In the past several movies have been released at almost the same time, covering the same subject: Deep Impact and Armageddon, A Bug’s Life and Antz and recently Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. This spring both Marvel and DC put out a movie that pits two of their most popular characters against each other: Batman vs. Superman and Captain America vs. Iron Man. Both have another similar theme as they both tackle the subject of the mass destruction the actions of self-assigned heroes often causes. Where Batman v Superman was demolished by the critics it’s unlikely Captain America: Civil War will suffer the same fate as the end result is one of Marvel’s best movies.
Let’s get right to it: Captain America: Civil War is the movie Age Of Ultron should have been. That movie felt too much of a rehash of the first Avengers movie. While other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Guardians Of The Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier felt much more like a breath of fresh air, Age Of Ultron copied too many elements form its predecessor to make a lasting impact.
While the marketing materials show us an enormous cast, dubbing it even Avengers 2.5 by some of the cast members, this is still very much a Captain America movie. Steve Rogers is the heart of the movie and receives most of the screen time and the majority of the plot involves his old friend Bucky, or as we know him by now: The Winter Soldier. Because this is a Captain America movie, that makes Tony Stark pretty much the antagonist, but the writers go to great lengths to make both sides seem right and reasonable. Even though guilt is a large motivation to Tony’s reasoning, there is something to be said about a group of individuals operating above the law.
Most movies up until have been rather negligent about the impact of the actions of the heroes. Ever since it’s easy to destroy entire cities with CG we merely frown upon the destruction of Chicago in Transformers or the fictional city of Sokovia in Age Of Ultron. As long as the bad guys are stopped at the end of the day and all the protagonists are alive at the end, everything is just hunky dory. Civil War not only addresses that, but also is surprisingly self aware at other moments like Spider-man commenting on how Captain America’s shield is disobeying the laws of physics or Vision concluding that the creation of advanced people seems to go hand in hand with earth threatening dangers.
Captain America: Civil War is a surprisingly adult movie considering the light-hearted image the Marvel Cinematic Universe has. For once the stakes seem really high and everybody’s life in jeopardy though it would be a safe guess no one important will die which is becoming a central weakness in these series. They don’t have the guts to kill off main characters.
The trailers played with the idea that in this Civil War a character like War Machine could die. It sure looked like it when Tony is holding him after he crashed in a field. There are other moments in the movie where it might just seem that they will have the guts to kill a character off but they never do. The only character they actually killed off was Quick Silver in Age Of Ultron, but that is probably the result of him also being in the X-Men series owned by Fox. He also was introduced in that movie, so it’s not like they killed off a beloved character. At one point they do need to start dropping bodies, maybe in the upcoming Infinity War movies, but it would not surprise me if everybody gets out alive from those two as well.
Missing from almost all of the promotional material was the villain Baron Zemo. That’s not surprising considering his limited screen time, but he plays an important role in pitting the former friends against each other and is one of the few villains in the Marvel movies that isn’t out on world domination or something other megalomaniacal. This makes him actually a more intriguing villain than most of the Marvel villains. It’s a very low-key character and Daniel Bruhl plays him with a cool restraint that displays determination.
Even though it’s a pretty good movie, Captain America: Civil War does contain several flaws and moment I would have loved to handled differently. Spider-man’s appearance feels forced. He’s a fun and welcome addition, but the way he’s introduced seems as if they got the rights to use him halfway during shooting and they had to put him in at the last moment. Also the character of Steve Rogers puts an awful lot of faith into a guy who tried to kill him on multiple occasions in The Winter Soldier. I know that Bucky is his Achilles heel, but he hardly ever seems to question him or his actions.
But these are just small remarks on what is a very entertaining and well executed movie. Every time you would expect that they have run out of steam they find a new and exciting direction to take these movies in. What started out as a series of simple origin stories leading up to an Avengers movie, has now resulted in a spy-thriller, a space opera, a heist movie and several other movies each with their own fresh take. I can’t wait to find out what they will have in store for us next