Last week, the folks over on the MCU Exchange show did a spoiler-free video review of Captain America: Civil War. (You can watch that by heading over here.) For those that prefer written reviews, however, I wrote up my own thoughts about the film which you can read below. Don’t worry, I made sure to avoid spoilers. (We’ll have a spoiler filled review ready to go after the film is officially released in May!)
In short: There’s a lot to say about Captain America: Civil War, but simply put, it’s not only Marvel’s best film to date, but it also happens to be a damn good film overall.
When it was officially announced that they’d be doing Civil War as the trilogy closer for Captain America, some were hesitant, trying to understand how they’d make the story-line from the comics work on screen. (At the time, getting Spidey for the Marvel Cinematic Universe seemed like a long-shot… goes to show a lot can change in two years.) Not only did they need to bring in specific characters, but they also needed to juggle a handful of old characters and somehow come away with a cohesive story that focused on Captain America. It seemed like a nearly impossible task, and yet, much like they did with 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Russo brothers proved they’re more than up to the task of the job. It’s beyond impressive just how cohesive the film manages to be when it’s not only so spread out, but constantly juggling such a massive cast, but it is. It’s cohesive. It’s strong. And it’s a damn fun ride from the moment it begins until the moment it ends.
As it stands, Captain America and Iron Man are the only two characters to have completed trilogies, and when you compare the two of them? It’s not hard to see which is superior here. Now, that isn’t because Marvel doesn’t understand Iron Man, they do. The first film is fantastic, Iron Man 2 is enjoyable albeit incredibly flawed, and Iron Man 3 is good. The Captain America trilogy, though? It’s quite honestly one of the best superhero trilogies ever. (Yes, I’m aware just how big a claim that is, but it’s the damn truth.) My first thought when leaving the theater was how great it’ll be to watch all three films back to back once Civil War hits home video. The movies are all so different, and yet, they work as a trilogy – as a single overarching story.
There’s so much I want to say, but firstly, I’d like to start with the Marvel Cinematic Universe newbies, because if their debuts in Civil War are a sign of what’s to come in Phase Three? We’re in for a treat. The most important debut here is Chadwick Boseman‘s T’Challa, aka Black Panther. (Before anyone yells “Spider-Man”, keep reading.) One of my fellow MCU Exchange writers, Jeremiah, went on to describe Boseman as being just as important to T’Challa/Black Panther as Robert Downey Jr. is to Tony Stark/Iron Man and Chris Evans is to Steve Rogers/Captain America, and I wholeheartedly agree with him. Boseman shines every single second he’s on the screen. His line delivery is spectacular. His action scenes are wonderful. But most importantly, he completely embodies this character. There are moments in the film where Boseman doesn’t even say a word and yet you can’t take your eye’s off of him. That’s how powerful his screen presence is in Civil War.
And then, of course, there’s Tom Holland, who makes his debut as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. All of those reviews that called Holland the best Peter Parker and Spider-Man we’ve had on screen? Believe them, folks. His mannerisms. The way he speaks. Holland is the perfect choice for Spider-Man. Prior to his casting, I’ll admit, I wasn’t entirely familiar with his work, only having seen him in minor roles, but he manages to stand his ground beside the likes of Downey and Evans with such ease – and as I’m sure you all know, that’s no small feat. He isn’t a huge player in the movie – not a spoiler! – but every moment he’s on screen, it’s hard not to smile because this is Spider-Man, this is the version us fans have been hoping to see on screen for a long time.
Now, back to the overall film here. I loved The Winter Soldier. It was both a fantastic superhero film, as well as a great film, and up until now, it had been Marvel’s best film. Civil War has since claimed that title. It’s a movie that completely ups the ante. While this is still very much a Steve & Bucky story, it’s also so much more than that. This is a story about a family of heroes that we’ve come to love over the years, struggling to decide what’s right and what’s wrong, and coming to accept the consequences of their choices. And much like the cast and directors promised fans already, there really isn’t a right or wrong team here. The motivations make sense. The writing is sharp and smart. The action looks like it was taken directly from a comic book – especially that air port scene. (Do not spoil that scene for yourself!) And in between all of this, there’s still that humor that we’ve come to know and love from Marvel films.
Ultimately, Captain America: Civil War should be the standard for all comic book movies going forward. It’s not just an enjoyable superhero movie, it’s an enjoyable movie with great writing, great acting (Downey Jr. and Evans are easily at the top of their game here) and a strong plot that builds upon the films that came before it.
9.8 Underoos out of 10. I would have given this a ten, but there were certain things that happened at the very beginning that knocked it down a bit for me. (Unfortunately, that’s as far into detail as I can go without spoiling anything!)
- When it comes to villains, I’ve read many reports where people stated that Daniel Brühl‘s Zemo was a terrible villain in this film, but I have to disagree. It’s hard to discuss his character here without spoilers, however I will say this, he is a great subtle villain.
- And as for the score? Many seem divided by the score, calling it less than memorable, however, I quite enjoyed it. Was it better than the score for The Winter Soldier? No. Was it still enjoyable? Yes.
- For those worried about the Russo brothers taking over the Avengers films, Civil War should ease those concerns.
- Have I praised Boseman and Holland enough? I don’t think I have. Guys, they’re so, so good.
- There was only one post credit scene shown at the screening, but man was it a good one. (Again, do not spoil this for yourself, folks!)