Rating: 4 of 5
When a movie does so many things well, it’s hard to find the words.
It’s a lot easier to point out flaws, to identify where it could have been better and what they should have done. But Captain America: Civil War is a solid movie; probably my favorite Captain America movie and easily up in the top 5 Marvel movies overall.
I liked the plot a lot better than Winter Soldier. I like that it didn’t use montages like The First Avenger. Plus, is really funny. It’s witty and it’s true to the characters and the timing was spot on which made it so much fun.
They grounded each of the characters well in where they fell along the dividing line and why. It made me like some of the characters more and some of them less (ok mostly just Vison less but I’m curious to see what they’ll do with him in future films. Rhodey has always been that character so it sort of feels like he’s supposed to be obtuse). Even though it made sense from a character point of view, Tony Stark bugged me. People who let vengeance overrule any other thought or emotion who willfully disregard any consequences – they’re just not interesting. I would have disliked more characters but all of them except Rhodey and Vision come around to understanding where they were on the wrong side of the link and that character development made them more interesting in the end.
And they were well portrayed. It was fun to see the other characters (Ant-Man, Spider-Man and Black Panther were favorites – especially Black Panther). Probably not Oscar performances but definitely interesting and fun for the material they were given. The Character rating took a small hit from Captain America having no arc and no development. The thing is, he gets away with no arc because he starts from such a good place. He’s a great hero and in a landscape filled with angst and moral ambiguity it’s fun to watch him.
Civil War manages to be packed with super heroes but doesn’t feel crammed or overwrought the way Age of Ultron did. Each character fills a narrative purpose, is unique enough to stand apart from each other and fits within the story giving it a lean feel despite all the super heroes.
Even with all the other characters, ultimately, it’s a Captain America movie because he wins; because it looks at the Marvel universe through his lens. That’s what makes the stand alone movies so interesting. It’s the time spent with each of the characters, to see how they change the Marvel Universe around them, but to see that universe from their unique perspective. Captain America is the most connected to the central SHIELD sort of framework so he sees more of the moving pieces than Iron Man or Thor; feels more grounded in the real world than even Tony. It’s an interesting perspective which is part of what makes this movie fun.
And it neatly wrote Iron Man out of the mythology so that they can get away with future movies that don’t include Robert Downey Jr. Not that I don’t like Robert Downey Jr, because he’s fantastic. But I know his contracts are up so they had to do something. Still, I can’t imagine a Marvel landscape without him.
Otherwise, this was pretty much a stellar movie. Most of all, because it stands out the action was really great. It was fast but not too fast to track. The stunts were well choreographed and the action scenes showcased each characters unique abilities. If I’m going to watch a action movie, more and more it’s important to enjoy the action. Civil War managed to not only display the action but highlight how cool these characters can be.
See how Captain America: Civil War ranks with the other Marvel movies.