Captain America: Civil War Review
Hitting all the points that Age of Ultron missed, Captain America: Civil War features an array of characters, an interesting story, great action, and an appropriate amount of humor. Directed by Winter Soldier directors Anthony and Joe Russo, the first entry in the “third phase” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise does not disappoint.
Centering around the United Nations’ response to the events of Age of Ultron in the form of the Sokovia Accords, the members of the Avengers are pitted against each other due to their differing ideologies. After an explosion occurs during the ratification of the accords, blame is placed on Steve Rogers’ [Captain America’s] old friend-turned Hydra agent, Bucky Barnes [The Winter Soldier]. Both sides are divided by this attack and the notion of a government controlled Avengers-team as part of a plan by villain Helmut Zemo, portrayed by Daniel Brühl.
The film’s plot is handled quite nicely with very little left to be desired. Both sides of heroes are well supported and are portrayed as any valid in their motivations. The introduction of new characters felt natural and did not detract from the already large returning cast of Age of Ultron (sans Thor and Hulk who will appear together in Thor: Ragnarok). Scott Lang [Ant-Man] and Marvel’s newly reclaimed Peter Parker [Spider-Man] were the real highlights during the penultimate battle at the Leipzig-Halle airport, providing amusing banter throughout. Tom Holland, who plays Parker, nails the role and incorporates some aspects from the last two iterations of the hero while making the character his own. Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of T’Challa [Black Panther] is also well done considering how quickly he was introduced and thrown into the mix.
A lot is happening throughout the movie, though it does not feel bogged down. If anything is worth criticizing, Martin Freeman’s Everett Ross is a bit underused though his introduction may be for the upcoming Black Panther film as his comic book counterpart is closely associated with him. Other concerns aren’t as glaring though one wonders how other characters such as Natasha Romanoff [Black Widow], and Sharon Carter [Agent 13] were affected at the end of the film, especially as they do not star in their own follow up films where their stances could be addressed. One also wonders why there was footage of Howard and Maria Stark’s death.
The film features a mid-credits and an after-credits scene, as is tradition with Marvel films. The first scene shows Bucky going back into stasis in Wakanda. The second however teases the recently announced Spider-Man: Homecoming film.
In comparison to Mark Millar’s original Civil War comic, many changes were made though none feel arbitrary. The plot of the Sokovia Accords was directly lifted from the comics’ Superhero Registration Act and acts essentially the same, however the public outcry isn’t as prominent. As the films do not feature all the characters from the comics (either due to licensing or the characters having not been introduced), many changes stem from their absence. Goliath’s role is paralleled by Scott Lang growing to large size (unofficially becoming Giant-Man) and Rhodey’s accidentally being shot down. Fantastic Four’s Negative Zone is also replaced by the Raft in the film, housing Captain America’s allies after the airport battle. Rather than a series of betrayals and side switching from the comics, the heroes are kept prisoner until the end of the film. A plot point not widely explored is the importance of secret identities. In the comic, the Superhero Registration Act was beneficial to heroes with public identities such Tony Stark [Iron Man] though this forces Peter Parker to reveal himself as Spider-Man.
Overall, Captain America: Civil War showcases the the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s wide interconnectivity with a strong storyline, fun characters, and outstanding action.