Captain America: Civil War is the result of Marvel's constantly shifting trajectory, largely due to the announcement of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. What was first going to be Captain America 3, became Captain America vs Iron Man, and eventually settled on Captain America: Civil War. However after seeing Captain America: Civil War, it was realistically The Avengers 3, that had very little to do with the Civil War storyline from the comics. The Civil War angle was merely alluded to in very broad strokes for the most part. Marvel really threw everything they could at this movie, and some of it worked, and some of it didn't.
Captain America (Chris Evans), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are all on a mission to to stop a terrorist group that's led by Crossbones (Frank Grillo). After the mission goes wrong and twelve civilians die because Scarlet Witch was unable to contain an explosion, government's all around the world start demanding some accountability from The Avengers. Captain America sees this as a form of control instead of an autonomous unit that he signed up for, but Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) sees it as a necessary precaution to prevent any further disasters. Although they disagree, they do so amicably. It's not until the UN is bombed on the day of the signing of the 'Sokovia Accord' and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is implicated in the blast that Captain is forced to protect a friend, even if it means going rogue.
The division of The Avengers is not because of accountability or government oversight, it's because Captain doesn't want to give up Bucky, but Tony is adamant that Bucky needs to take the fall. Captain believes that someone framed Bucky and refuses to hand him over until he gets to the bottom of what's really going on, while Tony has seen all he needs to see. One of the victims of the UN bombing is the father of the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), so naturally Black Panther is out for the Winter Soldier's blood.
Tony Stark also takes it upon himself to recruit a very young Spider Man (Tom Holland) to his cause. Eventually Tony Stark comes around and sees the puppet master who's been tearing The Avengers apart. And it's yet another entirely underdeveloped Marvel villain in Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) who reveals a long hidden truth that could possibly tear The Avengers apart from the inside. It's his ace up his sleeve. While Zemo talks about toppling an empire, even if he's successful, he'll only have toppled The Avengers, and they're certainly not an empire.
The acting was strong all around, especially from the newcomer Chadwick Boseman, who was both dignified and dangerous, although I thought his powers were too over-exaggerated. It was pretty easy to see the cgi movements, even veering into Blade 2 territory with the fighting squirrels. Tom Holland was fine, but he didn't leave much of an impression on me. His alter ego (Spider Man) was pretty cool and had some neat action sequences of web slingin', but Tom Holland himself left me feeling a bit lukewarm about him as Peter Parker. Sebastian Stan shone more in Civil War than he did in Winter Soldier, probably even outshining Chris Evans in his own movie. Above them all however was Robert Downey Jr. Just when I was getting sick and tired of him, he really injected a lot of humanity and emotion into a movie that was severely lacking those two elements. They were the highlights to me, everyone else was just... there.
The action is where I have to come down hard on Civil War, it just felt like too much. It wasn't necessarily the amount of action, although there was a lot, it was how it was shot. Practically every action sequence is sped-up, super edited, full of quick cuts and the camera was so shaky I felt like I was watching a Bourne movie, it was that bad. I will say though that the airport battle was the exception (mostly). It was still insanely sped-up, but the camerawork settled down and the framing seemed to improve significantly.
The score was remarkably weak as well. Remember in The Avengers how the score really uplifted the vibe of the entire movie? Well, there's nothing like that in Civil War. A stronger score could have elevated what was a good, but fragmented action sequence into a great one. The humor was dialed down, but it was still there. Never to busy to throw out one-liners as you're fighting your life against some of the world's most powerful heroes. I'm not against humor per se, but, like everything else, in moderation.
It's public knowledge that the decision to make Civil War was reactionary to the announcement of Batman v Superman, and that much is obvious in the script. They could have easily cut out the entire Civil War storyline and the movie still would have worked, better in my opinion. There was just no need to rush into Civil War. The 'Civil War' aspect played out predictably enough, becoming another in a long line of inconsequential Marvel movies. This is what makes it hard for me to get invested in Marvel movies, you know everyone is going to walk away happy at the end of the day, and that lowers the stakes for me considerably.
This is the first MCU movie I've seen in cinemas since Iron Man 3, and it was okay, but I feel like it will suffer from The Avengers syndrome. It will be praised to the high heavens now, but in a few years it will be seen as a movie that relied more on its visual spectacle than as a genuine cinematic achievement. I don't think it will stand the test of time in other words. If they were really being honest about it, then Civil War probably should've been called "Captain America: The Fight for Bucky". I found Civil War to be a bit of a mess that was full of coincidences and contradictions, though that's not to say that I didn't enjoy parts of it, but I'd probably put The Avengers ahead of it and Age of Ultron behind it. The incoherent action was nauseating though, that was a big downer for me. It was like the Taken sequels all over again.
Written by - The Sentry - 27/04/2016