If you type in the words “civil war” into Google, only one of the first five results has to do with the American Civil War. The other four are about Captain America and the hype surrounding his latest outing that was heightened by first-rate early reviews.
“Captain America: Civil War,” the third movie in Marvel’s popular franchise, is a thrilling celebration of superhero culture and the best comic book film adaptation to date.
“Civil War” pits two teams of superheroes led by Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) against each other in a clash of ideologies and personal vendettas. It is a very thrilling and engaging film that features epic, whimsical fight scenes and also delves into personal turmoil and emotional horror.
The story centers around a conflict of principles between Captain America and Iron Man over whether or not the Avengers should submit to policing by an international committee. Like the previous “Captain America” films, the fate of Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is an important and often compromising factor in the Captain’s decisions, and in this case makes him seem a little whiny and out of perspective.
The film combines fun and suspense from beginning to end; however its finale – a showdown between Iron Man and the Captain America/Winter Soldier tag team – carries such devastating implications for the characters that it is hard to know who to root for and creates a rift between the heroes.
Although the film is supposed to center around Captain America, newcomers to the Marvel Cinematic Universe steal the show. Black Panther’s (Chadwick Boseman) epic suit, righteous anger, acrobatic fight scenes and long screen time make him an intriguing and easily likeable character. Meanwhile Tom Holland provides viewers with quite possibly the best Spiderman yet, combining the brains of Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker with the snark of Andrew Garfield’s rendition, giving Holland’s “Spidey” a joke count to rival Tony Stark’s Iron man.
While “Civil War” furthers the depth and development for many of the heroes, the same can’t be said for all of them. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is supposed to be retired, yet when he shows up later in the film it feels like an attempt by Marvel to pack in as many heroes as possible. The same could be said for Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), who doesn’t add much to the story besides comic relief and a few visually exciting fight scenes.
Superhero movies are all about the fight scenes and with “Civil War,” Marvel has crafted the best superhero brawls to date. From its opening chase and fight scene, the film demonstrates expertise and imagination in its choreography. When the two teams of heroes finally clash on an airport runway, every character’s strengths and weaknesses are explored in an over-the-top scene that represents a comic fan’s dream come true.
The central clash between Captain America and Iron Man is more significant and in depth due to the emotional investment and moral convictions that Steve Rogers and Tony Stark bring to the table. It’s a fight that threatens to divide the fans and undo the teamwork and brotherhood established in the “Avengers” movies.
The only negative aspect to the otherwise expertly crafted fights would be the occasional shoddy camera work, especially in the film’s early action sequences. An excessive use of abrupt jump cuts coupled with amateurish shaky shots make for a nauseating introduction to the film that threatens to confuse viewers and lowers the quality of an otherwise astounding film.
As hard as it is for a DC fan like me to admit, “Captain America: Civil War” proves that Marvel is still the undisputed king of superhero flicks. It elevates the potential of superhero fight scenes to new heights and adds new emotional depth to fan favorite characters.
– Matthew Fernandez