I got to finally see Civil War and I’m going to say this right off the bat: this was full of emotions, it was full of grit and yet I still had a ton of fun. This film is the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the third film in the Captain America franchise. This story is one of ramifications; the world has seen enough of the Avengers and how unregulated they are. After an explosion happens in Logos killing dozens of civilians, the United Nations creates the Sokovia Accords. The Accords tell the Avengers that the UN will now decide when and where they will intervene. It was signed by over 100 nations. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) supports the plan and is especially driven after an emotional, heart wrenching scene where a woman talks to Stark about how her son, an M.I.T. student, was in Sokovia and was killed. She blamed Stark saying “who will avenge my son, Mr. Stark?” However, Steve Rodgers/Captain America (Chris Evans) is against it; he doesn’t trust bureaucrats and politicians making decisions for his group. “What if there’s a place we don’t want to go but have to? Or if there is a place we need to go but can’t?” Those are the questions that Captain America asks when debating this question. When Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is blamed for a terrorist bombing on the UN, Captain America must choose between his friend and the world itself.
Joining team Captain America is Falcon/Sam Watson (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Winter Soldier and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). Team Iron Man consists of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany), newcomer Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and newcomer Spider-Man (Tom Holland).
What I absolutely love about this film is how it’s such an emotional ride. We have been with the central characters for years; we’ve been with Tony Stark for 8 and Steve Rodgers for 5. We’ve seen them in so many films interacting together and we’ve seen this friendship grow. They were legends to each other (Stark’s dad would talk about Rodgers all the time), then teammates, then friends. Now we see their character arcs come to full fruition. They have changed and are on either side of a very important issue. Yet neither man is willing to compromise. Now we are seeing them fight and being torn apart because of these Accords and because of the actions being blamed on Winter Soldier. I was in the theater a week after the premiere and people were still entrenched with the emotion. We’ve been in the trenches with these characters and now their guns are turning on each other. When I think of the scene where Stark sees Bucky Barnes killing his family and then smacks Captain America because he knew; that’s emotion. Or in the climax of the final battle where Rodgers destroys the Arc Reactor in Tony’s suit; that’s emotion. When Captain America drops his shield after Stark is berating him about it I felt like I just saw the end of an era. It’s the same feeling I get when I see the end of my Boston Celtics back in 2011, the last year of the Big 3.
This film was so emotionally driven and it was a story about friends and how the consequences of their actions has really been enough. What I like is that this film feels like the culmination of all of the previous Marvel films based on Earth. The world is tired of these big disasters and something needed to be done. That makes a lot of sense and it shows that stuff happens.
There are also stakes in this film; people get hurt, friendships appear completely broken. However, this is like WWE, they eventually come back. Hogan comes back, Warrior comes back, Austin comes back, hell even Bret Hart comes back. The Avengers will be back together but this is definitely something that is going to stick around for a while.
What makes this so emotional is that they’re both right. They both have very good points and we can see their sides. I have 3 friends who are about 1/100 into these movies as I am and we had a whole conversation about the morals of this film. This is a film with messages deeper than just surface level, which is what makes it so great. I mean, the kids pool is fun if you have a kid but eventually you want to get to the pool with the cool diving board, the rope swing and the water slide. This movie was the deep end with the water slide and it sticks with you. The characters here are a vehicle for discussing real issues in our world; that’s what comics do, they reflect what is going on in our world and society. They help us deal with that when needed and provide escape when needed.
So, let’s get into some other things. Spider-Man is fantastic! First, he’s a friggin teenager, isn’t that a crazy concept?! Then his back and forth with Tony Stark was so great and felt so organic that I can’t wait for Stark to be in the new Spider-Man film. Tom Holland is the definitive Spider-Man. This was the truest incarnation of the web head and we only had him in 2 scenes! It was incredible. Also, speaking of performances, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. My goodness, if there is one character you walk away thinking “that guy was badass” it’s Black Panther. Man, what a strong character. In an instant everyone knew how much of a kickass fighter he was. He wasn’t some politician he was a warrior. I want to see more of him and who in their right mind would challenge this guy. Black Panther also never really chose a side; he just wanted to see Barnes dead. This was the second best Avengers film, the best Spider-Man film of all time, the best Captain America film of all time and probably the second greatest Iron Man film of all time. This had so much in it and yet none of it felt like it was too much.
OK, now I have to get to the fight sequences. Holy sh*t. Those were incredible. The Russos have proven themselves again here. The fight scenes in Winter Soldier were great but these were insane. I loved the hand to hand combat, I loved the giant big combat. I mean, it was all fantastic. Ant-Man turning into Giant Man was such a fantastic moment. Spider-Man taking on Captain America, Winter Soldier and Falcon was a sight to behold. Black Panther fighting anyone and everyone was mesmerizing. This was, hands down, the greatest fight scene in the history of comic book films. I mean, look at the other contenders:
Spider-Man 2: Spider-Man vs. Dock Ock
Avengers: Avengers vs. Loki’s Army
Captain America: Winter Soldier: Captain vs. Winter soldier in the streets
The Incredible Hulk: Hulk vs. Abomination (screw you I liked this one a LOT)
Deadpool: The highway fight (this is only the first part of this)
That’s about it. I’m sure there’s a Blade sequence in there and probably another X-Men battle but this just totally blew all of those out of the water. I can’t wait to see the Russo Brothers tackle the 2 Avengers films.
I also liked that the villain did not have some grand plan to destroy or take over the world. His plan was simple: tear the Avengers apart. He wanted them to no longer be a unit; he knew he couldn’t beat them in a fight and that would only bring them closer together. But if he could make them turn on each other that would do it.
Granted, it was a bit of a convoluted plan. I don’t think anyone could do it and the chances of it working are worse than Dwight Howard’s free throw percentage but it did work out. Look, I don’t hate the plan but look at this: he needed the Accords to happen, he needed to plant a bomb outside of a building to kill UN members, he needed the Winter Soldier to be caught alive, he needed to disguise himself as a UN psychiatrist and then activate the Winter Soldier. Then he needed Steve Rodgers to run away with Winter Soldier and refuse to give him up. Then he needed to have Steve Rodgers, Tony Stark and Winter Soldier all in this little place in Siberia to show him a video of Winter Soldier killing Iron Man’s parents. Then he needed them to try and kill each other. It’s almost too much to even predict. It’s like those 9/11 Truthers: I guess it COULD be true but it would be most perfect, secretive plan ever devised in the history of mankind. The numbers just don’t add up.
The other thing I didn’t like about the film was Scarlett Witch’s accent. Can we get Elizabeth Olsen an accent coach? Is that even possible? I mean, there has to be people out there who can teach her how to do an accent; it went in an out the whole film. It really took me out of it. I mean Chadwick Boseman had a great accent that he used throughout the film. Can’t Olsen do that, too? It’s just annoying when she has the accent then goes back to American.
Anyway, those are probably my biggest gripes with the film, which basically means that this was a kickass film. At its heart it’s about the relationship between Steve Rodgers, Bucky Barnes and Tony Stark. I’m sure there’s stuff I left out but this film is one of the best. After seeing it a second time it might be my favorite MCU film to date and probably my second favorite comic book film just a hair behind Nolan’s Dark Knight. But we’ll see. I’ll let it saturate a bit and I might come back in a year.
So, my first review back and I’m happy to be writing on here again. I’m hoping to write more this summer to be sure to look for my activity to go up! I’ve got lots of stuff to review including the current seasons of Arrow, Flash and Agents of SHIELD as well as Jungle Book.
Thanks again guys and I’ll see you at the movies!
Rating: Watch it ‘til you memorize it