movies: captain america - civil war

captain america: civil war - whose side are you on?
Before I dive into my review of Captain America: Civil War I need to disclose something first... when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU), I am totally and completely #TeamCap.

Everything that they've done with the character since his first movie has brought us to a point where the character is pretty much everything I want from a superhero (and superhero movie to be honest). He's "good" (as opposed to conflicted or tortured or mysterious) without being bland. He has heart and a sense of duty, both of which are a core part of this movie, yet he can still have a sense of lightness to him when needed (not so much this time around maybe).

And yes, I fully remember saying that he was the least interesting part of the first Avengers movie, and to a lesser extent the second one because he was the character with the least going on... but I have to say that whenever the movie has his name in it, damn, the character gets much more interesting.

Part of that is squarely Chris Evans, he just managed to give the man out of time a gravitas and a heart, even when he's not saying anything at all. The other part is definitely the writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely who just seem to get this character and write him in a way that appeals to me.

I'm also not really sure how you could get to the end of this movie and not be on the side of Captain America... I mean, yes, he was always going to be the hero of his own movie, but he's just right (at least 80-90% anyway).

Generally I don't mind Robert Downey Jr's portrayal of Iron Man in his own movies... but in any of the ensemble movies he just always seems to come off as a petulant, whiny child who can't deal with his own feelings. It's the same in this movie... without spoiling anything, he's made to feel bad about his actions in one of the earlier movies, and instead of saying "yes, your son died, and I'm very sorry, but we also stopped a crazed AI (which I also happened to build, soz) from attempting to wipe out all life on earth", he seems to decide that since he clearly needs to be held accountable for his long string of unwise, childish and petulant decisions, then so do the rest of the Avengers.

Captain America, naturally, feels differently, and hence Civil War ensues.

The movie also makes sense to be from the perspective of a movie within that cinematic universe. The one thing I end up thinking in any of the stand alone movies is "hey, why don't you just call up your super powered friends and ask them for help"... but they don't, because budget and stuff, but it doesn't make a lot of sense narratively. Granted this movie is a little bit like "Avengers 2.5" given that pretty much everybody except for Thor and Hulk make an appearance, but having them there just makes sense. Captain America exists in this world with all of these other characters (and they keep on introducing new ones, which I'll get to in a minute), and while it was great last time to have Falcon and Black Widow around, you do start to feel the spaces where it would make sense for other characters to be when they're not there.

Speaking of the new guys... both Black Panther and Spider-Man make an appearance here, mostly so that they can introduce them before spinning them off (no Spider-pun intended) into their own movies. And I'm not going to lie, I'm more than a little bit in love with Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa aka Black Panther. Not just because he's gorgeous, but also because he's really interesting in the role (there's an especially sweet exchange between him and his father early in the movie), and I can't wait to see what he does with his own movie in 2018.

As the youngest Spider-Man we've seen so far, I'm not completely sure about Tom Holland yet. He could be really good when he gets his own movie in 2017, but I feel like it will depend on the writers quite a lot. In this instance he comes off a little too much as quippy comic relief, and they either played up the really, really young thing or made him a little bit annoying at times. Holland does feel the right amount of adorkable for the role though, but given that the first Andrew Garfield reboot was my favourite movie from 2012, he has some bit spider-shoes to fill.

Given the sheer number of characters in these movies now, it's hard to mention everyone, but I have to call out Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow... firstly I love the chemistry that she has with Evans... it's not romantic or sexual, it's camaraderie, they are friends and genuinely care about each other. But also because there's just something about Johansson as Romanoff that works within this series... it may be cause she's the one who always seems to be pointing out to the other characters when they're getting in their own way, she's their Jiminy Cricket if you will... I don't know exactly, I just know that I love what she does in the role and what the writers give her to do and say.

In fact, all the women, although there are only three characters with any degree of screen time... Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch and Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter aka Agent 13 are all great in their respective roles (which is more than I can say for some of the guys).

The action sequences are fairly strong and because these are all mostly established characters you don't need to spend any time setting up what they can do, you can just jump straight in there (although there is one really, really clunky line that's given to Scarlet Witch where she literally says "you guys remember I can move stuff with my mind, right"... and it's a line they really should have cut in favour of just showing it.

But the sequence that works the best, and really the one that everyone paid their money to see is the one where the two groups take each other on. And it's slightly unique within the movie universe where a group of uniquely superpowered individuals take on another group of similarly but differently powered individuals and really let their powers out to play. That kind of thing is fairly common on the comics, where the good guys take on supervillain groups regularly, but we've only seen it in a smaller sense in the movies to this point.

And it works pretty damn well I have to say.

It's the final showdown that's the most impactful though... I won't spoil anything about it, but it's like nothing I've seen in a Marvel movie yet, and I can't help but feel that it's going to ripple through the MCU for a number of future movies.

And while it's got some strong competition, I feel like this is the best of the Marvel movies so far.

yani's rating: 5 Sokovian Accords out of 5

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