.
Whilst many characters make some decisions they end up questioning themselves, Cap doesn’t lack conviction. He doesn’t let petty vengeance consume him, he doesn’t like other people taking away his beliefs and he stands by his decisions.
But yeah, Captain America and his team aren’t exactly in the best position right now. It’ll be interesting to see where they go from here, now that they’re pretty much fugitives.
I have to say the civil war itself was a little weird. It was like “hey let’s fight”, “yeah okay!”. But even when they were battling it was just like a couple of friends getting into fisty cups, because Person A ate Person B’s lunch that clearly was labelled with Person’s B name. So it would have been good to feel a like more drama and tension, I mean it is called Civil War after all.
However the tension did feel real between Iron Man and Cap. First of all, I’m glad Cap did win the fight between the pair of them, it’s his movie after all! But because the two of them have known each other for so long, seeing them go against each other like this, it’s painful to see. They’re supposed to be on the same side, but one is driven by the trauma of his parents’ death whilst the other is driven by the need to protect his friend.
And it’s not like things wrapped up with a pretty bow on top. The team has been split, Bucky is back to being frozen and Steve is no longer Captain America. So there were real consequences to the war, which is good to see.
Overall Captain America: Civil War was a spectacle of fun to watch. Seeing all the heroes interact was exciting to see even though the war itself never felt as dramatic or tense as maybe it should have been. Looking forward to seeing how everything goes from here!
Categories: comic book movies