After the mixed reactions to Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice can Captain America: Civil War live up to the hype?
Whatever your opinion of DC’s summer blockbuster, BvS:DoJ had some pretty obvious flaws and enjoyment of the film seems to be predicated upon how much you could let those flaws slide. Thankfully Captain America: Civil War requires no such caveats as once again Marvel has turned in a superior piece of big screen super-heroics.
Despite following up on plot threads from Captain America: The Winter Soldier and obviously keeping Chris Evan’s Steve Rogers front and centre, Civil War often feels like Avengers 3 as Cap’s team-mates turn up for large parts of the film, with very few characters being relegated to anything resembling a cameo.
The Winter Soldier Returns
When the Avengers are forced to submit to UN control after the civilian casualties from the events of the previous films and a botched operation in Lagos, what could remain a polite disagreement between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers quickly escalates as Cap’s old friend James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes reappears and Cap goes off the reservation to apprehend him, before the authorities, with shoot to kill orders, can.
While Captain America rejects the “Sokovia Accords” to prevent The Avengers being controlled by political concerns, rather than what the team thinks is right, Iron Man, ever the futurist, goes along with the accords, preferring to embrace them as they are now, rather than have something far worse foisted on him later, and already in the first third of Civil War there is more set up for the eventual conflict between Tony and Steve than there is in the entirety of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
I’ll try not to harp on too much comparing the two films but let’s just say I enjoyed this one far much more. This is partly due to Marvel having expertly built this world and its characters over the last eight years since Iron Man, but it’s also down to Marvel Studios never forgetting why audiences watch their movies: they are, for the most part, fun, pleasurable experiences.
Seeing The Vision hang around Avengers HQ in dapper shirt, sweater and slacks combo, awkwardly interacting with his team mates, or the Falcon and the Winter Soldier gently ribbing each other during a quiet moment or even Steven and Tony, joking with each other even after having come to blows, is never anything less than enjoyable and completely in line with their characters from the comics and films.
Even characters like Hawkeye and Ant-Man, AWOL for most of the movie, get respectful turns once they do appear, with Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man responsible for some of the best humour, along with the latest incarnation of Spider-Man. While Holland’s Peter Parker might not match the Peter Parker in my head as much as Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield (poor Andrew Garfield ), once in the suit, his Spider-Man is pitch perfect, cracking wise at all the right moments while holding his own physically against the Avengers of #TeamCap.
Despite what the trailers may have led you to believe, apart from a relatively serious beginning, once Civil War gets going this movie is funny with a protracted scene in the middle of the film with all The Avengers that is equal parts thrilling and humorous.
Those expecting something as different as The Winter Soldier was to the films preceding it, may, however, be slightly disappointed. This is an action flick where directors Joe and Anthony Russo get to let rip with the heroes of their childhood. The excellent action scenes from the previous movie are enhanced by the addition of the rest of the Avengers, each hero using their skill sets in new and unexpected ways in each and every fight scene.
The actors have become so natural in their roles that it’s hard not to think of Evans, Downey Jr, and pals as the characters they play. It seems so effortless at this point but obviously takes a lot of work but even with the wrinkles introduced to the relationships in this film, these are still recognisably the characters that audiences have come to know and love.
In addition to Spider-Man the other new Avengers cast member, Chadwick Boseman as T’challa of Wakanda; The Black Panther, is far more ingrained in the plot that Spider-Man, who could in all fairness be excised from the film entirely without losing much. Boseman invests the requisite amount of nobility in Black Panther and he’s different enough from the other characters that it will be interesting to see where his standalone film will go in 2018.
Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo, on the other hand, is a slightly weaker, less threatening antagonist compared to those that have come before, but as his character is a manifestation of humanity’s growing fear of enhanced individuals this is totally in keeping with the movies theme.
For those hoping for cameos from the Marvel’s televisual universe or setups for the rest of phase 3, I found none. There wasn’t even a hint of Marvel’s next cinematic output November’s Dr. Strange but perhaps Marvel are holding some content back from press screenings.
Captain America: Civil War is a very different film to its predecessor, a more traditional action hero film that may be a little less of a risk but one that is thoroughly enjoyable throughout.
(Check the next page to see what I got right and what I got wrong in my 10 Expected changes between Captain America: Civil War and the Comics article)
Captain America: Civil War is being released in Malaysian cinemas on 28th April 2016
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Stan Lee
Directed by: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo
Official Site here.