This review contains no spoilers
This is a superb film. With a stellar story, well-developed characters and beautiful action sequences, it is a serious film that still retains Marvel’s token humour. It is, without a doubt, the best film that Marvel/Disney has made.
Captain America: Civil War picks up where the last film left off and the Avengers, for this really is an Avengers film and contains the whole cast, are now a global task force, dealing with the likes of biochemical weapon threats. But when an accident happens and the Avengers are responsible for civilian deaths, a global outcry erupts, calling for the Avengers to have some oversight, to be controlled and to be limited. What follows is a brief discussion about the double-edged sword that superheroes are; that they do the right thing and make the world safer but at a cost, usually being explosions and collateral damage in the form of civilian deaths. And, more importantly, they cause escalation of activities and enemies.
Tony Stark/Iron Man, overcome by guilt at the death of a young American boy who died as a result of the actions of the Avengers, supports these new regulations. Steve Rogers/Captain America dislikes the limitations, of not being able to do the right thing when it needs to be done, and he doesn’t like bureaucracy or restrictions on individual freedom. But the film wisely doesn’t dwell on this debate and instead keeps moving. The re-emergence of Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers’ childhood friend, also known as The Winter Soldier, a notorious assassin, propels the story into a race about who can reach him first and about the Winter Soldier’s right to a fair trial. But without saying too much, the Winter Soldier and the Civil War are not the half of it. This is a lot of film, about two and a half hours’ worth, and it never sits still, never drags on and is never boring or preachy. It always grabs the audience with new events, emotional resonance and heightening stakes.
This film properly does what it sets out to do. I have mentioned that this is really an Avengers film, which means that there are a lot of characters to include. Despite the challenge to include so many characters, and to even introduce new ones, everyone gets the perfect amount of screen time and instead of relying on the plot device of a debate to carry the characters, the characters move the plot, meaning that their actions move the plot, and the debate, forward. This in turn adds layers of depth to the characters. New details and emotional twists revealed about many of the characters gives the film emotional resonance. It truly is a great film for the audience to watch because you are invested in these characters and because you don’t want anything bad to happen to them; you like them and become invested in their viewpoints. And as for the introduction of new characters, it is no spoiler to say that Spiderman makes an appearance, and it is the best Spiderman yet. Unlike the mess of the character that all the other Spiderman films have made, this Spiderman is funny, sarcastic, witty and entertaining.
As well, the superhero battles are magnificent and I literally couldn’t look away. This is a film done right. Wonderfully directed, emotional with a compelling story, a surprising number of superheroes whom each have to deal with their own challenges of being who they are, that are balanced with the perfect amount of screen time, this is a film that could have easily failed because of the many moving parts. Instead it is a triumph. It is a film that I loved and that I will see again. Better than any Marvel film to date, Captain America: Civil War is a superb piece of filmmaking. If you enjoy any of the previous films that I urge you to see this one.
Captain America: Civil War is in theatres now.
There are two post-credit scenes.