War is easier when you have a clear right and a definite wrong. But what happens when the lines are so blurred that you wake up and can no longer realize on which side you stand? Captain America Civil War is such a fight. I went into this movie clearly on one side of the fence but when the final credits finished rolling, I had changed allegiance.
The Russo Brothers, the directors of this film, have mastered the ability to frame a story with great action and thrills, stellar themes and character development way beyond the main plot by delving deep into the psyche of the characters and story. But what they did so great in this film was turn one war into two.
Captain America Civil War, on the surface, seems like a fight over superhero registration – a hero’s right to choose to be heroic vs. governmental oversight – a fabricated heroism. Too much collateral damage around the world has forced the hands of leaders to want to have control over the hands of those with superhuman powers.
But at its core, Captain America Civil War is a film about Captain America vs Iron Man. Tony Stark vs Steve Rogers. The ideals of patriotism, truth, and freedom of Steve vs the belief in capitalism, science and structure of Tony. We were led to believe that both fights are one in the same but the Russo Brothers excellently show that they are opposite sides of the same coin and this movie makes you flip that coin.
Captain America Civil War is truly worth that coin flip, as it is quite possibly the best Marvel movie – and what a way to start Marvel’s Phase 3! This film is clearly led by Captain America/Steve Rogers, his narrow world view, and his convictions – which become infectious but are also naïve. Iron Man/Tony Stark is the hard liner, founded by his own guilt for being the architect of many of the reasons why the world has a problem with superheroes. He’s part savior… part enemy.
This movie provides us with so much more than the incentives of Tony & Steve, but of every hero and why they take the positions they do. This is what makes the Russo Brothers so special – their ability to juggle and offer more than enough screen time and development to all the characters while staying true to their comic nature.
Intros to Spider-Man and Black Panther, and their respective worlds, are handled beautifully – making our mouths water for their upcoming stand-alone films. These two, along with Ant-Man, are the biggest surprises in the movie – with how incredibly exciting and accurate they are portrayed. The big action piece, the airport scene, may be one of the greatest action scenes ever!
Captain America Civil War is everything that you want to have in a blockbuster film. It lives up to the hype with incredible action scenes/fighting and impressive storytelling with great arcs that turn good people and ideas into questionable motivations. It offers stellar acting performances and a fulfilling conclusion that doesn’t pander to the audience but forwards thought.
Go see this “Civil War“, once for Steve Rogers and then again for Tony Stark, and witness the journey of two superheroes who share a friendship and a mantle that weighs heavily upon the shoulders of these powerful men. A “Civil War“ that has been heating up ever since the first Avengers movie and finally boils over and gives us the film we deserve. Marvel continues to find a way to up the ante in their cinematic universe – keeping the fans emotionally invested in a war that, in the end, we don’t know which side to stand and on.
Darryl King is a video director, film writer and avid Marvel/DC comic book/movie lover. Check out his reviews of Deadpool, Avengers: Age of Ultron, ANT-MAN, and his primer guide to Captain America: Civil War right here on MMT.