Before I start talking about Captain America: Civil War, I’m going to confess something: I’m a “Marvel Fanboy”. I’ve seen every Marvel Cinematic Universe film at least twice (some up to four times) and I like (not love) every single one of them. To say that I’m biased in favor of Marvel Studios films is accurate.
But it’s also true that, as a Marvel fanboy, I also have very high expectations of the films that Marvel puts out, and I’m highly aware that for every great Marvel film released, the bar for comic book films gets raised up a notch or two. I loved most of the Phase Two movies that came out, but I’m objective enough to say that none of those were able to exceed that proverbial bar that the first Avengers movie set (although for me, Guardians of the Galaxy and the Winter Soldier came really close). So as you read this review, be aware that this is coming from a Marvel fanboy’s perspective.
With that said, let’s talk about the movie!
- The storyline, the plot, and the dialogue for Captain America: Civil War is top notch. It managed to be both a true sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and a logical follow up to Avengers: Age of Ultron. The trailers promised high stakes, and the movie delivered. This movie is a great way to start Phase Three as it sets the tone and the environment of the next set of Marvel films.
- Specifically, I loved how the film maintained focus on Captain America while not neglecting the rest of the supporting cast. Everyone had a role to play in this film and their personal little story arcs that had a satisfying enough conclusion. This is no spoiler – the Avengers will be divided and each Avenger’s reason and motivation for choosing the side that they chose was well-explained.
- As for the conflict itself, the film manages to make it compelling enough for me to think about which side is right. And you know what? Even after watching the film, I can’t really tell you which side I’m on. I understand why Tony did what he did and why Cap did what he did. I felt like I was watching two really close friends in a heated argument, with both having really good points, that I just want them to stop fighting and maybe just agree to disagree because there’s no resolution to what they’re fighting about.
- As for the acting, everyone did a really good job in their roles. Each actor really owned his/her character, from the leads to the supporting characters. Heck, I found myself connecting to Don Cheadle’s James Rhodes, and he’s far from the most compelling characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chris Evans IS Captain America, but top props goes to Robert Downey Jr. for his portrayal of a damaged-version of Tony Stark.
- The new characters, Black Panther and Spider-Man, were given the exact amount of time that I needed to see them, and they made excellent use of that time. Both were bad asses and I can’t wait to see their solo films. Thank you, Sony, for allowing Spider-Man to be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- More on Black Panther – Cap, Iron Man, and Thor have always been part of Marvel’s A-List as far as comic books go, and their solo films pretty much turned them into household names. Black Panther, at least for me, has always been a B-List character at best. Based on what I saw from him in this movie, I can say that he’s got the potential to be another popular character. I hope his solo film will have the same effect on the character’s popularity.
- Let’s not forget about the action – Captain America: Civil War has a lot of this, and all the action sequences were really well done. The fight choreography wasn’t just visually pleasing, it also matched the powers and abilities of the characters doing the motions. Spider-Man was swinging around as you’d expect him to, Falcon was swooping back and forth, Black Panther kicked lots of asses, and Ant-Man made good use of his size-changing abilities. What made the action stand out though is how the film gives the action scenes purpose. The fights happened for a reason, so I was pretty invested in the outcomes as well.
- Some more thoughts about the action in Civil War – the airport sequence alone is worth watching this film at least twice. But let me remind anyone reading this review – this is a Captain America film, not an Avengers film. The Avengers are supporting characters here, the spotlight is not on them. Just a reminder.
- I didn’t talk about the humor in this film, but what else needs to be said? Captain America: Civil War has Marvel’s signature comic relief as one can expect, and it’s always done the right way at the right time by the right character. The audience that I was a part of laughed collectively several times. Not as much as when I saw Ant-Man, but Captain America: Civil War isn’t supposed to be an action comedy. It has just the right amount of humor that it needed to have.
- The villain has consistently been Marvel’s Achilles heel, so let’s talk about Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo. I think I’m one of the few (if not the only one) who liked his character. Bruhl’s acting performance was solid, and I connected with Zemo’s motivation and goals. Zemo made sense for me, and while he’s not going to be at the same tier as Loki, Heath Ledger Joker, or Doctor Octopus, Zemo for me is a notch above the typical Marvel supervillain.
- And of course, I can’t end this review without talking about the end credits scenes. I’ll say this to avoid spoilers – the scens are worth the wait. Don’t leave until you see the “_______ will return” message. Don’t.
- I’m nitpicking here, but I can’t shake the fact that Spider-Man was shoehorned in this. He’s here because he’s Spider-Man, Marvel’s most popular superhero. He’s here to help make Spider-Man: Homecoming more successful. Is the movie worse off because Spider-Man’s appearance felt a little forced? Heck no! A small part of me wishes for a more organic, more natural reason for Spider-Man to be in this movie. But like I said, I’m nitpicking. Spider-Man was so great in this, I’d take his forced inclusion over not having him in this at all.
- I did say that I liked Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo, but I can’t deny the fact that his character could have been anyone. They could have named him John Cena or Spongebob Squarepants and nothing would have changed. So while I understood Zemo’s motivations and bought into his plan, he wasn’t a unique enough individual. I’m sure there will be some viewers who won’t catch or remember his name.
The bar for Marvel superhero films has been raised so high up by Avengers that I wouldn’t call Captain America: Civil War the “best Marvel movie ever”, but it’s definitely up there. It won’t match the magic that the first Avengers film brought, and I don’t think anything else will. Captain America: Civil War has everything that I want from a superhero film – good action sequences, an emotionally compelling story, good pacing, good characterization, and well-placed humor.
Captain America: Civil War is a must-see film. Watch it as soon as you can.
Have you seen Captain America: Civil War? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment or two below!