Captain America: Civil War Film Review

Georgia Mueck had to watch the whole two and a half hours of the new Marvel film and she loved every minute of it.

Have you ever sat through a Marvel Cinematic Universe film and thought to yourself, “They sure are destroying a lot of stuff, that’s gonna be one hell of a clean up after this is all over”, or maybe, “Gosh, I hope there weren’t people in that building that just blew up”.

How about, “That’s a lot of cars and property that’s being wrecked, some people aren’t gonna be happy”.

Well, as it turns out, the folks at Marvel were thinking along the same lines too.

Now, I don’t want to spoil anything, but this is a superhero film that’s unlike any other I’ve seen (and before you ask, yes, I’ve seen them all – the Marvel ones, at least). This is a superhero film that has become self-aware. Not ‘fourth wall’ level self-aware, like the wise-cracking Deadpool, who converses with the audience like we’re his partners in crime, but something more considered and human that the previous films. Civil War forces it’s heroes to turn and look at themselves, and each other, and ask, ‘What are we?’. More than anything it points out that sometimes, our favourite saviours are people first, Avengers second, and they have their foibles just like the rest of us.   

And it’s not just the heroes who are humanised in Civil War, we are provided with a thoroughly human villain too, one whose motives are all too relatable. Daniel Brühl enters the MCU as Colonel Helmut Zemo, a former Sokovian elite squad member who uses his training to cause havoc for the Avengers. Zemo’s comic counterpart is far more illustrious and theatrical than the one Brühl portrays, so for anyone expecting there to be the usual epic good vs. evil showdown at the end, prepare to be disappointed. Don’t be fooled however, this film delivers in every way, just not exactly how you were expecting.

The Russo brothers are less heavy handed with the action sequences in this film than previous directors have been (*cough* looking at you, Joss *cough*), focusing more on the hand-to-hand combat skills of the Avengers than on their destructive capabilities. There were certain fight scenes where the camera work was shaky and jarring to the point of being disorientating, but for the major battles, the Russo brother’s direction seemed almost elegant.

Don’t get me wrong, this is most definitely a classic Marvel film. There’s plenty of wise cracking and more than enough ass kicking to go round. Most of the old favourites are back; Captain American/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jnr), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johanssen), and Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) return from the original team. Hulk and Thor are obviously off doing important things like trying not to level entire cities, or, as it is in Thor’s case, making other films for much less impressive and frankly rather crappy franchises.

team cap
(Image taken from Marvel Entertainment Captain America: Civil War trailer, 2016, no changes made)

The Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Falcon/ Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), War Machine/James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Scarlett Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Vision (Paul Bettany), and Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) all return from previous films to join the Avengers’ fight, and do so quite impressively, I might add. This film showcases the skill of each superhero better than any other, making the fight scenes especially pleasing to watch as they’re not just filled with explosions and one-liners, but rather pitting power against power to see who comes out on top. There are still plenty of one-liners, of course.

Two new-comers also join the team. Black Panther/T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) makes a fairly predictable entrance, however his character brings a level of thoughtfulness and integrity that balances the other brash, hot-headed attitudes on the team.

It is to the new Spiderman, however, that I would like to give the biggest shout out to. I was very dubious when I heard that Marvel was casting yet another actor to play the ultimate ugly-duckling hero, mainly because I really thought Andrew Garfield did a bang-up job in the most recent Spidey films.

spidey <3
(Image taken from Marvel Entertainment Captain America: Civil War trailer, 2016, no changes made)

I was forced to eat my words once Tom Holland was introduced to us as the new and much younger Spiderman. Spidey steals the show while he’s on screen, and I would honestly go and see this film again just to watch him banter with Ironman, or fangirl over, well, everyone.

He provides much of the comic relief, alongside Ant-Man, Ironman, Falcon and Hawkeye, however he also has the best serious line in the whole film, and perhaps the whole franchise.

(WARNING: SPOILERS!!!)

When asked by Tony Stark why he dons his Spiderman suit and goes out to be a superhero, Peter tells him this:

When you can do the things that I can do, but you don’t and something bad happens, then it happens because of you.

I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but that’s probably the best explanation for why someone would become a superhero I’ve ever heard before. Sure, it’s just a rewording of the old “With great power..” quote, but it qualifies the unsaid meaning in the original phrase and makes it far more relatable.

Everyone is saying that this is the best film Marvel has made so far and I absolutely agree, but I think it goes further than that. This isn’t just a superhero film, this is a film about the people beneath the masks, and I don’t mean their alter egos. Whether you love thought-provoking themes, laconic wit and humour, superhero action, or just really excellent films, you should most definitely see Captain America: Civil War.

5/5

Feature Image: Andrew White, visual communication design student at UON.

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