Captain American: Civil War is the thirteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thirteen – let that number sink in.
It’s the kind of film that wouldn’t have had nearly as much impact if it wasn’t preceded by a sprawling saga that began nearly a decade ago with 2008’s Iron Man. The film grapples with the volatile topic of superhero accountability (with regards to the collateral damage resulting from The Avengers, Winter Soldier, and Age of Ultron). It’s an ambitious theme, and one that’s tackled with bucketloads of finesse by sibling directors Anthony and Joseph Russo. In Civil War, the talented duo take the extravaganza they pulled off in the Captain America sequel, and amplify it ten-fold. When Phase Three of the MCU eventually culminates with the Infinity War two-parter in 2018 and 2019, we can rest assured that those films are undeniably in the most deserving hands possible. The Russos have vision, and they balance action and humor with the utmost skill and flair.
From Chris Evans’ idealistic title-hero to Robert Downey Jr’s reliable snark, the cast of Marvel favourites is predictably tremendous across the board. The great thing about Civil War’s script is that it gives every character a chance to shine. From Scarlett Johansson’s kickass Black Widow (who shamefully still hasn’t gotten her own solo movie) to recent newcomer Ant-man (hilariously played by Paul Rudd), every single character has at least one unforgettable moment (particularly in the action department). Even more shocking is the fact that the Russo Brothers still manage to introduce a handful of new characters in an already-packed film. Chadewick Boseman is terrific and extremely charismatic as The Black Panther (I genuinely can’t wait for his 2018 starrer), while Revenge‘s Emily VanCamp finally gets something to do as the super-cool Sharon Carter.
Civil War is also notable because it features the first appearance of our brand new Spiderman (soon to headline 2017’s Spiderman: Homecoming) played by Tom Holland. Armed with his witty retorts and exuberant energy, he definitely makes more of an impression than Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. I definitely wasn’t interested in another Spiderman adventure before Holland. But now? I’m definitely intrigued.
The film’s crown jewel is an epic 20-minute face-off between Team Captain America and Team Iron Man. Everything about this jawdropping sequence is impeccable: the action is no-holds-barred and imaginative, the banter between the heroes is on point, and the CGI is stupendous. It’s a true gem to behold – a comic book magically brought to life and a technical achievement we’ll be obsessively rewatching on YouTube for many years to come.
And then there’s the elephant in the room. Civil War is not the first comic book film of the year to pit two superheroes against one another, but it is the first to get it right. To no one’s surprise, it eclipses Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice because it actually gives our central characters a viable issue to spar over. In addition, the fact that the MCU allowed these characters to exist on their own before clashing against one another, means we’re already invested in their journeys. It’s a miracle really that Marvel managed to make a battle between Captain American and Iron Man (the latter was never a household name) feel grander than a war between Batman and Superman (the two most iconic heroes in history). It’s a towering accomplishment!
P.S. Unlike Batman v Superman, there’s a clear winner between Captain America and Iron Man (which obviously won’t be spoiled here).
A riveting superhero blockbuster with a surprisingly thought-provoking narrative.