May 07

Captain America: Civil War Film Review

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_1453319820Based on the 2006 Marvel Comics crossover storyline Civil War is perhaps one of most adventurous pieces of comic book fare to be brought to the big screen. Based one year after the last Avengers movie; Age of Ultron and the colossal damages that occurred within all the previous cities the United Nations is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords; an international governing body to monitor and police the rapidly growing superhuman population. The team is divided; Tony Stark supports oversight because he feels responsible for creating Ultron and for the destruction the android brought to Sokovia, while Rogers is distrustful of any government having control over them and wishes the Avengers to remain free to act of their own accord. When the Winter Solider reappears accused of another assassination Iron Man leads the charge forcing Captain America to choose a side. This leads to Civil War; a war within.

Featuring almost every Avenger (with the exception of Thor and Hulk) in addition to new characters like Spider-Man and returning supporting characters like General Ross this film should perhaps be re-named Avengers 2.5. It seems like this year when it comes to comic book adaptions it is all about the showdown between big superheroes and sprawling cataclysmic battles. No doubt comparisons will be eagerly made between this and the previously released Superman Versus Batman with fanboys clamouring either side to say which one is best. Civil War has been released with far less fanfare than its DC counterpart, but like the good old Captain America quiet confidence is perhaps what makes it so great. I’ll settle the scrap now; in my humble opinion Civil War is a better film.

There are a number of advantages that Civil War has over its Dawn of Justice rival. First is the fact that Marvel has spent numerous movies developing each and every character in the build up to this showdown and most of the characters have had their own films (or significant pieces within) to develop. In the run up to seeing the film, my friends and I were enthusiastically discussing which Marvel films we liked the most; some liked Iron Man, some liked Captain America, some liked Thor. Although film-wise there have been a couple of misses, what is undeniable is that Marvel has been successful in creating movie comic book characters that are semi-independent of each other, films that have their own valid personality and structure. Indeed, you can almost be divided over the movies like you could be the comic books. How that translates into Civil War is that less time needs to be dedicated showing their back stories (parents murdered or motivating tragedies) and secondly we have already come to know the characters as multi-faceted beings through their own movies which makes the ultimate show down far more complex than simply choosing a side. Tony Stark; the narcissistic billionaire but an individual always touched by the plight of the weak and defenceless versus Captain America a soldier who fights for freedom but has increasingly become disillusioned by the corruption he has witnessed. In Civil War the fights are gruelling but not gratuitous, no one wants to hurt each other but they will for what they believe in and ultimately they do.

Sadly, Civil War does suffer from a long build up, yes there is action but like Dawn of Justice it spends a long time getting you to see the story from both sides and introducing you to the new characters. But what a line up it is, in addition to Robert Downey Junior’s incredible Iron Man (let’s face it; there could only ever be one Iron Man) and Chris Evan’s one and only Captain America, we have Chadwick Boseman making his debut as an impressive Black Panther, Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man and the all new Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland.  I have to say I was a bit worried about the new wall crawler’s debut (I think we are on its third iteration within ten years) but with all honesty I think he was one of the many highlights and what he brought to the film was a much needed comedic boost to alleviate the movie’s more serious themes of lost friendship and broken trust. With Spider-Man a part of this film the credibility was seriously boosted in a way that perhaps only Wolverine could to a Hulk film. Overall then if you are a fan of Marvel, this film will excite and meet many if not all of your expectations. But we warned the ending is not a happy one. Last but not least there are two post credit scenes so stay until the very end.

O.k so my verdict:

Easily a 4 out of 5.