By Christian DiMartino
I’ve like pretty much all of the films from Marvel’s MCU (is that right? Not sure). I normally find myself being too generous to them most of the time, and I don’t even care. I may be being too generous once again to the latest entry, Captain America: Civil War, but I’ll be damned: I could barely find a problem with it.
Sure, if I sat there and analyzed it for a few hours, then yeah, I probably wouldn’t be so generous. But for now, I’m judging from the experience itself. So, yes, Captain America: Civil War is a knockout. A thrilling power punch that is easily the best of these films.
Yes, it’s a big, fat, overstuffed and overlong film, but yet directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who helmed the previous Captain America: The Winter Soldier, juggle so many storylines and characters that you have to admire it. Yeah, the previous Avengers films have accomplished the same thing. But this one is just uh… better.
Alright, so where to begin? Well, this film manages to tackle a similar topic approached in the mediocre Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The film opens with a fight, as you’d assume. However, the fight, as cool as it might be, doesn’t end up completely triumphant. Civilians are killed, property destroyed, etc. So it is then that General Ross (William Hurt, briefly) proposes an idea, basically restricting the Avengers. Tony (Robert Downey Jr., in probably his best turn in the role) is all for it, as he sees that they have been dangerous in the past. Captain America (Chris Evans, also strong in the role), to quote Hall & Oates, can’t go for that. No. No can do.
That’s just one of the many stories here.
Then, Cap is basically trying to protect his best friend, Bucky (Sebastian Stan), who we now know as the murderous Winter Soldier. So due to this, and Cap’s opposition against the restrictions, Cap and Iron Man are pretty much forced to turn on each other. But they’re not alone. On Team Cap, we have Falcon (Anthony Mackie, a scene stealer), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd, another scene stealer), Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and… I think that’s it. On Team Iron Man, we have Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Vision (Paul Bettany), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and the new additions: Spider-Man (the wonderful Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).
So, keep all that in mind… there’s more. There’s also an evil plan involving a dude named Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), who is actually a part of the push for them to turn against each other. Then also keep in mind that they have to take time to introduce Spider-Man and Black Panther. For those of you who were worried about Holland as Spider-Man (I had faith because of his excellent performance in The Impossible), have no fear. He completely hits it out of the park in his brief time. And Boseman is just a strong actor as it is. No need to worry.
I told you this was an overstuffed movie, and occasionally I admit that I was scrambling to figure out what the hell was going on. But yet all of these storylines are woven together with such skill. In another movie, it might seem slapped together. But here, it just comes naturally.
I thought I was finding myself getting tired of these films, mostly because they kind of seemed like the same thing over and over again. As much as I enjoyed them, I have to note that even when everything felt at stake, nothing actually felt at stake. I always figured the team would go home at the end of the night. This time, however, it doesn’t feel that way, and maybe that’s why it’s better. You actually feel something at stake, and while it has plenty of funny moments to go around, this one feels a tad darker than before. I think a push to the darkside was just what this franchise needed.
The great cast is definitely up to the challenge, as usual. The visual effects are dazzling. The action sequences are a knockout, and I noted something rare as the airport battle unfolded: I normally find myself getting bored during big, extended fights, but yet every moment in that fight is either hilarious or just plain cool. As for the other fight sequences, I was always in awe by just how fast everything and everyone moved. The other movies are like that too, but it took me by storm this time. As did the plot turns. I also liked how they finally pointed out the civilian casualties thing, as that has been lingering in my mind for eight movies now.
Pretty much the entire time I was watching Captain America: Civil War, I had a 3 and a half star rating in mind. But yet once it was over, I asked myself: Why the half star reduction? What is really wrong with it? Considering we get one of these movies every year now, this is about as awesome as you could ask for. While no comic book movie will ever match The Dark Knight, you can’t help but admire one that tries.
My faith is restored.