Captain America: Civil War
Captain America: Civil War is the first film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s phase three. Marvel has been developing their universe for over eight years with 13 movies and it has all lead to this feature. This is the third installment of the Captain America series and it is, arguably, the best yet. The directors, the Russo Brothers, have pieced together the perfect balance of action movie and comic book, super hero, tentpole movie. While this film is action packed and an all around fun ride, it is just as emotionally and character driven.
From the Panels to the Big Screen
For many comic book lovers, myself included, Civil War is one of Marvel’s most beloved storylines. It all starts when a group of young heroes, The New Warriors, try to take down another group of villains but it quickly goes south when an explosion wipes out an entire Stamford neighborhood and leaves many, children included, dead or injured. The Government brings forth an act which would make all heroes reveal their identities and become government agents or they would become enemies of the state and be arrested on sight. This act left all of the heroes of the Marvel Universe divided, Captain America and Iron Man included. Iron Man was in favor of the act and Captain America was against it. The cause of the divide is a matter of morality which doesn’t make one or the other right or wrong. While Iron Man is the clear antagonist of the comic he isn’t quite the “bad guy” of this film. While this movie doesn’t follow Civil War panel by panel it does capture the essence and the spirit of the Civil War that made it so special in the first place. This film leaves you emotionally and morally conflicted and it leaves you rooting for one team and feeling sympathetic for the other. You never get the sense that one person is unequivocally right and the other is, without a doubt, wrong. As a lover of the original source material I was overwhelmed by how true to the comic this film is.
Marvel has gathered every single character that they have introduced into the continuity of the MCU, all while introducing new characters, and the Russo Brothers have found a way to service every single one of them in this one movie. Every character in this film, old and new, get their time to shine and some characters even get their own story arcs that not only enhance the characters but also push the main story forward. The Russo Brothers have done an incredible job at balancing over 12 characters, taking tremendous care of each character and keeping the story on track. There are so many moving parts in this movie and it could have easily been a disaster but not a single character or minute of this film is wasted. The pacing and character development in this movie is airtight. While the story primarily follows Captain America and Iron Man there are breakout characters that steal the show and they only add to the plot and the stakes. The biggest complaint most fans have been having with the MCU is their villains but that does not seem to be the problem with Civil War. No matter which side you chose both side’s motivations are completely justified and clear, including the main antagonist’s.
From the beginning of this film the danger seems very real and you automatically get the sense that this is not going to be your typical super hero film but something more. The “Stamford explosion” equivalent in this film feels like that of an actual terrorist attack and it really hits home. Not only this incident but all of the incidents that have happened throughout the continuity of the MCU are seen in a new light. Whenever a limit is tested that action is met with an equally severe or more severe reaction. Everyone knows where they stand and they will not stop until they have their way whether they are in the right or not. While Marvel rarely ever takes any real risks with their films this movie is still very intense and is a gut wrenching ride nonetheless. The effects of every action is dyer and is felt throughout the entire film.
Not only is this movie highly entertaining but every character is fleshed out and the story and plot are nearly impenetrable. The danger in this film feels very real and the stakes are incredibly high; life or death. The action sequences and fighting choreography are unparalleled to any other film. Not a single minute of this two and a half hour runtime is wasted and it is paced perfectly. While not everything from the original comic would’ve translated to the big screen perfectly, The Russo Brothers have found the perfect alternative and, in many areas, it is more grounded and better than the source material. Whether you’re a fan of the comics or the MCU you will really enjoy this film and it may just become your favorite super hero film yet.
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