Welcome back to Second Union’s coverage of the MCU movies leading up to Avengers: Infinity War! We’ve finally arrived at Phase 3 of the MCU, and now we’re taking a look at Captain America: Civil War. The film follows the post-Sokovia Avengers, who, after a fatal incident in Nigeria, are forced to operate exclusively under government supervision. Captain America thinks it’s wrong to not have independence, and Iron Man thinks that it’s the right thing to do. After another attack involving the former Winter Soldier, the two heroes are torn apart and gather comrades to fight for their cause.
Captain America: Civil War is by far one of the best Marvel films put to screen. It’s a massive-scale, epic, grandiose blockbuster. However, like they did with The Winter Soldier, the Russo Brothers crafted another story-driven superhero film with fully realized characters and a strong central theme. It’s not easy to pick a side in this situation. This leads to a tense, action-packed film that is one of the best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, it does have some glaring flaws.
Civil War, unfortunately, fails to bring the Winter Soldier storyline to a close. There are points in the film where Bucky’s subplot just feels out-of-place, mainly because it shows up at the worst times. The different storylines intertwine in areas where they really shouldn’t, and in the end, there isn’t any payoff. The ultimate resolution does justice for the villain, Zemo, making him one of the smartest villains in the franchise. However, there just isn’t enough reason we should’ve cared about the other Winter Soldiers anyway. It’s a storyline that doesn’t feel necessary and feels way too shoe-horned into an already filled movie.
Character development is key here. The past two Phases had been leading up to some sort of climax occurring from within the Avengers, and in order to really choose a side here, you need to focus on what you know about these characters prior to watching this film. What are their beliefs? What have been their singular experiences? Captain America has always fought for independence, freedom from the government. Iron Man has generally fought for the safety of citizens, protecting them from terrorists wishing to take their lives. And that’s why it’s generally best to keep the heroes separate. Their motives are different, which is why it’s easy to see a collapse.
Action sequences are shoddily edited in areas but they’re still fun overall. They’re fun, frenetic, and wild. The airport battle sequence is still the best fifteen minutes you can possibly experience in a Marvel film, in addition to being the most fun, you’ll probably have. The climax involving Steve, Tony, and Bucky gets pretty emotional. Steve’s fighting for the freedom of his friend. Tony’s fighting for the innocent. Seeing the two former friends clash in the most hateful, rage-filled way is hard to watch, and yet, it’s still satisfying to see Steve walk away, leaving his shield at Tony’s feet.
The color grading in this film definitely could’ve been way better. In most of the MCU films, there seems to be an extra-thin layer of grey over the characters, but it’s most noticeable here. Spider-Man’s suit definitely looks lacking in terms of how red it supposedly is. The colors in many of the scenes look extremely muddy, and with the increasing technology of digital cinematography, it’s a shame that Marvel’s films don’t look as beautiful as they could. Civil War is visually spectacular, but it just looks bad. The score by Henry Jackman is also particularly forgettable.
Captain America: Civil War does what it was most likely intending to do: begin Phase Three on a high note. There are areas in the film that really don’t work, mainly because of how overstuffed it is. However, the story, driving conflict, and villain are all very strong. The introductions of Black Panther and Spider-Man are some of the strongest the MCU has offered, and the overall payoff to Steve and Tony’s war is ultimately incredible. The action scenes have a very high-octane quality to them, and the visuals are as stunning as you’d expect. It’s one of the best entries in the MCU and serves as an extraordinary setup for what’s to come.
Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.