Review: Captain America: Civil War Shows Us That In Some Fights No One Is Entirely In The Right
Title: Captain America: Civil War
Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Screenwriter: Christopher Markus (screenplay), Stephen McFeely (screenplay), Mark Millar (comic book), Joe Simon (characters), and Jack Kirby (characters)
Principal Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Romanoff, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, and Jeremy Renner
Summary: Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.
I’m fairly unapologetic about my love of Marvel movies these days. I figure that the best I can do is be as open about it and remind people that while I try to be as objective as possible I do have a bias toward these movies. I say this because I have a feeling that the ‘bias’ argument is going to be made against a lot of reviewers that say that they love Captain America: Civil War. There is no such thing as being totally objective about anything. Our bias’, interests and loves govern all that we do. For example, I recently went to the Kennedy Space Center. I could try and give you my unbiased opinion of the experience but I wouldn’t be able to because I love space and that changed the way I looked at everything there. So, yes, I do have a bias toward Marvel but I also understand that their movies aren’t perfect. Additionally, I’m not overly fond of the Civil War comic so I did have some reservation about it.
Captain America: Civil War kicks off the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by giving us a nuanced look at conflicting ideals that is expertly done by people who understand this world.
There were a lot of things I was worried about when I saw that they were adapting Civil War. As I said I’m not a fan of the original comic and I was worried that this, too, would turn into an “out of character” mess. I was worried that this large cast was going to make this an Avengers movie instead of a Captain America movie. I was worried that the MCU’s love of Tony Stark / Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) would overwhelm the movie. I was pleasantly surprised that almost all of my worries were for naught. The Marvel universe has already done a ‘versus’ scenario in the second season of Daredevil and there are similarities in Captain America: Civil War to that plot as well. That is the idea that, like most complicated arguments, there are no right answers. The movie’s marketing has been all about ‘choosing sides’ but the reality of the movie is that no one is right. Steve Rogers / Captain America (Chris Evans) makes some great points but also makes mistakes, just as much as Tony does.
That is something that the previous superhero fight earlier this year failed to do. For a fight like this to heft some sort of weight you need to be able to see both sides and see that they both could be right or wrong. This movie’s excellent script does a great job of conveying this. Captain America: Civil War very much feels like something that has been building since the original Iron Man in 2008 because it is all about consequence. The consequence of acting and not acting, the consequence of one’s actions and each beat of this story builds on the next. By the time we get to the big fight between the two teams we understand how we got here. It feels natural and the movie even made me feel bad for Tony Stark, which is something I haven’t felt in several movies.
The movie isn’t perfect because, of course, it isn’t but the flaws are small enough that they don’t break the movie. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo tend to rely on the “shaky cam” a bit too much for their action scenes but the sense of space is never lost. There are some characters that feel like they should have had a bit more screentime, with the most obvious being Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) since she is so tied to Captain America. The end of the movie felt like it was focusing on the wrong character (to keep this spoiler free) which annoyed me a little. It’s a long movie that drags a little in the middle, but I was so engaged that it didn’t really bother me that much.
Captain America: Civil War is a movie I could probably write a novel about. I didn’t even get a chance to mention how this is the best Peter Parker / Spider-Man (Tom Holland) that has ever been put to screen, or that T’Challa / Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) is amazing and that I wish his solo outing was out tomorrow. The Russo brothers and writers Chrispher Markus and Stephen McFeely understand these characters probably better than anyone else working right now. I hope the Russo’s take those two with them to Avengers: Infinity Warbecause there isn’t a better creative team working in the MCU right now. Captain America: Civil War continues the Marvel tradition of excellent movies that has built a great foundation to these coming movies.