All you really need to know is that Captain America: Civil War is quite possibly the best Marvel Studios film to date. Even if you have a few films you think are better than it, it’s probably just by degrees.
Captain America: Civil War deals with the aftermath of the previous films, which, frankly, have probably caused thousands of innocent deaths and billions of dollars in destruction. The governments of the world can no longer tolerate that, and decide to write an accord which makes the Avengers subordinate to the UN Security Council. Some of the Avengers agree with the oversight, championed by Tony Stark, while others (led by Captain America, aka, Steve Rogers) reject signing it. Then when Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier, resurfaces, and both sides are pitted agains each other.
The screenplay has balanced all the character interactions with story and action, making this not only one of the finest Marvel films, but the most personal as well. At this point we know all these characters and what makes them tick, so there’s a short hand the directors and writers can get away with. Not much is needed to set the characters up and what the issues are so we can dive right into the personal conflict and everyone is given something to do.
Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and all of the other actors are comfortable in their roles and after eight years of these films it’s starting to feel like revisiting old friends. The new additions of Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland as Black Panther and Spider-Man are absolutely spot on. While Spider-Man feels a bit shoehorned in, it’s pretty well handled considering how late in the game Marvel and Sony agreed to bring ol’ webhead into the MCU.
Like The Winter Soldier before it, all of the action here is superb. I can’t help but think directors Joe and Anthony Russo pay more attention to action than any other Marvel directors with subtle attention to details. An example is when Winter Soldier, Captain America, and Black Panther jump off a bridge they all land in different ways — each fighter fights differently and it makes for some unique battles.
What Civil War does best is create a personal film with larger ramifications. No character is right or wrong in the decisions they make and, even though Daniel Bruhl plays antagonist Baron Zemo, there really isn’t much of a bad guy in the movie. Both Iron Man and Captain America were treated far better in the film version of Captain America: Civil War than in the comics. Both make a good point, and any biases are kept to a minimum, meaning that they avoid the Iron Man character assassination. In fact, many regarded Stark as a villain in the comics version a decade ago.
However, the story isn’t perfect. Zemo’s ultimate plan means he would have to know far more than would have been possible, plus be able to guess how certain characters would react to news in order to pull it all off. For a film with characters that can fly, have been given superpowers by radioactive spiders, and are AIs brought to life through a powerful alien stone, I seem to think that his part of the plot stretched credibility. It’s not a deal breaker, but it did bug me a bit.
All in all, I think this film really balanced all of the Avengers better than either one of Joss Whedon’s films. It was fun, personal, and action packed.
Here’s the Captain America: Civil War final trailer: