Gripping, stunning and action-packed; this latest Marvel installment matures the franchise into deeper territories
While not as monumental as 2012’s “The Avengers”, “Captain America: Civil War” has the humor any Marvel movie deserves, the arresting visuals and has spawned more thought-provoking themes than its predecessors. It proves to be a fast-paced joyride loaded with kick-butt action sequences and a stellar cast that will leave die-hard Marvel fans speechless.
The cast is back with some familiar faces and new ones, as well. According to Terrence McSweeney of the Columbia University Press, “In both the comic and the film version, instead of supervillains as the antagonists, it is the superheroes themselves led by Captain America on one side and Iron Man on the other, who participate in an argument about the parameters of security and freedom.” (McSweeney) On top of that, Captain America’s (Chris Evans) friend James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan) becomes brainwashed by Hydra and is the #1 suspect in an explosion in a Vienna Conference. Cap attempts to help his friend Barnes and take take down a new enemy (Daniel Bruhl), but Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Vision (Paul Bettany), Rhodes (Don Cheadle) Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man (Tom Holland) plan to bring him to justice, for fear that they will cause more harm than good.
It has its faults, but the humor is undeniable and the action sequences are incredible. The cast gives a wonderful performance, especially that of the versatile Chadwick Boseman going from discriminated baseball player in the film “42”, to the godfather of soul in 2013’s “Get On Up” and now to the Black Panther in this Marvel Cinematic triumph. There is almost nothing he can’t do. The rest of the cast is marvelous- no pun intended- as well, except for Tom Holland’s portrayal as Peter Parker/ Spider-Man, which seems almost too juvenile and inferior compared to that of his predecessor Andrew Garfield. Spider-Man actually looks like a thrown-together, half-baked, half-made CGI character with so little screen time in the film. He’ll get a few laughs out of the audience but he is just a pale imitation of Garfield’s more humorous and sly manifestation of the character. Luckily, that’s the only major fault in the film, but to be fair to Holland, he is a much better Spider-Man than Tobey Maguire’s lazy rendition of the webhead from 2002-2007. Not only that but the inclusion of Ant Man seems almost as rushed as the Spider man subplot. Nothing against Paul Rudd’s character, but he sticks out in the MCU like a sore thumb.
Robert Downey Jr. is always excellent as Iron Man and proves himself as the man with the suit even further during the final act of the film, which, without giving away any spoilers, calls back to the comics.
The film provides the balance of campy, offbeat humor and darkness that make it watchable to the most ardent of fans. It’s opposing teams are even more relevant today in a country divided by peace and prejudice that make it more applicable to the situations at hand.
Overall, the film benefits from a strong supporting cast, incredible leads, visuals that dazzle and charm, and particularly versatile performance by Chadwick Boseman, no matter if you are team Cap or team Iron Man. This film is not only a gem, but a Marvel.
4 out of 5 stars
1.McSWEENEY, TERENCE. “CONCLUSION: ‘Whose Side Are You on?’: Superheroes Through the Prism of the ‘War on Terror’ in Captain America: Civil War.” Avengers Assemble!: Critical Perspectives on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Columbia University Press, New York; Chichester, West Sussex, 2018, pp. 237–261. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/mcsw18624.16.