In anticipation of the next film in Marvel’s Phase Three of the MCU – Dr Strange…
Captain America: Civil war with its melting pot of superhero all-stars from both ends of the spectrum always looked like it was on the cusp of having the problem in fitting too many characters into a Captain America story. Despite being nicknamed as the ‘Avengers 2.5’ the Russo brothers manage to balance out its extensive roster and most prominently, the influence of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) who is a major player in the arc. The spotlight is shining brightly on the Captain (Chris Evans) and this is, as it very much should be, the Cap’s show.
Being the second superhero battle royale of the year, what sets it a mark above ‘Batman V Superman’ is its linear and simple storytelling which make it easy for literally anyone to enjoy. From the wiki-smart Marvel fanboy to the common man who knows nothing about the universe. Fight scenes are also in abundance with smooth choreography; and with everyone showing off their abilities, it makes for jaw dropping sequences which leave us wanting for more. I guess most people like these kind of flashy stuff rather than the super dark and morose setting BvS gives. Ultimately, this is the successful formula the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) is built on which constantly gives the audience great popcorn flicks and not psychological political thrillers. You can even call it, the gift which keeps on giving.
We have grown to forge a bond with these characters since the first Iron Man came out in 2008 and we understand how they are like and their way of thinking, In short, we do not need any introduction of them. They can effectively come on-screen and off without any complaint. Civil War knows it and abuses this well-established chemistry between the characters and the audience to a great extent. In a good way of course. This makes sure that the audience know where their heroes stand at different points in the film and whose side they are on. All the characters have their own reasons for taking a stand and it was important that those motivations were drawn out clearly and in a succinct way.
The villain, Baron Zemo (Daniel Brühl) does not need to be in this film at all. Although his actions did drive a few plot points, it feels as though the Avengers themselves would get to that checkpoint in the film without any need for his deeds because it really is revolving around the superhero act and so much conflict is simultaneously hitting the fan that the eventual throwdown becomes inevitable. What gets even more bemusing is the third and final act Zemo is involved in which completely takes the ‘Civil War’ out of Civil War. Civil War is about the conflict of contrasting ideologies and it should only be resolved via a major event eg. Cap’s death, or any other event of a similar magnitude. A third-party calefare unsettling the fabric of this deep-rooted feud doesn’t really fit into the idea of contradicting ideologies which is the core of Civil War.
Going back to the point of the film having a very vanilla storytelling experience, it backfires on some occasions as the arguments of different ideologies is constantly repeated and our heroes never seem to go deeper than the basis of collateral damage in major cities during confrontations with their enemies. But the reasons for drawing their daggers at each other’s throats is enough to sway me from team to team. Coming into the movie, I was Team Cap, and at the end of it, I was with Iron Man because of all the nonsense Cap had to throw at him just for buddy Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
As memorable as the final battle was, the ending will stand out like a sore thumb to fans of the comic. Captain America is supposed to take the blame for his team and be killed by the government like in the comics. This is a war, there are bound to be casualties whether it is physically, mentally or structurally. That is the ultimate consequence which is supposed to happen in my opinion. You don’t end a ‘Civil War’ with a zero body count. It doesn’t make sense and most importantly, it simply does not justify the humongous scale and impact of the ‘War’ that they were fighting in.
Enter Marvel’s trademark and ever so elusive end credits sequence which also happens to be most pointless one to date, telling us Spider-Man would be coming back in spite of the official announcement prior to the release of the film. With that being said, the new comers; Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) were awesome and I can’t wait to see them in their solo adventures.
Captain America: Civil War is a solid way to end the Captain America trilogy in spite of its unengaging villain and the lack of a more complex examination of its thought-provoking theme it naturally sets out to be.
Directed by: Joe Russo, Anthony Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Screenplay by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Based on: Captain America by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Daniel Bruhl
Running time: 147 minutes
Genre: Science fiction/Action