“AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!” Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) are at each other’s throats. Their prospective teams are lining up behind them and preparing for war. Captain America: Civil War is a match up of GIANT proportions…a HULKING tribute to Marvel’s success. In other words, The Merry Marvel Marching Society’s massive tribute to the Avengers and itself. Captain America: Civil War also resets what we think about superhero films.
The world governments have grown fearful. The Avengers themselves have left death and destruction across the world. The immense, and still growing, power of meta humans and their threat forces to everyone else has forced the leaders to take steps. They’ve asked General ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross (William Hurt) to approach the Avengers with a proposal-the Sokovia Accords. The Avengers would no longer be independent; they would instead operate under the control of a United Nations panel. As you can imagine, the Avengers were apoplectic.
Oddly, Tony Stark, the original rebel, tends to agree with them. All of his attempts to make the world safe, both as Iron Man and the boy genius, seem to have backfired. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) came very close to conquering our planet, the Mandarin gathered immense power and nearly killed Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Ultron nearly destroyed the earth. Each time, the Avengers prevailed, just barely.
Captain America, a Boy Scout-like character second only to Superman, completely disagrees with Tony and the schism begins. Both superheroes gather their friends, and a few surprise extras, and an incredible roller coaster ride begins. One moment Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is sharing a hilarious introduction to Cap and the next he’s in a desperate battle with Iron Man’s entire team. One minute Tony is the invincible Iron Man and the next a conflicted analyst. Thank god the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth) aren’t in this film or the Earth probably would have would not have survived. Those two fighting could have destroyed this corner of the universe.
Captain America: Civil War is a simple, funny, and yet, deadly serious thrill ride. There are plenty of twists and turns for even the most rabid fan. Most amazing, the physics of the film are well thought out as are the superhero abilities. When Captain America and Iron Man’s teams meet in battle, not only is the CGI amazing, but there are none of those pesky distractions. It was liking watching the comic books come to life.
The characters came to life with the major characters wearing their roles like a comfy jacket. The newly introduced members, like the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spidey (Tom Holland), fit in like they had always belonged. Robert Downey Junior’s performance was one of his best. Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson have great chemistry and belong together. Both bring joy and tears with equal aplomb. Jeremy Renner was at his absolute best and Hawkeye finally feels like a real superhero and not just an add on. Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany were all great, though minor characters. Many directors throw the minor characters in as an afterthought, but the Russo brothers paid special attention to each.
Special mention goes to Chadwick Boseman and Sebastian Stan. Chadwick Boseman is one of the best new additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), ever! Though his screen time and performance were minimalist T’Challa was riveting. When he was in the scene it was hard to take your eyes off of him, both in and out of the Black Panther outfit.
As for Sebastian Stan, his performance was brilliant. As a cold-blooded murderer or good old Bucky Barnes he was flawless. When Iron Man confronted the Winter Soldier his shame and fear were genius. When Cap gets through to him, his joy and relief equally so.
Anthony and Joe Russo deserve an immense amount of credit. Perhaps all future comic book films should have two directors, brothers, if possible. Winter Soldier and Civil War are two of the best comic book films ever, perhaps even two of the best films.
The visuals are also amazing. At no time, did the CGI take away from either story or action and never were the characters overwhelmed by too many special effects. From start to finish Civil War is perfectly blended between the visuals, fun, action and pure entertainment. It is a master-class in making comic book films.
Captain America: Civil War plays like a Mozart sonata, every note perfect making the movie a synergistic masterpiece. The whole is much better even than the sum of the admittedly brilliant parts. It is nearly impossible that Civil War could be much better.
RELATED: Check out Pop Confidential’s Captain America: Civil War podcast.