Captain America Civil War Review (Mild spoilers)

Marvel films currently seem to be a constantly moving train. From the flow of delicious intertextuality in flitting around from all the different new superheroes swooping in during every new film and leaving the audiences quivering in a gleeful mess on the floor, to the incredible fast paced and mind bending action sequences throughout. Civil War was no different, bringing back lots of the old cast as well as some of the minor characters from standalone films, such as Bucky and Rhodey (you suck dude). The new additions however were definitely the meatiest packages in this film.
I went into this film with very little prior knowledge save the essential, public knowledge information drilled into me by the mass advertising campaigns of the last few years of comic book films; Iron Man and Captain America weren’t too happy with the cut of each others jib and so have a little feud going on, there’s a whole new generation of Spider-man (Tom Holland) web-swinging in at some point in addition to Ant-Man and the other previously featured team members, and there was going to be an epic fight sequence between the two opposing teams (with Stan Lee delivering an obligatory one liner around the halfway point probably). My knowledge of the actual story though was next to none, so I went in with just these little tidbits of knowledge, and I’m glad I did.

The hype train went at an alarming speed making no stops on it’s way, and finishing with not one, but two post credits scenes for the die-hard fans. This film was a glorious treat for every nerd, with Spider-man even naively tossing in a casual Star Wars reference, asking if they had heard of this ‘Old movie from the 70s’ and completely glossing over the fact it’s one of the most beloved franchises of all the time, of course delivered perfectly.

These characters generate so much excitement on-screen that even the mere mention of a name leaves the audience shrieking like the ice cream van just pulled up outside and we’re all entitled to a free ’99’. The dialogue was crafted extremely well, from the playful banter between Iron man and Spider-man, to the pained rivalry the Falcon had to ignore as he was forced to work beside Bucky. The characters bounced off each in a very entertaining way, playing on the fact that many of them have never met on screen, my personal highlight of which being Ant-man’s quirky, witty, carefree attitude to ‘crime fighting’, in a role perfectly suited to socially awkward star of ‘I Love You, Man’ and ‘Role Models’ Paul Rudd. Ant-man essentially mirrored the way much of the fan base would behave had they been placed in the shoes of a superhero, all the passion – none of the finesse. He’s a fan of the avengers as he demonstrates to meeting Cap and constantly attempts to keep it professional (but just can’t because he’s so overwhelmed with the excitement of what’s happening around him). He treats the battle as one exciting whimsical adventure, which is most likely what any fan would feel were they suddenly thrust into the Marvel universe.
Over the past few years, Hollywood blockbusters have been criticised for being nothing more than a spectacle, A treat for the eyes and not for the brain, giving us lots of cool explosions and state of the art robots and hey Megan Fox keep taking your clothes off you’re doing great. Not a great deal of focus on with regards to storyline, which is something I look for most in a film. But I think Captain America: Civil War definitely proves this isn’t the case. This was my most favourite storyline from a Marvel film thus far, touching on Morality and dancing around the blurred lines of what being a hero is with a cocktail of clashing perspectives on the matter of accountability. For the past decade, the avengers have been just doing their own thing; bad guy appears, They show up, beat them down and casually walk away from the death and destruction with their heads held high ready to collect their medals (and get some Shawarma). But here, the repercussions of the ignorant waves of destruction they’ve indirectly caused come crashing down upon them. In the previous films all the cool explosions and mindless destruction were glossed over and ignored, but now they all come rising to the surface, and it’s ugly. The Avengers share the same goal of peace as the human race but their method of achieving it is brought into question in the newest film and their roles as heroes begin to become twisted and denied to them in light of their past mistakes. The overlaying conflict of the film is that the heroes are supposed to stop evildoers and save lives but in the process have actually caused more harm than good. The humans attempt to put a leash on the overpowered crusaders, which causes blood to boil across the whole team, as some want their freedom of choice while others (team Iron Man) are willing to accept accountability.

The brilliant thing about this film is that there is a huge pool of story arcs working parallel to each other which justify each character’s actions and help you build an objective opinion and understand each character. Each had their own reasoning for being pissed off, whether someone killed someone they loved or they were being controlled by some evil dudes. Even Zemo (Daniel Brühl, AKA the evil Nazi guy from Inglorious Basterds) trying to resurrect the Winter Solider had valid reasons to be peeved off after the avengers had a part in killing his entire family and without caring or even being aware of it, having murdered his wife and son without batting an eyelid. There was so much conflict with friends fighting each other, not out of hatred, but just difference of opinion. Hawkeye and Black widow nodded to this when she asks ‘Are we still friends?’. The battle has became more of a formality than anything, a platform to get their opinions across and it made for some interesting conversation between friends after the film discussing who they sided with. Personally? I was on Iron Man’s side, they needed a tighter leash because they were a snowball of chaos with infinite power; that power needed restriction or the heroes would slowly start believing they could work outside the boundaries of society and morality. Captain America caused so much death by holding onto a childhood friend. His friendship with Bucky held as a tether to his ruthless evil side. He wanted his friend back so protected him and allowed him to go on a warpath.
The action scenes once again proved to be a visual treat in terms of the CGI creativity in the way the characters move and fight. It bends the mind as they manipulate their environment and their powers, a real testament to the spectacle of the Superhero genre. The action flows so fluidly, throwing in some interesting methods of kicking ass especially with Ant-man’s scenes in which they use his changing sizes to trick opponents. I enjoyed Ant-man in this film a lot, alright!?
So yeah I enjoyed Civil War a great deal. It was exciting from start to finish and didn’t let up even when the credits began to roll, A thought provoking storyline and plenty of laughs to eat up as you watch legends awkwardly try to live in our reality.


Elliot

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