Captain America: Civil War lacks actual civil war, still entertaining


Fair Use Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Captain American and Iron Man go head to head in the final fight scene in Captain America: Civil War.

As Marvel fans (and Iron Man fans), many dutifully set out to watch Captain America: Civil War in theaters, where all Marvel movies are best viewed. But, leaving the theater, many were left to wonder if the movie would even be considered good if it was watched anywhere but on the big screen. Of course, it would be a lie to say that it was not entertaining. The fight scenes were awesome. The dialogue was hilarious. The characters were cool. The plot was boring.

The plot starts in the aftermath of Sokovia where many civilians had died amidst the fighting between the Avengers and Ultron (from Avengers: Age of Ultron). The Avengers are asked to answer to the United Nations rather than act as a private entity in order to avoid situations in which they drop buildings on civilians. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), a.k.a. Iron Man, supports the so-called “Sokovia Accords” because he feels guilty and believes it is the right thing to do. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a.k.a Captain America, believes that answering to the government will only keep the Avengers from pursuing the truth and doing what is right (note: American themes like freedom and small government).

The ‘civil war’, as it is called, is hardly a war in any way. No coherent strategy develops – the only question is who can out recruit and out punch the other. ”

The movie could have explored this argument, but instead it chose another plot in which Captain America finds Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and is right (it is his movie, after all) and Iron Man is wrong and chases after him. Both of them recruit a lot of other superheroes.

The ‘civil war’, as it is called, is hardly a war in any way. No coherent strategy develops – the only question is who can out recruit and out punch the other. Or, who is better at throwing vehicles (the answer would be Team Cap). One might argue the war is ideological. That would have been great, but the most ideological the movie really got was in one scene where the characters begin to show their alignment and from then on its simply “I’m right, you’re wrong.” The recruitments could have acted as plot drivers, but hardly any lead up exists as to why certain characters choose a side. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is literally brought onto one side by being driven in by a van. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) just shows up. In fact, all of the movie’s twists feel more like bends. Viewers feel that things could have gone either way, and in fact, the twists themselves make immediately more sense than the other possibilities. In the end, the only strained friendship is between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers, and the strain is temporary at worst as Rogers later apologizes, and, again, we all know Rogers is right.

Meanwhile, much like Avengers: Age of Ultron, a theme of vengeance and prevention develops. The only difference is that Tony chooses politics over AI this time.  Oh, and Captain American turns out to be right. Again. Nonetheless, the movie makes some reference back to Bucky’s time as the brainwashed Winter Soldier and uncovers some secrets that might be used later.

20th Century Fox

Nonetheless, new characters like T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a.k.a. Black Panther, and Peter Parker (Tom Holland), a.k.a. Spider-Man, are far from disappointing.The only disappointment one might feel towards the new characters is that they did not get more screen time. Holland portrays Peter Parker wonderfully as an awkward and talkative teenager – much like how any one of us would act if we were granted super powers and then met the likes of Iron Man and Captain America face to face. He adds a more human aspect to an otherwise seriously foreign concept that viewers can relate to. He also drops a nice Star Wars reference. And, no matter what Deadpool says, Spider-Man’s superhero landing with Captain American’s shield is pretty awesome. Meanwhile, T’Challa is straightforward and the least willing to get caught up in witty banter mid-fight. He acts as a more realistic contrast to Marvel’s strange, but enjoyable, habit of characters cracking jokes during otherwise serious moments. The way Black Panther moves is simply dazzling and his vibranium suit isn’t too bad either. Both characters are set to have their own movies.

The action, as always, was spectacular. Marvel’s token humor spread throughout extended fight scenes were truly entertaining as well as its final fight scene between Iron Man and Captain America (ft. Bucky). And, though the idea of a civil war was quite disappointing, the mysterious orchestrator behind most of the events throughout the movie still adds some intrigue.

Marvel Entertainment

Plot-wise, the movie acts as a pretext to the state of the Avengers in the next Marvel movie that includes the Avengers. Whether or not their division will add much to the next plot is unknown, but given the almost entire lack of bad blood between any of them, the chances of them not working together in the end seem low. Marvel fans who are excited to get a taste of what Black Panther and Spider-Man will look like should still go see Civil War. Marvel fans interested in what to expect next from the Avengers can probably stay home. Action movie fans should definitely show up.



3.5 out of 5 stars