While being one of the few critics who liked ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice,’ seeing ‘Captain America: Civil War’ truly exposed just how flawed ‘Batman v Superman’ was. Zack Snyder attempted to create a story where humanity took center stage and instead it was gadgetry, hatred, and super abilities that were front and center. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely penned a screenplay that spotlighted the humanity of our characters ( something I’ve never seen in a Marvel film). The Russo brothers stay true to the fundamental roots of the story (based on the Mark Millar comic) as ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is less about abilities and more about the people involved.
The movie opens up in Nigeria, where the Avengers are on the trail of a terrorist named Cross Bones (Frank Grillo) who is trying to acquire a biological weapon. The team moves in, and all hell breaks lose. While the team thwarts the attempt by Cross Bones to obtain a weapon, The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson) accidently blows up 1/2 of a building filled with citizens from the nation of Wakanda (this becomes important later). Seemingly having enough of these collateral matters, the Sectary Of State presents The Avengers with a document that has been approved by 117 countries called the Sokovia accords. The accords outline how the Avengers can no longer just go and handle their business, they will now need UN approval for missions. Tony ( who is usually the wild-child of the bunch) declares that we need to be put in check, so he’s okay with the accords. Captain Rogers, however, is not. The Avengers split based on who did or didn’t sign the accords, and the battle lines are drawn.
The Russo brothers take on the theme of government oversite in ‘Captain America: Civil War.’ The film asks questions about how much government oversite is too much. Tony Stark represents those who want more government intervention, and Steve Rogers represents those who want it be another way. Perspective is key, and both sides believe that they are doing the right thing. Normally, most Marvel films attempt to tell the audience who’s perspective was the right one, but in Captain America: Civil War, that wasn’t the case. The Russo brothers leave that up to the audience to decide. One of my biggest gripes about certain Marvel films is that they force a resolution, but not everything has to have a clear resolution.
The Russo Brothers were able to highlight the humanity of these characters which allowed the film to manifest into something special. Instead of seeing the literal nature of Vision, we see him conflicted over allowing himself to be distracted during a battle. We see Clint Barton (Hawkeye) upset with himself as he came out of retirement to help Steve Rogers instead of taking his girls to a water park. We walk into the room of The Scarlett Witch and witness her anguishing over the deaths of some many of her people in Sokovia. Taking this approach allowed the audience to realize that our heroes are not perfect people. They are vulnerable just like everyone else and conflicted at times over the actions that he or she take.
The story certainly shines a bright light on the flaws of Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. Steve can be so literal that he can’t see the clear picture. Tony allows his emotions to cloud his judgment (and that plays a pivotal role later on).
Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) are featured heavily in the film and rightfully so. Each brought something very fresh to the Marvel universe. Boseman brought a level of physicality and martial arts skills that are unmatched. Spider-Man is young and naive, but you’ll just adore him. Tom Holland was a great find for Marvel and will excel in ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming,’ next year.
Trent Opaloch showed off those cinematography skills he picked up in District 9 and did an excellent job. He allows the movement of his actors to enhance the shots in the film rather the shots enhance the action. The pacing of the film is brisk and light which is weird to say about a movie which is two hours and 27 minutes.
Whether you are #teamcap or #teamironman, we are all in for a treat as ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is the most human Marvel movie ever made.