Marvel has had their roadmap of upcoming movies laid out for quite some time. Based on the announced films we’ve had a pretty good idea of where the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be headed. Today, you’ll be able to see the next film up: Captain America: Civil War. In this spoiler-free review I’ll talk about what makes this the super hero movie to beat. I really hope the team at DC is paying attention and taking notes.
I’ll reiterate that there will be zero spoilers in this review. I will discuss general plot points or settings, but nothing that will spoil any story elements in the film.
We start off with a bit of a flashback. We know from past movies that Steve Rogers’ friend Bucky has been brainwashed and turned into the Winter Soldier, and we see a little bit of his past. Events that transpire here honestly shape the course of the entire movie. Cut to present day, where a couple of the newest Avengers — Scarlet Witch and Falcon — see some of their first action with Cap and Black Widow. As has become par for the course with this crew, the mid-boss is dealt with, but there is some collateral damage. This scene brings to mind the first of three main points I’d like to drive home with this review, which I will recap at the end. Thing #1: After the opening scene, there is no way you can convince me that a Black Widow solo flick wouldn’t be amazing.
Changing gears, Tony Stark has a moment of clarity speaking with the mother of a child killed in Sokovia during the climactic fight in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Cut to Avengers Central, where Stark brings the Secretary of State to propose the divisive Sokovia Accords to the rest of the team. There is some discussion, but if you’ve seen any of the trailers for the movie you already have a pretty good idea of how the sides are going to line up. I don’t want to delve too much further into a recap here, because there are several important plot points going forward that would be entirely too easy to spoil. Suffice to say that roughly the first third of the movie is very serious. Note to DC: This is how you do a serious story. There are some definite funny moments in this movie though, parts where the entire theater started laughing. While the tone of the overall movie is very serious, there are — as there should be — moments of levity interspersed throughout.
New characters are introduced, integrated into the team, and are really given a chance to shine. They aren’t buried in five second video clips (I’ll really stop bashing BvS at some point, I promise) or kept on the periphery. They are thrust into the action and are left to make an impression on the audience. This leads me nicely into the second and third of my three points that I mentioned earlier. Thing #2: Marvel absolutely killed it casting Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. This is exactly what Peter Parker/Spider-Man should be. Bonus points to Marvel for not including even a single second of Spider-Man origin story in this movie. Thing #3: I can’t wait for the Black Panther movie. Can not wait. Chadwick Boseman didn’t steal the entire movie, but anytime T’Challa/Black Panther was in the scene he basically stole that scene. Even though Spider-Man and Black Panther had not yet been established in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, both characters fit into this movie and this story flawlessly. A bit more time was spent on T’Challa/Black Panther here since he is not quite as well known as Spider-Man (and his arc was pretty central to the overall story), but both characters had complete arcs in Civil War that will lead into their respective solo movies.
The rift that is created between the characters feels real. This isn’t an imagined possibility and coerced setup leading two main characters towards a pointless fight. **cough cough Batman v Superman cough cough** The sides that are established make sense, and each member has their own reason for being on the side they’ve chosen. All of the characters feel as though they are doing the right thing. Some eventually realize that they were mistaken. If you’ve seen even a single trailer for this movie you know that there’s a big fight scene between a large group of super heroes, but the relationships between these characters really impact the battle. These are friends and they all realize the same, even if there are some internal (and in some instances external) struggles between them.
While I’m on the topic of fight scenes, great job Marvel. Really, great job from beginning to end on the fight scenes. These are super heroes, and their strengths are portrayed effectively. During the big super hero brawl, checks and balances emerge between the various characters, with surprising results in some instances. The entire movie wraps up in a satisfying way, but still leaves plenty up in the air for future movies. As with most Marvel movies these days, there are mid-credit and post-credit scenes, so be sure to stick around while the credits are rolling.
To recap my Three Things:
- Thing #1 – A Black Widow solo movie needs to happen. Scarlett Johansson can hold her own, and I’m confident Marvel would be able to craft a quality story for her. Make it happen already Marvel.
- Thing #2 – Tom Holland was the absolute perfect Peter Parker/Spider-Man. In really pretty much every way. Good job Sony, accepting the sticky wet piles of cash that Marvel gave you to let them do this character right.
- Thing #3 – I absolutely cannot wait for the Black Panther movie. I mean holy crap. Chadwick Boseman was amazing.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now, and if you’re into comic book or super hero movies, you really owe it to yourself to go see it. This is how a super hero movie should be. This is how strife between super heroes should build. This honestly is just a very good movie that deserves your time and attention.