First things first, I would like to let everyone know that AJ is now a contributor to The Kids Wear Crowns. There’s a lot of superhero movies to look forward to so that means we’ll be doing a lot of reviews. But for now, let’s talk about Captain America: Civil War. I’ll let AJ go first.
So, before I get this started, even though the movie leaked over a week ago and we’ve passed a full weekend since it officially debuted, I should preface this by saying *SPOILERS AHEAD*.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about the biggest movie of 2016, so far: Captain America: Civil War. Ever since news of this movie broke, the hype has been through the roof. Unlike Batman v Superman (more on this later) every bit of news that leaked about it, from the script, to what characters would be involved/debuting, it has only added to the hype. Also, unlike BvS, this movie has exceeded the lofty expectation that were set for it. Funny, considering the Russos decided to do the movie AFTER DC announced the follow-up to Man of Steel would be BvS.
It’s honestly hard to put into words just how great Civil War is, but that’s what Ron pays me to do (don’t tell him about that). At first glance, I thought the movie would be an Avengers film under a different moniker, but that assumption was incorrect. It is very much a Captain America film at its core. You’d also think there would be trouble balancing the Avengers, Black Panther and Spider-man, but again, nope. They managed to give you enough of all of these characters, without overwhelming you as a viewer AND keep the focus on Cap. CW even manages to do something that we never thought possible: Humanize Tony Stark.
As I said earlier, this film succeeds in every area that Batfleck v Cavill failed. The latter felt rushed, jerky and overall, lackluster. BvS tried to establish a true conflict between heroes, CW actually did it. CW was action packed, filled with humor and even heart wrenching at parts. BvS gave us some questionable cameos of the JLA and CW gave us a bad ass Black Panther and the PERFECT Spider-Man. Seriously, Tom Holland is to Peter Parker what RDJ is to Tony Stark. And while neither T’Challa nor Peter were main characters, they stole the show. Ant-Man also gave a great performance and debuted Giant-Man during the heavily teased airport fight scene.
So, with all that being said, how is this not just another Avengers movie? Well, because Captain America drives the plot. He, essentially, causes the “Civil War.” Where Stark only wanted to atone for the sins of the Avengers, Cap wanted to prevent another Hydra from gaining control of the Avengers. Neither viewpoint is wrong, per se, but Cap’s actions ultimately lead to the deconstruction of the Avengers. His desire to protect Bucky leads to Rhodey nearly dying, his team being arrested and branded criminals and ruptures the long brewing tension between he and Tony. Even when, at the end, Tony showed up to try and help Cap stop Zemo (who isn’t really important, hence why I’m just not mentioning him), Cap sends Tony over the edge when he reveals he knew Bucky killed Tony’s parents, sending Tony over the edge and leading to an epic, yet sad, fight between the three.
And while I did say Zemo isn’t a noteworthy villain (MCU fans are used to this), his plan was pretty damn good. He knew he couldn’t destroy the Avengers from the outside, so he engineered a plot to destroy them from within, and it worked. The end of the film leaves half of the Avengers in jail and the other half dejected, on the run, paralyzed or in high school. I do think the MCU solved its villain problem with this film, despite Zemo being “meh” as a villain because the villain of this film is basically the title character. That’s right, in a reversal from the comics, where Tony is morally questionable, Cap’s actions and selfishness caused Zemo’s plan to work. And I get it, Marvel doesn’t go as dark as they could (or should) because of the kids, so I am ok with them tapping Cap to take this one for the team.
Where does this leave the MCU? Well, it sets up an interesting next few films. Both Black Panther and Spidey look poised to lead the MCU once the elder statesmen step down. It also establishes what the first part of Infinity War will likely be about. I mean, Marvel has to find a way to turn public opinion back in favor of the heroes, right? What bigger way to do that than spend a film of Thanos killing humans and having the depleted, government controlled Avengers, get their behinds kicked all over Earth? I can picture Tony handing Cap his shield back at the end of the film and giving a glimmer of hope going into Part 2.
Overall, I think this is the best film of the MCU, so far. Hell, I have it as the best Superhero Movie of All Time. Prior to this, nothing I had would supplant the first Avengers due to the sheer goosebumps I got watching the team stand together for the first time after Hulk crushed that giant turtle looking thing. But the airport fight scene in CW tops that. So if you haven’t seen it by now…..GO!
I would like to echo AJ’s thoughts on this movie. This is easily the most lit Civil War since Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.
But seriously, with all due respect to Joss Whedon and the other amazing directors who have walked under Marvel’s grand umbrella, you have been owned by The Russo Brothers. They have not only reinvented Captain America but the superhero genre period. How often do we watch a superhero film and have to suspend disbelief? Often. It’s almost necessary. It’s still enjoyable, but we know it’s fiction.
Beginning with Winter Soldier, which was also phenomenal, they have managed to take this totally fictional word and make it realistic. At its core, The Winter Soldier was nothing more than an espionage thriller that just so happened to be a Captain America movie. The Civil War is more political. Big government vs little government. How much control do we want to cede to our government? Although these issues involve fictional characters, they’re real life issues.
Simply put: This is just a great movie. Comic book movie or not. There’s a lot of moving parts at Marvel and a lot of puzzle pieces to connect in this universe but The Civil War’s story was beautifully crafted. For all intents and purposes, it’s basically The Avengers 2.5. It takes the events of The Winter Soldier, brings you up to speed post Age of Ultron and also incorporates other characters into the fold. The hardest sell for me was wondering how to make a civil war work on the big screen. Due to legal barriers there’s a lot of characters and a lot of story that can’t be covered. So how can Steve vs. Tony make sense in this universe?
This story stacks up the collateral damage from New York, Washington DC, every place Thor crushed in The Dark World, and Nigeria at the beginning of these movies. Too often we watch superhero movies and no one pays for the damage done and the lives lost. The Sakovia Accords is holding The Avengers accountable for that damage. Now this plot device still wouldn’t work if breadcrumbs weren’t dropped way before this. Tony announces to the world that he’s Iron Man in the first movies, claims he privatized world peace in the second movie, had a fleet of his iron suits nearly blow up everyone by the third movie and created a weapon that nearly destroyed mankind by Age of Ultron. Cap has been operating in the dark since he was defrosted. He’s was deployed at SHIELD’s leisure for secret missions and now he’s assembled a faction of his own Avengers to tie up the loose ends from The Winter Soldier.
Tony and Steve have always represented two sides of this world. The Sakovia Accords magnifies this division. It gives each guy a purpose. Honestly, you could take away probably all the action from this movie and it would still be a good ass movie.
But since there was so much action, let me fire off a few quick things I liked about the movie. First, they waste no time with the story. You get straight into the action.
I love how so many characters were included in this story and were actually given backstory. Most importantly, Black Panther. We should officially rename this movie Black Panther vs. Whoever is in his way: Civil War. Chadwick Boseman easily stole the show although he wasn’t a primary character. He’s such a great actor that he brought out T’Challa’s rage after his father was killed. He also proved that Will Smith was out of his damn mind for thinking he deserved an Oscar nomination for this crappy accent.
[Fun fact: Chadwick remained in character while shooting this entire movie. Accent and all. Imagine that]
Another new character we got to see is none other than Peter Parker. Although I hated The Amazing Spiderman movies, I loved Andrew Garfield as Spiderman. Well nah, from now on nobody other than Tom Holland is Spiderman. His banter and childlike naivety made him the perfect Peter Parker. I will admit his inclusion into the movie is the only thing that seemed a bit forced. You’re gonna recruit a 15-year-old you’ve been secretly spying on Tony? Seriously. Either way, this is nitpicking at this point. All was forgotten about this plot hiccup once Spiderman showed up to battle.
Also, I know a lot is made of Marvel’s lackluster villains. Baron Zemo is a great villain in the comics but he’s kinda watered down in the movie. I actually loved this idea. First off, Daniel Bruhl is an amazing actor. So making Zemo human in this world is believable.
This guy showing up in this world would’ve been incredibly corny. Giving Zemo a real life agenda that tied into a previous movie was genius. He crafted a diabolical plan and was honestly more frightening than any other Marvel movie villain. Once his ultimate plan unfolded, I was just as shocked as when I found out Verbal Kint was Kaizer Soze.
Let’s go through my thoughts as this was happening:
“Oh, cool. Tony is about to bury the hatchet to go help Steve. Glad he realized he was wrong”
“Oh no, Black Panther is there too. Hope he doesn’t kill Bucky before he finds out he didn’t kill T’Chaka”
“Zemo, wyd bro?”
“Ok, we’ve already seen this video of Bucky like three times in this movie already”
“Wait, is that Howard Stark?”
“KILL THIS NIGGA TONY! KILL THIS NIGGA! STEVE GOTTA GO TOO!!!!”
Which brings me to my last takeaway from this review. While I see why they had to end the movie the way they did, someone definitely should’ve died. I too hate movie and TV deaths just for the sake of killing someone off but the damage done here seems far too substantial. I think the Russos wanted to take it all the way there but Marvel (Disney) pulled the reins back. Either way, I’m still pleased with this movie overall. It’s the jewel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and also a wake up call to other superhero movies. You gotta come with it now. You can’t just rely on blowing up buildings and excess amounts of fight scenes. The superhero genre has become legitimate cinema now, with great actors, writers and directors. What I love most about that is the fact that we haven’t even seen the best from Marvel Studios yet.
Well that concludes our review. Meet us here again as we review X-Men: Apocalype. Also, feel free to make donations to help pay AJ’s hefty salary.