By Saul Blackwell
Captain America: Civil War is a Marvel movie and back in the late 80’s & early 90’s I was a Marvel Zombie. A title I wore with immense self-satisfaction.
It’s not something I own up to proudy but it’s a fact. For you lucky, lucky people who don’t know what a Marvel Zombie is, it’s someone who only or mainly buys Marvel Comics and obsesses over them incessantly. Then uses the obscure facts they’ve gleaned about Marvel’s pantheon of characters to intimidate and/or belittle other comic book fanboys who haven’t wasted as much time and money memorising how many webs there are under Spider-Man’s armpits. If you’re thinking “There’s webs under Spider-Man’s armpits?”, I would have made you cry in the old days.
I’m telling you this to illustrate the immense knowledge and love I have of these characters, and how that makes me the worst person in the world to review Marvel movies. I’m looking to be disappointed, to be angered over anything that doesn’t gel with the last 80 years of comic book continuity so I can spew bile over the cast and crew, the writers and directors. Nothing would bring me greater pleasure.
But Captain America: Civil War was awesome. A natural progression from Captain America: Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, and even Ant-man for that matter. It delivered on its promise of big action and wild special effects, humor and adventure, but it was so much more. It had a depth that’s rare in movies let alone super-hero movies. This isn’t just a film about super powered people hitting each other, it is that film, but this is mainly a film about consequences. The consequences of dropping helicarriers on Washington, the corruption of Shield, the creation of Ultron and the destruction of Sokovia.
In the wake of so much carnage the Avengers have become a loose cannon in the eyes of the world and they’re each given the choice of agreeing to answering to a U.N. task force or resigning. This splits the avengers into two groups, those that want the freedom to do what they think is right and those that want the security to know they’re doing good. Similar but fundamentally different ideals. An ideal that ultimately pits them against each other. The naturalistic way the story unfolds is a testament to both the writing and the acting. In fact one of the great things is how the film is allowed to breath, despite having a cast of thousands. Never does it feel crowded, cramped or rushed and every character gets a chance to grow.
Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. are their usual amazing selves as Captain Americaand Ironman, completely selling the idea of two friends on opposite sides forced to fight each other. Paul Bettany gets a chance to breathe some life into the Vision, finally justifying having such a talented actor in a role that until recently was merely a voice over. Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch just made me go “She’s an Olsen sister? But she so good.”. And Chadwick Boseman shines as the Black Panther, more than holding his own up against the big guns.
It would be easy to see this as more of an Avengers film than a Captain America movie, with only Thor, Hulk & Quicksliver (R.I.P.) missing, not to mention the addition of Ant-Man, Black Panther & Spider-Man. It even opens with Cap fielding his team of Avengers from the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, a highly train militaristic team that kick some crazy arse. But this isn’t an Avengers movie, those are about taking on world threatening events like alien invasions and android armies. This is a Captain America movie because it’s about ideologies, be it the Allies vs the Nazis, Shield vs Hydra or Avenger vs Avenger.
It also had the funniest fight scene I’ve seen in a very long time and that includes Deadpool.
So, if you liked the previous Marvel films this is a must see, if you like smart films ditto. If you think super-heroes are silly you probably never made it this far into the review, but you should give it a go, I think you’ll be surprised.
One final note, the biggest surprise for me was Spider-Man, I’ve been dreading his upcoming film and now I’m excited about it. That’s how good this film is.