Review – Captain America: Civil War
Release Date: April 29th 2016
I revisited Captain America: Civil War for review the other night and I had a great time re-watching it for the first time in over a year. Based on the seminal Mark Millar event comic that saw most of the Marvel comic book universe go up against each other, this movie pits the heroes of the MCU against each other. This results in an exciting battle between all of the heroes that we’ve grown to love within the MCU. The film doesn’t take much else from the comic though, other than the idea of the heroes fighting one another, there is no talk of exposing secret identities here, nor is there a battle between the massive amount of combatants that there were in the comic.
If someone had told me these facts before I saw the film for the first time, I would have been going into the movie on a downer, but the thing is that this movie doesn’t have to be totally faithful to the comic book to be great, which is a credit to the writers and directors of the film. Watching the film is still like watching a comic book onscreen, just not the same comic book that you have previously read, which in turn offers an interesting fresh take on ideas that we are already familiar with as an audience.
The vast majority of the cast of characters that have been introduced in the MCU so far are present here, besides Thor and Hulk. I can see why they omitted these characters, as they really would have given whatever side they chose an unfair advantage. We are left with two sides, there is Team Cap, made up of Cap, Falcon, Bucky, Ant Man, Scarlett Witch and Hawkeye and then there is Team Stark, made up of Iron Man, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, Black Panther and Spiderman.
I went into this movie siding with Team Cap, probably because Iron Man was ultimately the antagonist in the book, but as the film progressed, I have to admit that I could see either side of the argument. The fight sequences are exciting, due to the excellent stunt work and convincing use of CGI, also the acting here is surprisingly deep, especially for a Marvel movie, with several cast members giving passionate, convincing performances.
While the action and humour that we have come to expect from a Marvel movie is present here, this film definitely does take on a darker tone in a few sequences and it also questions the idea of superheroes as a concept. There is not only a physical battle present in this movie, but also a psychological one as well as a socio-political one.
The score is used well, there is actually not too many songs present and the score is mostly made up of orchestral instrumental pieces, which also tells you something about the tone of this movie in comparison with previous Marvel films. The editing is also good, snappy enough to keep a consistent pace, while being clear enough to still tell a comprehensible, cohesive story.
In re-examining Captain America: Civil War for review, this film works on many different levels. It serves as an exciting sequel to Captain America Winter Soldier, it works as an ensemble Avengers piece, it works as a sufficient introduction to several new characters and it also blends the more serious tone of previous Cap movies with the more light hearted tone we have previously seen in the Avengers movies. It is a well told, tightly woven story, that still feels large in scope, which is not an easy thing to achieve, *coughs* Batman V Superman, *coughs.* While it’s not what I expected to get when it was first announced that they were making a film based on the Civil War story arc, it is still a fantastic comic book movie.
They also absolutely nail Spider-Man here, in every way. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is the most faithful adaption we have had on the big screen to date, Holland was the perfect choice to play him. Aunt May is played by Marisa Tomei in the film and because she is so young compared to comic book Aunt May, I did initially have my doubts upon first viewing, but she also nails the small role that she has here. Black Panther is another character introduced in this movie and a good job is done establishing his place within the wider universe quickly and clearly. From the get go, we understand this character and his motivations for feeling the ways that he does.
The other surprise star of the film is Ant Man, who became Giant Man for the first time in Civil War. This would have been so easy to make feel cheesy and just have it not work at all, but here it is convincing and very well implemented into the airport battle. The CGI during this scene is also fantastic.
The airport scene is also a highlight of the movie, to see all of these characters onscreen together is truly amazing. Even after all this time, I still can’t believe that we got to see Spiderman making a Star Wars reference, whilst he was swinging around Giant Man, the nerd part of my brain went into overload and I can never wipe off the massive, stupid grin that is on my face whenever I watch this scene. Overall, upon revisiting Captain America: Civil War for review, it still holds up as one of the greatest entries in the MCU to date.
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