Proving that you can make a decent superhero-showdown movie, Captain America: Civil War is a complete success from start to finish. An outstanding ode to cinematic spectacle and action, this could be Marvel’s opus. With the human race scared of the collateral damage left after various attacks on earth, The Avengers are strongly advised to sign a bill that makes them accountable for their actions. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) believes that this could be a massive mistake, trusting the teams own instincts rather than any forced agenda. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), weighed down by his own guilt, is in favour of the legislation and this rift fractures the team.
When the assassination of a prominent world leader points to Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) being responsible, a conflict ignites as friends become foes in a bid to discover the truth. This is where Civil War really excels – by creating a legitimate and believable scenario where allegiances are pulled apart and battle lines are drawn. The script is intelligent, with palpable tension and sensational action expertly-placed throughout the narrative. This constantly furthers the story by setting up the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and blows you away with energetic set-pieces that showcase why Marvel Studios are the kings of their craft.
Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. are amazing as Captain America and Iron Man respectively, with their individual plights given legitimate cause and effect. You can side with either party here and that is what makes the conflict all the richer – no one is necessarily wrong. Scarlett Johansson is a particular highlight as Black Widow, with the story not only using her very effectively in the conflict but also as a real action star of the film. Her fight sequence at the start of the movie is breathtaking.
The ensemble is big and you’d be forgiven for thinking that this would equate to a cluttered storyline but to Marvel’s credit this never happens. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo along with screen-writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have adapted Mark Millar’s seminal Civil War storyline remarkably well for the big screen. This utilises every character properly, with each allowed to leave a lasting impression on the narrative. Be it Paul Bettany’s Vision, Paul Rudd’s Ant Man, Don Cheadle’s War Machine, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye or Anthony Mackie’s Falcon – they all add meaningful depth to the story. Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlett Witch is used very well after her debut in Age of Ultron and even Emily VanCamp’s Agent 13 plays a pivotal role.
Captain America: Civil War also throws in tantalising first-looks at Black Panther and Spider-Man too. These new characters add a fresh new dimension to the MCU and are crowd-pleasers all the way. Chadwick Boseman is excellent as T’Challa, with Civil War setting up his solo Black Panther movie exceptionally well. Tom Holland is perfect as Peter Parker/Spider-Man with a decent back-story that effortlessly fits him into this existing universe. His performance echoes the best of what Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield brought to the role whilst giving the webslinger a new lease of life. Partnering up with Marvel & Disney on this project was the best business decision Sony have made in decades. 20th Century Fox should consider the same move to bring the X-Men and the Fantastic Four back home to Marvel for mutually beneficial results.
There are a couple of gripes in Civil War but these are extremely minor niggles that in no way affect the overall enjoyment of the spectacle. This is a spoiler-free review so I won’t go into detail here. If you wish to learn more, check out our Spoiler-filled examination of Captain America: Civil War (coming soon).
Delivering on all fronts, Captain America: Civil War is a resounding success that is everything you’d hope it would be. Big on grandeur and not afraid to take on an expansive story with numerous arcs, this is blockbuster filmmaking of the highest order. With magnificent action, involving characterisation and a thoughtful script, Captain America: Civil War is the best Marvel ensemble yet. It’s hard to see this being beaten all year, delivering the best blockbuster movie of 2016. Simply unmissable.
Check out the Captain America: Civil War character gallery & trailer below:
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Daniel Brühl, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, John Kani, John Slattery Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Writer: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (screenplay), Mark Millar (comic book) Released By: Disney / Marvel Studios Certificate: 12A Duration: 147 mins Release Date: 29th April 2016