There’s always the stigma for sequels to be bigger and better than the movie preceding it. The films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in particular, have even more pressure, as each film in their now thirteen-film saga has to set up new characters, new movies, new conflicts, and also be bigger and better than the movie preceding it. In typical Marvel fashion, “Captain America: Civil War” stares down these challenges, and with help from the who’s who of Marvel movies and the great Russo brothers, Joe and Anthony, deliver yet another strong, enjoyable adventure film.
The last time we saw Steve Rogers (aka Captain America), he was fighting valiantly alongside his fellow Avengers against the evil robot Ultron, a battle which ended with an entire city in Eastern Europe being destroyed to save the world. After another battle with the Avengers causes casualties oversees, the heroes of the world are forced to face a public that starts to distrust the accountability of the good guys who seemingly answer to no one. This then leads to world governments looking to lock down the actions of the Avengers, a decision that starts to turn the Avengers against one another.
Rather than following the well-trod formula of superhero movies wherein the heroes swoop in to save the day from the clutches of some villain, followed by much applause and congratulations, “Civil War” examines the flip side to superheroes: being private citizens waging international wars for global peace, and having to make certain compromises to obtain it.
Captain America, being the scientifically constructed image of the ideal American soldier, often seems to be perfect and incorruptible, but the film showed very clearly where his weakness and flaws stem from. As his past best friend and now possible terrorist Bucky Barnes (aka The Winter Soldier) crashes chaotically back into Cap’s life, the ultimate boy scout breaks all the rules to make sure his friend is safe, even if it means turning his back on his teammates. It definitely strengthened his connection to the audience and opened doors to see the turmoil within other Avengers, giving insight of why they continue to fight their weird wars.
As the jewel of the Marvel franchise, any film featuring the Avengers needs to be full of great action scenes, of which Civil War has plenty. From one on one fight choreography to practical stunts and car chases to full-out CGI madness, each set piece succeeded in thrilling the audience, especially in one particular free-for-all battle wherein multiple heroes are given their time to shine with their cool abilities.
The film also opens the door for many other franchises, introducing King T’Challa (The Black Panther) and featuring great cameos like Scott Lang (Ant-Man). But without a doubt, the introduction fans will be talking about the most is that of the Marvel Universe’s resident wall-crawler Spider-Man. We finally get to see him in the Marvel cinematic universe, and he does not disappoint. Tom Holland portrays a near-perfect Peter Parker, making him lovable, intelligent, humble, slightly awkward, and at times, inappropriately talkative during fights. It will be hard to wait a whole year before we get to see Spidey in his own film in 2017.
There is a lot of plot to deal with in “Captain America: Civil War”, and the movie could have easily become too segmented or muddled because of it. However, against all odds, the film manages to weave together all the arcs, emotions, and character backgrounds beautifully, with each character having grown in some way.
I can’t recommend this film enough, and even consider it to be my favorite of the Marvel movie to date! The film hits theaters on May 6th. Which superhero are you most excited to see in action in “Captain America: Civil War”?
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