I love movies. I love writing about them. Hope you like reading what I write.
Once again I am the victim of harsh, continuity based, circumstances. Since my Avengers: Age of Ultron review last year, I have not made much of an attempt to watch more of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I can make the excuse that this makes me unique amongst those who review this film, but either way, thanks to the internet throwing information in my face, I wasn’t lost really. On with the review.
Captain America: Civil War is a continuation of and possible conclusion to the Captain America saga. Cap and Iron Man have a disagreement over a government action to restrict superheroes in their activities, due to extensive and obvious collateral damage.
If that sounds like a familiar plot summation, then it should. It is obvious even from the poster that this film is in direct competition with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in the niche two-superheroes-differ-over-their-opinions-as-to-their-responsibilities-to-reduce-the-levels-of-mayhem-they-cause-while-superheroing genre.
I recently re-watched BvS out of curiosity to see whether a second viewing might change my perspective on that film. Upon much reflection, my level of tolerance for that film has dropped significantly. The elements are there for a great movie, the execution unfortunately was unfocused, rushed and cynical to a quite literally comic degree. Upon a second inspection, those parts become far more apparent. Cool in a purely superficial manner.
So it’s down to this film to recover the superhero genre back to the way I thought of it a few weeks ago when I reviewed Deadpool. Thankfully it does so, and some.
Robert Downey Jr returns as Iron Man and Chris Evans returns as Captain America. They along with the rest of this literally marvellous cast are perfectly suited to their roles and appear to have a deep understanding of what makes their characters tick.
Unlike in that other hero-fight film I mentioned, what’s awesome about this film is that we understand both sides of the argument entirely. Whether you end up becoming #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan you will at least be able to see whether the other guy is coming from.
On either side of this fight are superheroes with understandable goals and reasons to pick their sides. On top of that, they are all incredibly likable and often utterly hilarious. And yet, and this is the bit that really makes my jaw drop, the film is perfectly balanced in terms of screen-time and weight. (But seriously, when is the Black Widow movie coming out?!)
(By the way, those keeping up with the marketing will note a particular face among these guys who makes his “surprise” entrance in this movie into the MCU. Rest assured this version of the guy is fantastic. I’m withholding full judgement until they stand in their own movie again, but this little guy is going places. Funny, charming and kickass, this guy has the potential to the best there’s ever been in this role!)
What is really interesting in this film is that for all the fighting between the good guys, there is barely a moment in which they fight a bad-guy. Not only does this extend their opportunities for creative demonstrations of kicking ass and clever quips (which they do and it really is awesome), but it adds to the drama of the situation. Drama is based on conflict and conflict between friends is conflict between you, your friend and yourself. That’s 50% more conflict before you get onto actually making the conflicts make sense (which is more than I can say for some movies <cough cough>).
Like I said at the start of this review, I was never lost while watching this film. I knew who each of the characters were and their motivations. I didn’t know the entirety of their backstories, understandably, but I’m pretty sure that for the most part, people will be able to watch this film standing alone. Though of course, for the full experience enjoyed by the more learned amongst the midnight screening I watched this with, I would highly suggest watching the previous films in the MCU.
This is the most perfect superhero film I have seen since The Dark Knight. The Marvel Cinematic and Televisual Universe, according to a recent calculation I found online, is around 127 hours. While that would be an enormous undertaking and not every part of that is considered “essential” by the fans, this movie seriously makes me consider taking a stab at it. Certainly better than some other things I can stab associated with 127 Hours. (Little movie reference to end on.)
Recommended Scenario: If you’ve seen Captain America 1 & 2, Avengers 1 & 2, Ant-Man. But if you’re and ignoramus like me and your friends invite you to see it, don’t turn them down.