Captain America: Civil War is a successful continuation of the franchise the world has come to know and love. With an interesting plot twist and impressive visuals, this is definitely something that will leave you buzzing for more. Although at points it felt like there was something missing, the Russo Brothers successfully pick up from where they left off, making us forget that other mess of a superhero film, from that other company a month ago….
In case you hadn’t seen the trailer, Civil War pits Cap against Iron Man following the events of The Avengers, Age of Ultron and Winter Soldier. After another incident rocks the world involving The Winter Soldier, an initiative is proposed to allow government bodies to control the actions of our heroes. With Cap backing freedom and Iron man on the side of registration, we see the highs, lows and eventual fallout of a team torn apart.
Up until this point, The Winter Soldier was the best standalone Marvel film. Thats right, I said it! The Russo brothers managed to not only bring Cap into the 21st century but they also managed to give us a corrupt government plotline that even Jason Bourne would have struggled to take down. Thankfully, Civil War continues the momentum, balancing an increasingly complicated mass of characters while also managing to tell the high octane storyline that we have all come to expect from the Marvel universe.
The action is simply astounding; its fast, its technical and above all, it looks like it hurts. Each sequence is skilfully clustered at exactly the right point, not only helping to tell the story but seamlessly phase you into the next act. Much like the Winter Soldier, the story is deep and morally more complex compared to some of the other standalone films, making the fight scenes just as important to the plot as the central story arc. If this is the final Captain America movie, its definitely goes out with a bang.
The true strength of the film however lies with the central screenplay. Choosing to focus on the story rather than the spectacle, the writers are able to give the Russo’s a solid foundation to build off of. Each character is well balanced and given their time but once they have had their moment, they are skilfully retired from the screen without them creating too much of a gap. Spiderman and Black Panther are played well – introducing them gently and leaving just enough space to get excited about their upcoming adventures. Spring boarding from the events of The Avengers, Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron is expertly built upon, answering some of the more ‘human’ questions these world disasters bring up.
Although at times it does feel more like an Avengers 2.5 than a Captain America sequel, the only real issue comes at the climax. An abrupt end is a nice change of pace, but it seems to end much quicker than expected and in a way fans of the comic book may not like. Although still plagued by any lack of a charismatic bad guy, the central plot pitting hero against hero is interesting enough to keep you hooked and as such allows the Russo’s to tell a story that goes against the conventional ‘good guy’ vs ‘bad guy’ model the 12 other features have done before.
In terms of performance – each character manages to suit up (mind the pun) exactly the same way as they have done before. Sporting an incredibly large cast, each one gets their moment and each one takes it head on. Of course, you will never get anything Oscar worthy, but its nice to see comic relief from Tony Stark, innocence of Peter Parker and unwavering righteousness of Steve Rogers. The only member of the cast that is underutilized though is Daniel Bruhl. With a veil of secrets surrounding his role within the film, it was a little disappointing to see him underutilized.
At its heart, Captain America: Civil War successfully bridges the gaps between the ever expanding universe with a strong story driven plot, interesting conflict and incredible action set pieces. Although lacking a distinct enemy, the Russo’s have attempted to tell a superhero movie against the standard structure that has become increasingly predictable. With a new twist and once again another shake up to the extended Marvel Cinematic Universe, not only does this provide one of the better adventures for our heroes but also adds another layer of depth looking forward. 4.5 out of 5.