If you are looking for a spoiler free review check out Chris’ review here.
After years of anticipation Captain America: Civil War has arrived. I have to admit that I had my concerns for this film. There has never been a superhero movie of this magnitude, with 12 superheroes and at least 2 villains it seemed like a recipe for disaster. I thought it would suffer from what I call The Batman and Robin Syndrome. Batman and Robin set a precedent that each superhero sequel had to have more heroes and more villains. This usually causes the whole movie to collapse. Spider-Man 3, The Dark Knight Returns, and Avengers: Age of Ultron each suffered at least a little from this syndrome. So the question going in was could Civil War avoid it? The answer to my amazement was for the most part yes.
Quick non spoiler plot synopsis if you don’t already know. After an incident in Nigeria involving a small group of Avengers where civilians were killed there is international pressure to create an oversight for superheroes. A guilt stricken Tony Stark feels that it's the correct course of action while Steve Rogers feels any oversight will limit the good they do because everyone has an agenda and it’s not always for the best. This philosophical difference turns into a physical altercation when Captain America refuses to sign the accords and is deemed a criminal for rescuing Bucky.
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The Supporting Characters
The other new character Black Panther was seamlessly added to the fold. Chadwick Boseman was one of the major highlights of the movie. Not really on Team Iron Man or Team Cap he is out for revenge. In the end he is probably given the biggest character arc as he comes to realize that revenge has consumed him and instead of killing his father’s killer he just takes him in. This is a great example of how to do a character without an overly complicated origin story. While his origins are still kind of shrouded in mystery we understood the character and his motivation. And did I mention Chadwick Boseman was amazing. Both in and out of the Black Panther costume.
Another stand out character (for me anyway as it seems this is a bit of a controversial pick) was Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch. Since she is a new superhero she is still learning her powers. She blames herself for the casualties in Nigeria and you really feel like it is taking a toll on her. One of the arguments against the film is her losing her thick accent. I did notice that but was glad as I found her accent annoying in Ultron. I also liked the relationship seed they planted between her and Vision. Speaking of Vision I am not really sure what his super powers are, and while his character might be a little underdeveloped it was fun watching Paul Bettany play him
While everyone is loving the new Spider-Man I just want to say he is borderline line annoying. It’s true this is a new kind of Spider-Man that we haven’t seen in movie before but his constant wisecracking can get annoying and while he was kept to a minimum in this movie I am not sure how it will play out when we get a 2 hour version of an annoying teenage Spider-Man.
Another complaint that I have with most Marvel Movies is the villain. Most villains have a grand plan to conquer the world or something like that. So that fact that Zemo’s plan is different is refreshing but for his plan to work it requires everyone following a predicted path. For some reason he knew that framing Bucky would cause him to be captured and interrogated. And he knew who they would call in. Then he knew that the whole thing would cause a rift between Iron Man and Captain America. And he knew they would follow him to Siberia. That’s a lot of movie parts that can fall apart. The fact that it worked was blind luck and nothing to do with his skill as a villain. Especially since the biggest issue between Iron Man and Cap were the Sokovia Accords which I am pretty sure he had nothing to do with, unless that was somehow in his plan too. Honestly the movie didn’t even need a villain. The Accords were enough to tear The Avengers apart by itself. To have a villain with this complicated of a plot was a little too much. The only scene that worked with him was the end when Black Panther confronts him and stops him from killing himself. It helped complete Black Panther’s arc while giving us one of the most convincing villain motivation but still wish his plan was a lot less complicated.
As if to make a counterpoint on the bleakness in Batman v Superman, Civil War swings in the exact opposite direction in regards to the comedy. There is a comedic beat after almost every serious moment in the movie. So while there was no comedy allowed in BvS it was a bit overdone in Civil War. What happens is it doesn’t allow for full emotional connection with events or characters. This is one of the darker Marvel movies as far as story but it wasn’t allowed to reach that full potential. There needs to be a happy medium that lets us feel the emotion but it doesn’t have to be entirely bleak.
Maybe because I haven’t seen the original Captain America in a while (I was never a real big fan of that movie) but it was hard to really get a sense why Captain America was so protective of Bucky. Of all the characters in the movie the Bucky and Cap relationship was maybe the hardest to buy. Like I said the minor characters were more interesting.
Since this is the 12th movie in the series there are a few continuity issues. Obviously one that some had problems with was Scarlet Witches accent. Again I was glad they toned that down but it is a valid point. Another big question that was never mentioned was where is Nick Fury? It seems like he should have some opinion on the events but he wasn’t even mentioned by anyone. Another issue I had was, when Bucky escapes his cell Tony Stark says he doesn’t have a suit. But in Age of Ultron he had back up suits floating around in satellite. He mentioned he blew up all his suits which happened in Iron Man 3 but he had plenty in Age of Ultron. Maybe I missed something.