Cinematic Release: Captain America: Civil War (2016) - Reviewed

Civil War is here. Find out what we thought. 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is vast and sprawling with thirteen films padding out its vision. With the newest Captain America film, Civil War, the Russo brothers attempt to combine all the elements that have been foreshadowed in the previous movies and for the most part they are successful in this endeavor. Civil War is the most mature and comprehensive Marvel film to date and uses the template set by The Winter Soldier (2014) as a basis for both the atmosphere and tone. While it doesn't completely eschew the trademark "Marvel snark" it strikes a much better balance between humor and gravitas than the Avengers films.

Everybody run for the border! Taco time!

Fans of the comic book run of Civil War will find that many changes to the story have been made from the source material, but all of them make sense in the cinematic universe. Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) square off over a dispute about whether The Avengers should be held accountable to the United Nations and essentially stop being a private organization. This film actually acknowledges some of the collateral damage that was caused in previous films which is something that really hasn't been done in superhero films up to this point. The stakes are much higher in this film and it feels like the choices that the characters make matter in the grander scheme of things.

With this many superheroes on the roster, there was the danger that it could become jumbled and confusing, but each character's screen time is balanced perfectly and nobody feels shoehorned into the plot. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) makes his screen debut and they do gloss over his role/origin a bit though he does have some standout action scenes. It seemed like they were just giving the audience a taste of him to whet their appetite for his standalone film coming out in the future. Speaking of the action scenes, they range from mediocre to outstanding. Some of them suffer from the dreaded "shaky cam" with the opening scene being especially egregious with its use. I felt like I was watching The Bourne Identity with superheros thrown in. Fortunately, the latter action scenes improve greatly and make great use of all the different superhero's powers and abilities.

Dude. Sorry those tacos jacked you up so much. Next time, pizza and hookers. 

Much to-do was made of Spider-Man's (Tom 
Holland) appearance in Civil War and he absolutely steals the show. Taking notes from Brian Bendis' Ultimate Spider-Man run from the early 2000s, this Peter Parker is much younger and inexperienced. Holland infuses his performance with lots of wisecracking, banter, teenage excitement and vigor. It's far and away the best cinematic version of Spider-Man yet and every minute he is on the screen is a blast to watch. I'm very excited to see how the franchise plays out with this version of Spidey. His suit is great looking too (and kinda retro) with nods to artists like Steve Ditko and Mark Bagely.  

This film is quite long, clocking in at almost two-and-a-half hours but it doesn't drag at any point and moves along quite swiftly and smoothly. The lead-in to the conflict does feel a bit rushed but to be fair, it's that way in the comic book as well. I prefer the movie version of the catalyst for the Sokovia Accords (the movie nomenclature for the Superhero Registration Act from the comics) as it makes more sense and is less silly. There are some deep themes running through the narrative and it touches on issues such as: government control, Libertarian concepts, and collateral damage. Overall, Civil War is the most adult and realized film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it comes highly recommended.


-Michelle Kisner

Avenge those tacos. Share this review. 
Pinterest Google+ StumbleUpon Twitter Reddit Facebook