Review: Captain America: Civil War

Directed by: Joe & Anthony Russo.

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland.

Rating: Running Time: 147 mins.

After the events of the previous Marvel Studio movies (in particular Avengers: Age Of Ultron and the destruction of the city of Sokovia) the world has become very aware of those enhanced with super abilities and wary of the collateral damage left in the wake of such events. After a mission ends in disaster and the deaths of innocent bystanders, the United Nations agrees that independent heroes, or rather “vigilantes” should be held accountable for their actions and be forced to sign up to the Sokovian accords, a sort of registration for enhanced individuals who would then be under the command of the United Nations.

Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) reeling from the fallout of his failed peacekeeping A.I. Ultron, feels that this is necessary but Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans), having his own experience of government run organisations with S.H.I.E.L.D. feels differently and refuses to sign the accords, preferring the Avengers to stay in control and accountable to themselves. Complicating matters is the return of Steve’s friend Bucky Barnes a.k.a. The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), spotted at the scene of a terrorist act. Forced to either sign up to the accords or stand down as Captain America, Steve goes rogue to find and bring in his friend unharmed, the remaining members of the Avengers split as to which side of the line they are on.

Captain America: Civil War is the thirteenth movie from Marvel Studios in their shared Cinematic Universe (MCU), which continues to prove that comic book sources do not have to be treated as comic books when brought to life on the big screen. The MCU has a history of taking stories from the comic source and adapting them to different movie genres – Thor was made in the style of a Shakespearian tragedy, Captain America: The First Avenger was a war movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, whilst filled with action, had political thriller tangents. This is the third stand-alone Captain America movie, and again contains a great deal of action but also has story elements that feel as if they could have come from a classic cold-war espionage thriller.

Because it is set in such a richly established universe, it was always going to be a stretch that the stand-alone movies could continue in the same vein that the have until now, with the title character being the only superhero to appear on screen. To that end, the movie incorporates around a dozen already established characters into the mix. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who helmed the previous Captain America movie The Winter Soldier, have been handed what can only be described as a monumental challenge, and in all likelihood this has been a test by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige to see how they will handle the upcoming two part Avengers movie Infinity War, which will no doubt include even more characters.

It is then with a resounding sense of both relief and outright glee, that I can state Captain America: Civil War is (with the exception of Guardians Of The Galaxy), the ultimate culmination of EVERYTHING that Marvel Studios has done to date, successfully integrating the characters and events of the previous movies into one. Even more surprising is that it does it with most receiving more than a cameo of screen time and dedication of thought than would seem possible, whilst also managing to introduce a few more for future franchises within the MCU – namely Spider-Man (Tom Holland – quickly dispelling any fan concerns), and T’Challa a.k.a. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) is solidly introduced thanks to a strong performance and a well written sub-plot.

It’s very much about the consequences and the fallout of the previous movies and how they affect these characters – Tony Stark feels grief from those who died as a result of Ultron, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) is a member of the team despite her and Vision (Paul Bettany) admitting that they all fear her because of her powers, even Clint Barton a.k.a. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) who is perhaps short-changed the most makes a subtle reference to returning out of retirement due to a debt he owes to a fallen comrade.

And yet, the movie never ceases to be a Captain America movie. Steve Rogers is very much centre point, continuing on in his efforts to find and redeem his friend Bucky Barnes after he was revealed to still be alive in The Winter Soldier, and his motives for his actions, as well as all of the other characters, entirely make sense. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who have written a handful of the previous MCU movies, know these characters inside and out, and with the Russos direction ensure that the conflict between them never degrades into a grudge match as it would have in the hands of lesser writers and directors. I look forwards greatly to seeing what the same group of people do with Infinity Wars.

 

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Posted on April 30, 2016, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great review. Each character did get more than just an appearance, everyone was well represented.

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