Back when Captain America: Civil War was announced during a Marvel Studios event in 2014, the anticipation I have had for this entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been rising with every single passing moment. Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, stood on a stage and announced the next Captain America film would be named Serpent Society and every single person was left a little underwhelmed. Then he backtracked and revealed the film’s true title, as well as bringing out Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. to a deafening noise from the excited crowd.
Taking elements from the popular Civil War comic and rearranging a few things to make it fit the continuity of the MCU, Marvel turned to the Russo brothers, Anthony and Joe, who did such a good job with The Winter Soldier, to bring this story to the big screen. The Russo brothers have struck gold once again with Civil War, a film that may not only be the best entry into the MCU but one of the greatest comic-book films ever made.
After events in New York, Washington DC, Sokovia and finally, a botched mission in Lagos, the Avengers, led by Captain America (Chris Evans), are brought in by the US government to sign the Sokovia Accords, a document that states the Avengers must work under government supervision rather than their own free will.
Many people still see them as heroes yet there is a growing number of people who see them as nothing more than vigilantes who should be put on a leash, or stopped altogether. Captain America, who also has the trouble of finding his best friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) before he’s taken out for good, decides against signing the document, causing a rift between not only himself and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), but splitting the Avengers right down the middle.
While the Avengers, with the exception of Thor and Hulk, are all in Civil War, it is still most definitely a Captain America film, driven by a very personal story for the First Avenger. I have to applaud the writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, for the job they have done delivering a strong emotional core to Civil War. Captain America’s main priority is getting Bucky, operating as the Winter Soldier for years, back at all costs and the effect it has on his friendship with Tony Stark is devastating, culminating in an emotionally fuelled finale that will leave you torn.
These are characters we’ve spent eight years following so to see them come to blows, especially when you can agree with why both are fighting, makes you genuinely care about the fight itself and the fallout of it all.
One of the highlights of The Winter Soldier was the action, particularly the hand-to-hand fights, and it’s great to see the Russo brothers deliver brilliant action once again. The film is full of pulsating action whether it be close quarter combat or blistering chase sequences however, the stand-out action sequence in Civil War comes in the form of an all out brawl between two teams made up of various Avengers in a German airport. It’s full of wonderful character moments and some brilliantly executed fun surprises, making it quite possibly one of the greatest scenes in any comic-book film.
One of my worries for Civil War was whether there would be too many characters in one film. It could have been a recipe for disaster and ended in a convoluted mess but that is definitely not the case. The Russo brothers do the characters we are familiar with justice as well as introducing new faces that I can’t wait to see again in the MCU.
Both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. have never been better in their respective roles of Captain America and Tony Stark. Downey Jr. in particular gives a really memorable performance as a guilt ridden Stark who feels the Avengers should be reined in.
All of the other familiar faces are brought to life with good performances but the real stand-outs are the new characters that we’d all been dying to see in action. First up is Chadwick Boseman in the role of T’Challa/Black Panther, a prince and warrior of Wakanda. Boseman cuts a very regal and imposing figure as Black Panther, more than holding his own against the likes of Captain America and the Winter Soldier. Then there is Peter Parker/Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland. This is Spider-Man’s debut in the MCU after Sony agreed to share the rights with Marvel Studios so they had to get it right. They didn’t just get it right, they nailed it with Spider-Man. This is the Spider-Man I’ve wanted to see for some time now, quip after quip during the airport fight and a distinct awkwardness as Peter Parker, and I can’t wait to see more of him in the future. I will wait to see how his solo film pans out but we could be seeing the best Spider-Man yet here.
Take note DC, this is how you introduce new characters that will go on to shape the future of your cinematic universe.
Juggling a film of this magnitude with the vast array of characters on show is no easy challenge, yet it’s one that the Russo brothers thrive on. They have delivered a brilliant comic-book film in Captain America: Civil War and, with the stakes even higher and more characters to come for the next Avengers films, they are certainly the right men for the job.
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