“Captain America: Civil War” is basically “Avengers 2.5”
“Captain America: Civil War” directors Joe and Anthony Russo tell the story of the conflict between two central characters in the Marvel Universe, succeeding in some areas but falling short in others. Based off of a Marvel comic of the same name, “Civil War” revolves around the the growing rift between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans). As the situation escalates, their friends are forced to choose sides and fight.
The movie begins with a bang, as Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) accidentally causes an explosion, killing several civilians which leads to the question of whether the Avengers should be regulated. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) approaches the Avengers with a plan to place them under United Nations control, no longer allowing them to operate independently. Lines are drawn quickly as Iron Man voices his support for the plan, along with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Vision (Paul Bettany) and War Machine (Don Cheadle). Captain America is against the plan and refuses to obey them, putting him and Iron Man on opposing sides.
Despite all this, the plan proposed by Ross is not the main source of conflict. This instead comes from the reappearance of the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), and the introduction of a mysterious villain Helmut Zemo, (Daniel Bruhl). It is the lengths that Captain America goes to protect his friend, and the loyalty that he has towards him that drives the conflict and results in quite possibly the most spectacular battle scene in the Marvel franchise, bringing together all of the Avengers and some extras as Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) all choose sides and fight.
Where the movie falls flat, however, is the main underlying story. Captain America and Iron Man are friends, then they fight, but then they become friends again? Wait, no, they’re fighting again. The final fight between the two just feels too forced; there isn’t really a rational reason behind it. In addition, the main villain, Zemo, doesn’t seem to convey a serious threat. His motives are clear, but his plan is simply too convoluted. He does however participate in a nice little twist that breaks away from the standard Marvel formula. Despite this Zemo simply isn’t given enough room to work a screen, creating a flimsy antagonist, a problem that Marvel movies have been repeating, with the exception of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in “The Avengers.”
One of the best parts of the movie is the addition of Spider-Man, who makes his debut in the Marvel cinematic universe. With Sony’s release of the Spider-Man license, Marvel is now able to use the character in future movies. Holland nails the role of a teen superhero, with all the quips and jokes that the superhero is supposed to have. He is the first movie version of Spider-Man that actually feels and acts like a kid. Despite only appearing in the movie for a brief moment, he absolutely steals the spotlight, overshadowing the introduction of another key Marvel character, Black Panther. Nonetheless, Black Panther is a welcome addition to the movie and has a solid subplot to the overall story.
While not on the same level as “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Civil War” manages to deliver a solid package. The introduction of new characters (Spider-Man!) and some incredible fight scenes more than make up for a shaky plot. If you enjoy any Marvel movie, do yourself a favor and go see this one.
Captain America: Civil War
2 hours 27 minutes
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo
Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan