When forced to choose sides, do you do what is right or do you do what everyone else thinks is right?
First off, let me just say that it is so nice to have a bright and colorful superhero movie again. I know that there are a ton of reviews out there that are pitting “Captain America: Civil War” against “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” (to be honest, I probably will too at some point) and with good reason. As different as they may seem, Civil War and Dawn of Justice draw up quite a few similarities.
The superpowered are seen as both vigilantes and saviors and the government steps in to hold them accountable. Some see it as a necessity while others do not so political lines are drawn, and sides are taken. It’s that whole safety at the cost of freedom thing again and it’s the subplot for the entire film.
Looking to protect the world from enhanced beings while under the watchful eye of the government: Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), which I originally thought as odd considering how much he was against SHIELD keeping tabs on them in the first Avengers film. The events that took place during Age of Ultron must have really shaken him. Case in point, whenever the topic of being held accountable comes up, he genuinely seems guilty. Almost desperate. Robert Downey Jr’s performance here is so good that I was quickly reminded that he’s not just a guy that can deliver a string of punchlines. The guy can seriously act.
His supporting team, not surprisingly, consist of his longtime pal, Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle) and former Stark Industries Artificial Intelligence turned idealist, Vision (Paul Bettany).
Marvel Cinematic Universe newcomers T’challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) also support Stark although for very different reasons. The addition to Team Iron Man that I thought was interesting was that of Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Given her relationship with certain members of Team Cap, it just seemed weird to see her at odds with them.
Championing civil liberties: Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), which makes sense since he has always been a voice for choice and personal freedoms. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” let him dig deep as he dealt with moral and emotional conflict and this movie is just another solid performance from Evans. You can literally see it in his face when he delivers a line. He truly believes in the dialogue. That Captain Rogers truly wants what is best for them all even if what’s best is not the majority vote.
His supporting team consists of buddies, Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Bucky is actually at the center of the movie’s main plot.
Also on Team Cap are Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who in the past has shown a distrust of all things Stark, Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) whom we know has already been to prison as a social justice warrior, and Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) who comes out of retirement to help.
It would be a huge oversight on my part if I didn’t include Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) when talking about Captain Rogers’ teammates as she has a part to play in all of this as well.
When Batman v. Superman was announced, it got a lot of flack for the inclusion of so many superheroes. As it got closer to release, the powers that be at DC, kept announcing more and more appearances. There was a lot of confusion as to how they would fit so many characters into the film and still have it be entertaining.
Well, it is safe to say that Civil War blows the BvS character count out of the water and still manages to entertain without neglecting either the characteristics of the film nor the characters themselves. Everyone gets enough screen time to do whatever it is that they do, and the trust that the Russo brothers have in the characters truly shines through and through on screen.
Joe and Anthony Russo, have crafted an exciting blockbuster that is filled with both humor and drama while still being fast on its feet. The pacing is so well done that I probably could’ve sat through an additional two and a half hours and been grateful for it. Okay, probably not, but we get so much info in that amount of time without any of it becoming sensory overload. I don’t know how but it really is that good.
By the end of the first act, you already know the “whodunit.” What you don’t know is why and when the why is revealed, you actually feel for the villain in a way.
The payoff for sitting through the political narrative is at the end of the second act where both teams are in an all-out brawl with each other. Ant-Man and Spidey really steal the show here. You feel for these costumed characters with their bravado and overflowing egos and you feel for them even more when they are betrayed and ostracized. You definitely get a “well, maybe the lines aren’t as clear as I thought” kind of uncertainty while the final fight finishes with an uncomfortable air about it. By the end of the movie, you are exhausted with everything that you’ve been through and the revelations throughout.
All I can say is, “Thank you, Marvel, for after the credits stingers” because they feel like pallet cleansers and by the end of this movie’s stinger, I was rearing to go again.