I have been looking forward to Captain America: Civil War since it was announced in 2014. It stands as my favorite comic book story line in the last 20 years. Needless to say, a lot was riding on this for me. And overall, I wasn’t disappointed. The problem was I wasn’t over elated. I didn’t give it applause after and I didn’t leave that theater eager to see it again. I was genuinely concerned, though, for the well-being of my favorite characters in comic book history. Before I delve into it anymore, I’ll break down the good and the bad for you.
Every action sequence is incredibly on point. It is obvious that each character has their own unique fighting style because each person gets their time to shine, more or less, which hasn’t always been the case of Marvel ensemble movies in the past. While I won’t go into any specific details, Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, and Scarlet Witch do not disappoint.
The women of Captain America: Civil War are not forgotten. It’s been a very long road of asking for more Black Widow to actually seeing her at her best, and this is it. She’s strong, educated, sassy, and a true friend to her fellow Avengers. Wanda was also given an emotionally driven story arc, which was a huge part of the heart of the film (although, weirdly, no mention of her dead brother.)
That being said, the men don’t let down either. Sam Wilson’s increased character brought a definition of a true friend to the picture. While Captain America is fighting for Bucky the entire time, he does miss out on some of the loyalty of Falcon. He was honestly one of the highlights. The first appearance of Black Panther was, honestly, my favorite part of the film. He wasn’t treated as a throw away addition to the team, but given his own motivation as well as taking care of his origin story in the first hour so that the official Black Panther film can be a continuation of the character already.
Lastly, the acknowledgment of the missing Hulk and Thor was superbly well done. It’s not a giant focus, but it’s just impressive how clever it was.
The Bad (yes, there was some bad; deal with it)
Sadly, Spider-Man was not my favorite. It was painfully obvious he was a last minute addition that they actually had to squeeze into the lineups and action scenes. He only talked to a few characters! I’m not saying the CGI to render him wasn’t impressive, but I really would have liked to see him more planned out and not such an afterthought. I know what you’re going to say, they do what they can with the licensing they can. And I’m aware of this, but his introduction to the world could have been done a bit better; I know it. That being said, Tom Holland will be a great Spider-Man.
The overall tone of the film was just sad. There was some great jokes, and Marvel avoided the gritty tone that takes over so many films today, but it was a legitimately depressing film. I don’t know what I was expecting with Civil War, but it wasn’t this. I was anxious for death in every scene. I was surprised by some of the brutality by these characters. I didn’t know where it was going, and I was truly scared. I had never felt like that in a Marvel film before.
Lastly, Iron Man and Captain America were easily mishandled. Choose Team Cap or Team Iron Man; it doesn’t matter. Both tread the line of good and selfish. Despite what others say, neither is a true hero. They get in their own way. They’re blinded by their own arguments that, to use a phrase used in the film, catastrophe easily ensues. Now that’s expected in a good war story, and flaws in everyone are important, but we’ve held these guys to such high standards before, I don’t see why we have to give them a pass now. I’m hoping that future films can redeem both Avengers for me.
I’ve seen a lot of people give this film the highest possible rating they can, and I find that difficult to accept because of what Marvel has done before. It’s important to still be critical of what is produced so we can continue to appreciate the amazing. We’ve been so spoiled by Marvel in the past that it’s easy to forget films like Iron Man 2. Civil War is good, still one of the better Marvel films. It is not, however, without flaws. That being said, I will go see it again and I am so looking forward to Dr. Strange.
I give Captain America: Civil War 4 UFOs out of 5.
The film officially releases in North America on May 6th, 2016.