Captain America: Civil War is the dramatic, action packed latest instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing a lot of our favourite minor characters into the larger fray and setting us up for The Big One – Avengers: Infinity War. There’s a lot riding on this one, and Marvel has brought in their best directors, the Russo Brothers, to take the wheel. It may be another superhero versus movie (following the disaster that was Batman vs. Superman), but trust me, this is one to get excited over.
Captain America: Civil War picks up just after the disastrous events in Sokovia, when political pressure is forcing the Avengers to become a government entity. Laden with guilt over his failed Ultron experiment, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) seeks to do what is right and make the Avengers more accountable, but Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is driven by his own moral compass, believing that the Avengers should be independent, causing a rift between Captain America and Iron Man. And, with the return of the Winter Soldier in the mix, Steve and Tony’s loyalties to each other are tested beyond their limits. Because that’s the most important thing that Civil War accomplishes: it reminds us that our superheroes are human, and that they’re not just allies, but friends.
More than anything, Civil War is a character driven film, with each of the Avengers battling their own issues, whether it’s guilt over what happened in Sokovia, the loss of someone close to them, or the struggle to do what is right. The Russo Brothers really embraced the humanity of the Avengers, and as the rift between Steve and Tony grows and the Avengers are forced to choose between responsibility and justice, we see friendships torn apart and lines crossed, and not everyone will come out of it in one piece.
But for all the seriousness and drama, there is still the spectacular action and humour that one can expect from a Marvel film. The film opens with a heart-stopping scene in Lagos, where we are reminded both how badass our Avengers are, and also how the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron are still haunting them. The titular battle between Cap and Iron Man in the third act is brutal, seemingly to the death, and possibly the fight of the year (certainly the fight everyone wanted out of BVS). But the fight everyone was waiting for, the airport showdown between Team Cap and Team Iron Man, really delivered, with spectacular fight scenes, some huge set pieces, plus some hilarious quipping from the whole team. Actually, for such a dark movie, Civil War did have some quite upbeat moments, most of which are due to the inclusion of newcomers Ant-Man and Spider-Man, AKA Scott Lang and Peter Parker.
Because, in a film full of such great, affective characters, the new additions are the most exciting. Paul Rudd is awesome from the moment he meets Steve and the team, and Chadwick Boseman gave a deep, emotional performance as T’Challa/Black Panther, making me very excited for the Black Panther solo film. But seeing Spider-Man finally be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was so exciting; Tom Holland was brilliant as the webslinger, nailing not only the shy, awkward teenager of Peter Parker (Holland is only 19, and much closer to Peter’s age than any other Spidey actor), but also the quippy motor mouth that is Spider-Man. As a big Spider-Man fan, he is the best Spider-Man so far, and I can’t wait to see the future of Spider-Man. The returning cast was also great: Robert Downey Jr perfectly adapted to this darker, more solemn Tony Stark, and it was nice to see more of Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff. Of course, it was Chris Evan’s movie, and he played Steve with the perfect amount of conflict and justice, but the best thing about the movie was that it gave new characters a chance; it showed us a very different team of Avengers than we normally get, which was new and refreshing.
But what about the villain? Rather than a cosmic Big Bad, or a never-ending army of robots, Civil War’s villain was much closer to home, and, without giving away spoilers, had a pretty reasonable motive. This was a refreshing change, and though the villain was much less memorable in this film than, say, Loki, it created much higher stakes, and gave the film the gritty, human feel that it needed.
If Marvel revitalised the superhero genre, making them less serious and creating the idea of a ‘Cinematic Universe’, then the Russo Brothers revitalised Marvel. Their Marvel films have been thrilling, character driven and fearless, without sacrificing the humour and the fun. Civil War is no exception: it’s tense, emotional, and deeply exciting, and it’s basically everything that Batman vs. Superman should’ve been. Best of all, it does the thing that only the best films do: it makes you wonder how the world will ever be the same again.
So many actors! Here’s my list of the top five films starring the cast of Captain America: Civil War:
- Lost In Translation – Scarlett Johansson
- Clueless – Paul Rudd
- The Martian – Sebastian Stan
- Sherlock Holmes – Robert Downey Jr
- Hail, Caesar! – Scarlett Johansson
Plus, of course, all of the other Marvel films. But that would be cheating…