Captain America: Civil War hit theaters this weekend and OMFG was it good! I found the first Captain America movie to be a good telling of his origin story, just a little hokey. The second film, however, Captain America: Winter Soldier, was awesome in almost every single way. I would dare to say that it was my favorite MCU movie to date. Well, Captain America: Civil War just took the crown from it. It not only snatched up the crown, but it tied it up like that walking thingy on that snowy planet in that really old movie and punched it in its perfect teeth.
This review contains spoilers. ALL THE SPOILERS! If you have not yet watched the movie and would like to do so WITHOUT BEING SPOILED, click away. Read something else like – this review of a solar powered battery charger or watch this Marvel Collector Corp unboxing or see what’s on my phone.
The opening sequence to the movie is one of the best I have seen. The subtle humor throughout the movie starts from the jump. In a tense situation, Falcon asks Black Widow if anyone has told her she’s a little paranoid. Natasha takes it in stride and says, “Not to my face. Why did you hear something?” There’s a lot of this type of humor spoken over intense spy movie like music throughout the movie that will have you giggling in the theater.
While the movie is spectacular overall, this opening sequence leads to my first disappointment of the film. Crossbones is a bad ass in the comics. This is the first time we get to see the movie adaptation of his final form. The character deserved more than 10 minutes of screen time. I love Frank Grillo and he deserved more than what was given to him. I liked the MCU interpretation of Crossbones. He was a mean motherfucker and those cybernetic improvements courtesy of Hydra were a nice touch. Plus… it’s Frank Freaking Grillo! But reducing him to some suicide bomber was cheap. It didn’t do justice to Crossbones or Frank Grillo. I know Frank hinted at him not being dead, which, to be fair, the character did survive a freaking building being dropped on him, but… c’mon now. Let’s be real. Dude’s dead.
The Sokovia Accords
The Sokovia Accords is the MCU version of the Superhuman Registration Act. In the comics, the Act called for superheroes to reveal their identities and register with the government. In this movie version, the heroes are to agree to being regulated by the government. I believe it would be safe to assume the government was already tracking super-powered individuals, but any actions or missions that may put civilians in harms way would have to be sanctioned by the government. This treaty, if ratified, would make The Avengers an organization subject to government oversight.
This doesn’t sit well with Captain America. Going into this film I felt like I was #TeamCap all the way, but in watching this film you definitely can see Tony Stark’s argument. The government and the reasoning behind the act is not out of bounds, but Cap has seen this play out before with this level of power in the hands of a tyrannical government. If while watching the movie, you don’t feel swayed one way or the other… you’re doing it wrong.
The introduction to Black Panther is pretty seamless. His involvement in the film fits with the story. His desire to avenge his father’s death is consuming and understandable. We get our formal introduction to the badassery that is Black Panther when Natasha tells T’Challa to stand down and let the council decide how to handle Bucky. He replies with ”I will kill him myself.” It is that moment when I had my first ah shit! moment.
He appears to be super-powered, but they didn’t go into his origin story much in this film, so we don’t know the source of his strength or its limitations, if any. Considering he was able to block Bucky’s metal arm even without his suit on, well, I’d say he’s on at least supersoldier level when it comes to strength. Bucky was under the Hydra spell, so we know he wasn’t holding back.
Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal is pretty regal when we first meet him. You can see glimpses of a feral cat in him as he suits up and chases Bucky and fights off Captain America and latches onto Sam Wilson while in flight. Boseman’s range throughout the movie is one of my favorite things. It was impressive and it leaves you wanting to know more about the Black Panther. It tees up his movie in a way that the stupid hot tub scene in Age of Ultron could have never done for Thor: Ragnarok. Considering how much I liked Creed, despite the Rough Ryderz music video masquerading as a training monatage, I think Coogler and Boseman are going to make for one hell of a one-two punch for the MCU!
Tom Holland is my new favorite Spider-Man. I will always have a soft spot for Tobey Maguire, but Holland knocked it out of the park. Yes, he felt shoe-horned into the film. His introduction and inclusion didn’t feel as seamless and natural as Black Panther’s. It reminded me of Quicksilver in Days of Future Past. There’s the “Oh, I know a guy” scene. They proceed to talk to the mother/aunt, bring the kid on board for a task that could’ve easily been handled by someone already on the roster, and then they shoo him away.
Tom Holland’s portrayal of Spider-Man is pure comic book Spider-Man. The witty banter is there. There’s a nod to the classic comic book panel where Spider-Man leans on Iron Man’s chest as Iron Man says “We have money” and Spider-Man says “Oh, thank God!” There’s possibly a nod to IRL history with Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) hitting on Aunt May (Marisa Tomei). They did a rom-com together in the 90’s. Also for being 51, she’s pretty smokin’ and that was all the talk of the Internet when the studio announced her casting. Not sure how this new MCU Spider-Man will play out when its all said and done, but it was one hell of an introduction. Well done, Marvel.
Baron Heinrich Zemo was one of Hitler’s greatest scientists. He was the one responsible for “killing” Bucky Barnes and for Captain America ending up frozen in the Artic. We all know that story was changed in the movies, but in the comics Zemo is a big effin’ deal. Zemo formed the Masters of Evil, but died in a battle against Captain America. His son, Baron Helmut Zemo, remains one of Marvel’s greatest villains. He formed the new Masters of Evil and has feuded with the likes of S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America and the Avengers, both individually and as a team.
Like Crossbones, I was pretty disappointed with the portrayal of Helmut Zemo. He was relatable in that he lost his family in Sokovia. They showed him several times sitting in coffee shops listening to his wife’s old voicemail that he never deleted. I felt for the dude, but goddammit Marvel would it hurt to give a villain a little shine? To date, the only villain that has any appeal has been Loki. His attempts at revenge seemed like an overly confusing, complicated and convenient plot to turn the heroes on one another. Bummed he killed the other supersoldiers. I would have loved to see Cap and Bucky face off against an army of supersoldiers with Iron Man joining the fight.
I am glad they kept Zemo alive. It would be great to show more of the evil genius he is. I thought it was shitty that they even hinted at a suicide attempt with him. Enough with with the suicides. One, most likely, successful suicide attempt and a failed one? It’s lazy storytelling. I would hope for more of Zemo, but considering the timeline left on Phase 3 leading into Infinity War, I think that’s the last we will see of Zemo
The Blue and The Iron
There’s a “What If” story in Secret Wars that tells of a timeline where the War never ended. Captain America and Iron Man continue butting heads and the country split in two regions, The Blue and The Iron. Both regions were desperate for resources, so a neutral party, Miriam Sharpe, orchestrated a meeting between the two of them. There was a bombing during the meeting and she ended up dying. Both sides blamed each other for her murder. A massive fight ensued and it all turned out to be a Skrull conspiracy. I hate those fucking Skrulls. Basically, Captain America: Civil War is that story on a smaller scale minus the cockroach Skrulls.
Downey Jr. is strong in this movie. He becomes consumed with rage and blinded to reality. You can see the dizzying pain in his eyes as he discovers his parents were murdered by the Winter Soldier and will stop at nothing to avenge their death.
Chris Evans was also strong. He is Captain America. He is constantly trying to be the voice of reason throughout the movie. He is trying to talk people off the ledge of insanity almost to a fault. There are times when you find yourself irritated by Steve Rogers. You get tired of his little speeches and want him to shut the hell up.
Not sure if Captain America was meant to be a trilogy, but if it is, this was the perfect close to an amazing ride. Of all the solo films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain America has always been on the steady climb. Some would call this movie Avengers 2.5: The Apology and in some respects it is just that due to its large roster of characters, but at the end of the day it absolutely is a Captain America film. I was amazed by the fight scenes. Some of the fight scenes in this movie is the absolute best work I have ever seen. The Russo Brothers did such good work. This movie provided emotional conflict in such a satisfying way. That feeling was very much absent in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Also, this is the first MCU movie where I felt like Black Widow could carry her own solo film.
That’s it… I’m calling it….