CIVIL WAR REVIEWED
“Captain America: Civil War” is perfect for fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For those that don’t care for the MCU, we’re going to hear the usual complaints. Nothing major happens, it’s stuff we already knew and they wasted their villains. Well, I’ve got to agree with the villains part. But, how else were they supposed to introduce a legacy villain like Baron Zemo?
Captain America remains the most consistently strong series out of the different Marvel franchises. Balancing tone shifts with the need to rapidly advance the plot, Captain America never had a movie fall into the Whedon doldrums. More than anything, Captain America rushes into the opposite direction for “Civil War”. “Civil War” gets up in your face and slams every available hero down your throat. Plus, they juggle two new character launches and begin advancing the next phase of Marvel movies.
Marvel knows what they’re doing and that’s all that matters. They get that it’s a marathon and not a race to build a world of characters that connect and matter to each other. The biggest tell for that is how a similar plot point from “Batman v. Superman” is handled 800 times better in the “Civil War” finale. We’re tip-toeing into spoilers, but how Tony Stark handles that revelation is stunning. Sure, it’s been setup from an amazing flashback near the start of the film, but it still hits with a heavy hook.
We’re now in an era where we have a Connery Bond, a Ford Jones or even a Bogart Spade with the Marvel flicks. Like it or not, Robert Downey, Jr has become Iron Man. The comic depiction has changed to match him, everything known about the character has changed to match him and his is the face that the world associates with Tony Stark. But, none of that matters outside of those scenes where he get to see the emotional root of Stark. When Iron Man learns the truth behind what happened to his mother, when Rhodey gets wounded or when Cap turns on him…you see the heart of the character.
How he responds to Falcon after Rhodey is hurt and how he handles Bucky at the end of the film shows something amazing in the RDJ performance. He gets that Iron Man is a wealthy futurist that realizes he must used his unmatched power to enforce his will. Whether it’s out of emotional rage, personal gain or want…Iron Man must be Stark’s tool to make the world sane again. I’m a Team Cap all the way, but Downey was operating on a near Ledger level in the film. However, it probably won’t gain Awards recognition, as it has taken us 13 films to get to this point.
Spider-Man gets intro’d in the film, but his MCU debut works so much better than the Black Panther. A lot of that comes from the outside baggage that the character brings into the Marvel movies. The audience knows Spider-Man to the point that we don’t have to talk about the origins or Uncle Ben. You put him in Queens, throw in a rather foxy Aunt May and we want every Avenger to be his best friend. The snobbery is going to get very annoyed with the lovefest awaiting Peter Parker’s MCU debut, but the love is deserved. This is Year 1 Spidey willed into existence by 54 years of adoration.
Covering films like this seems overwhelming when you’re so crushingly familiar with the source material. Where do I stop commenting? The emerging Vision & Scarlet Witch romance? The revelation that Howard Stark was working on a new Super Soldier serum with SHIELD? The emergence of a movie Marvel Universe that closely resembles the current comics? Sorry, mutants and Inhumans. There is so much onscreen that your eyes never know where to stop ogling.
This is the second film where it seems that Jeremy Renner is starting to get Hawkeye. Upgrading Sharon Carter’s status in the Cap movies is helpful, but we still need to anchor her into the larger picture. I left the film wondering what audiences would think about Cap making out with his girlfriend’s niece just a few days after her funeral. But, this is the same audience that embraced Groot and the tip of the iceberg oddities that Marvel can still bring forth. Amazing work all around and a great start for the summer.
Run time: 2 hrs 27 mins