Captain America: Civil War (12A)

Marvel returns with their biggest film yet - is it a hulking mess or a soaring success? Emma Allsopp found out.

9th May 2016

After so many movies from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (twelve to be exact) it can be hard to add something new to the fray.  However, the Russo brothers, Joe and Anthony, have absolutely no trouble with the task.  After reviving, or rather defrosting, Captain America from the disappointment of his first solo film, Captain America: The First Avenger, with the gritty and dirty Captain America: The Winter Soldier, they repeat their successes with Captain America: Civil War, their biggest Marvel project yet.

Although, this is much more like an Avengers movie than a Captain America one as the cast is ridiculously large, but thanks to the focussed directing of the Russo’s it is not overcrowded.  It is rather a self-explanatory film, the UN decide that the Avengers have become too unaccountable, so they threaten them with signing the Sokovia Accords, a contract that puts them under government control.  Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) thinks it is the right thing to do, but Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is more wary, this split causes a rift in the team, hence the civil war.

The performances exceed expectations on every level, with Robert Downey Jr portraying the most damaged Tony Stark we have seen with great success.  Sebastian Stan also delivers once again as Bucky Barnes, Steve’s friend who is still struggling to come to terms with his brain-washing by HYDRA.  Scarlett Johansson is brilliant again as Black Widow, fusing sass and wit to create a female character to be proud of.  Although there are no real bad performances, Elizabeth Olsen’s accent is still not perfect.  In Avengers: Age of Ultron it was far too stereotypical, but now it is almost American, although this time it is decidedly less distracting.

"I find it endlessly exciting that the Russos will be directing both parts of Avengers: Infinity Wars"

There are many wonderful elements of the film, but a definite standout is the introduction of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) who will be getting his own solo movie in 2017.  He is the most childlike Spider-Man onscreen and is seemingly most faithful to the comics. Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther is also introduced, ready for his solo debut in 2018, and he is definitely a different kind of superhero, maybe closer to DC’s Batman than anything else.  The darkness of this film is also balanced by humour which does not disrupt the tone, with Spider-Man, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd, brilliant again) and the non-so bromance of Bucky and Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) delivering laughs throughout.

With the clear success that this film is I find it endlessly exciting that the Russos will be directing both parts of Avengers: Infinity Wars rather than Joss Whedon.  They have a great talent for making superhero films relevant to modern society and the real world, with The Winter Soldier showing the corruption of security organisations, and Civil War critiquing vigilante culture as well as government reliability. 

Plus, both times I viewed this film there was a much higher adult to child ratio than I expected, showing that the Russos are making a grittier and more adult form of Marvel movie, which the studio, and the audience, quite frankly needs.

More like this: Gettysburg (1993)

Rating: 10/10 

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