Captain America: Civil War

There has been an ever increasing number of potential world-ending events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and time and time again the Avengers have been there to save the day. The villain is defeated, the heroes celebrate, and then it’s time to move on to the next adventure. Rarely do we see the aftermath of these battles, at least from a citizen’s viewpoint. Captain America: Civil War puts the focus on why the Avengers need to be in check and alters the landscape of the MCU in spectacular fashion. There is no other superhero film like it.


Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has always been about the mission and doing what’s right. He’s the shining example of what it means to be a hero. His latest mission sends him and the other Avengers to Lagos to stop Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) from getting his hands on a biological weapon. While the team manages to stop Rumlow, unfortunately lives are lost in the collateral damage. In an attempt to shorten the leash on the Avengers, the government introduces a set of accords that will establish an overseeing committee that will decide when and where they will intervene. And the first one to put his support behind the accords is none other than Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) who believes that the Avengers need to be regulated. On the opposite end is Rogers, who believes that regulation is only the start of something more dangerous. What starts as a differing in opinion quickly turns into an all out battle over egos where no one comes out unscathed.


The first half of the film is more drama than action as it sets the tone of everything that follows. At the center of the entire conflict is James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan) aka the Winter Soldier, who has been accused of a terrorist attack at a United Nations conference for the signing of the accords that resulted in the death of Wakanda king T'Chaka. Stark is working with Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) to take Bucky down, while Rogers wants to save his best friend and fellow soldier. Siding with Stark is Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Vision (Paul Bettany). Rogers, meanwhile leads Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Barnes, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) in an effort to clear Barnes’ name while also uncovering a plot that threatens their very existence. Newcomers Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and even Spider-Man (Tom Holland) join the fray as an all-out battle breaks out among heroes.


With so many new and returning characters to keep track of, Civil War does a fantastic job at presenting a clear and straightforward story that plays to everyone’s strengths. The main conflict between Captain America and Iron Man takes center stage, and you can really feel the tension continue to build as each side tries their hardest to prevent the inevitable split from happening. We’ve come to know these characters for years, and while I personally found myself siding with Captain America it’s easy to see where Iron Man is coming from. It’s a mess of a situation with no right solution, and Civil War doesn’t hold back.


The introduction of Black Panther and Spider-Man is handled perfectly as both Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland are excellent in their respective roles. Spider-Man’s appearance is brief but memorable with witty banter and a child-like awe of everyone else because, well, he is still just a teenager. If you weren’t excited for Spider-Man: Homecoming before, you will be now. Same with Black Panther. T'Challa couldn’t care less about the feud between the Avengers and only wants vengeance against Bucky for killing his father. His agility gives him some of the most fantastic stunts of the film, and you quickly see he is more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the best of the team.


The highlight of the film comes in the second half when Team Iron Man and Team Captain America finally face off against one another at an airport in Leipzig. It’s usually around this point when some external force comes in to unite the two teams against a common enemy, but no, Civil War has everyone go all out against each other in one gigantic fight that’ll have you hypnotized. The banter is great and will have you laughing, while the superb fighting sequences will leave you stunned in amazement. It’s the single greatest action scene in any superhero film ever.


Action aside, Captain America: Civil War makes you truly care about the drama. This isn’t just some nonsense superhero flick that meant to string together one action scene after another. You feel for these characters and their decisions as they pummel each other into submission. The climactic final confrontation between Cap and Iron Man is absolutely brutal. You really feel that they are on the brink of killing one another.


Civil War is an all out war between what once was friends. It’s how a versus movie should be. The action and humor of previous Marvel films is all there, but it’s all wrapped together around a dramatic story where the stakes feel real and whose consequences will shape the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There’s no other film quite like it.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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