Martens' Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews from an avid movie-goer

Captain America: Civil War Review

Released: May 6, 2016
Running Time: 2 hours 27 minutes

“Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, the other superheros must pick sides

Marvel Cinematic Universe MCU

Marvel Cinematic Universe – Source – Marvel Studios

You can find all of the reviews for the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the link here. At that link, you can also find the dates that the other reviews for the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be posted. My plan is to release one every single day, and because I’ve already reviewed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 here, and Spider – Man: Homecoming here, they will not be included in the two weeks leading up to Thor Ragnarok.

As such, I will now move onto the actual review of the film, and I hope you enjoy!

Captain America: Civil War Trailer – Source: Marvel Studios


Cast and Crew

This film was directed by Joe Russo and Anthony Russo, who have been captaining the MCU ship since Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and followed that fantastic film with another in this one. They are also directing the two upcoming Avengers movies that are set to be released with Avengers: Infinity War in May 2018 and the untitled sequel to that Avengers film in May 2019. They have done such a marvellous job in their work so far, that I have the utmost faith that they will deliver in those movies. I just hope that I’m right.

Captain America: Civil War

From Left to Right: Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa / Black Panther, Paul Bettany as Vision, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, Don Cheadle as James Rhodes / War Machine – Source: Marvel Studios

As I mention in the paragraph about the Russos, I’ve also already talked about the writers of this movie in several of my other MCU reviews as they have written quite a few by now. Captain America: Civil War was written by Stephen McFeely & Christopher Markus, who to this point have written 4 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies including this one, as well as the two upcoming Avengers movies in 2018 and 2019. They, along with the Russos mentioned above have gained a lot of trust from Feige, and seem to have been given the ‘keys to the kingdom’. With 3/4 movies that they’ve written to this point being between good and fantastic, I can understand why they are trusted with the future of the MCU.

Captain America: Civil War

From Left to Right: Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon, Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch and Sebastian Stan as James Buchanan Barnes (Bucky) / Winter Soldier – Source: Marvel Studios

The cast featured Chris EvansRobert Downey Jr.Scarlett JohanssonSebastian StanAnthony MackieDon CheadleJeremy RennerChadwick BosemanPaul BettanyElizabeth OlsenPaul RuddEmily VanCampTom HollandDaniel BrühlFrank GrilloWilliam HurtMartin FreemanMarisa TomeiJohn KaniJohn SlatteryHope DavisKerry Condon and Stan Lee.


Review

In my opinion, the biggest flaw with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is their usage and waste of most of their villains. One of them being the one in Captain America: Civil War – Helmut Zemo, who in the comics is more commonly known as Baron Zemo. The character in the movie, other than his dedication and intelligence is nothing like his comic book counterpart. I understand that the movie is about the heroes fighting amongst themselves, I feel like they could have used this character a lot better than they did, making him a typical villain out to hurt the people that took ‘everything from him’. I’m happy they kept him alive, as it gives us hope that he might be better utilised one day, but for this movie, and for this story, Zemo was probably one of the biggest wastes of a comic book villain that we have seen so far.

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The choice to kill off Crossbones in this film is something that I can’t really understand, other than to show the character in his costume. Brock Rumlow could have and should have died at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, as it would have made more sense since he had a building drop on top of him. I can understand the usage of the character to confuse Rogers, but I feel they could have done that using any character to mention Bucky.

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The divisive piece of legislation that is used to tear apart the Avengers, and make them choose sides is known in this movie as the Sokovia Accords. In the comics that this movie is loosely based on, they fight over the need to register with the government, so that people would know the true identity underneath the mask. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that information is already readily available, with no one hiding who they are, other than the newest character – Spider-Man.

In Captain America: Civil War, Tony argues that they should be held in check, and be answerable to someone other than themselves. What he is suggesting is that they would be told when they can enter a situation, and when they can’t, limiting the freedom that they would need to save the people who needed them, but would make them accountable and be able to cross country lines ‘legally’.

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Steve argues that the option of choice is what makes this legislation wrong, as he even counters Stark’s argument that he chose to stop weapon manufacturing when he found out what they were being used for. The legislation would in fact take the ability to make that choice away from them. They might not want to go where they are sent, or they would want to help people, but couldn’t. It’s a very difficult conversation to have because essentially, both sides of that argument has merit and isn’t wrong. They are both right, and that’s what makes the choice of who you support and individual one.

I would have been on Rogers’ side, but I know a lot of people who agree with Stark’s point of view, and the great thing about this movie, is that even if in hypothetical, it’s making people have these conversations.

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We get to know a bit more about how Bucky was controlled over the years, with the code book making ‘activating’ the brainwashing. It’s something that would have been made a bit more sense if we had seen someone even holding the book in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I feel that they gave a good reason for Rogers to go against his newfound friends on this, and side with the only person that he has left from WWII. I absolutely love the relationship that they have, and it’s truly touching to see the lengths at which Rogers will go to save his friend. Sebastian Stan once again does a really great job at showing the different sides of Bucky, and the chemistry that he was starting to have with Anthony Mackie competing against one another to prove who was the better ‘sidekick’ was extremely entertaining.

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This movie can be very emotional, and not in the sense of romance of movies, or tearjerkers, but in the sense that ‘mommy and daddy’ are fighting, and you don’t want them to fight, you want them to talk it out and be together again. The scenes where it’s just Downey Jr. and Evans talking it out, trying to come to compromise, and then they just fall apart again and again is rough, because you want all these characters to stay together, and that’s Stark’s ultimate goal, but he’s unable to realize that he, and partly Rogers, is the one tearing the group apart. The scene where you find out that The Winter Soldier is the one that killed Stark’s parents, is a very emotional scene, that was beautifully played by Downey, and his reaction to just attack was slightly heartbreaking.

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The introduction of Peter Parker arriving into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was all that it was hyped up to be, and more. I’ve already mentioned my thoughts on Tom Holland’s interpretation, as well as his part in the movie in my Spider-Man: Homecoming review, but I’ll talk about it a bit here. Peter Parker has been Spider – Man for about 6 months in the universe focusing more on the small crime of Queens. Tony Stark somehow finds out that the Spider – ‘Man’ from the internet is Peter Parker, and decides to pay him a visit to get some help against Steve Rogers.

The interaction between Tony and Peter was magnificent to watch, and showed fans of the character that they were going young for the character, and would explore Peter’s story in High School rather than rush him into adulthood. Peter is intelligent, having made the webshooters and webbing himself, and gets a new suit from Tony. He is also naive, young, anxious but extremely enthusiastic, all very important characteristics of the character of Peter Parker. The character of Spider – Man was also enthusiastic, quirky, and delivered the witty lines and comebacks with ease that makes people forget Maguire and Garfield’s Spider – Man very quickly. Something that I found interesting, is that if Parker would have known Captain America’s side to the fight he would have agreed with him and not with Iron Man.

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The introduction of King T’Challa, due to the fact that his father King T’Chaka tragically died in an explosion during the movie. His purpose in this movie was too look badass, and to be a threat to the Winter Soldier. I enjoyed the look into what type of character that we will get in his solo film in February 2018, and I think it will awesome based off of the trailers. I truly enjoyed that they included a musical theme for the character as well, that really seemed to fit the style and tone of the character that they brought to life. The final point with T’Challa is that they gave him an arc in the film that takes away the need to rehash that later on in the MCU, where he learns that vengeance is all consuming, and that it blinds people, he declares that he will stop letting vengeance control him, and I can’t wait to see they will do with him next.

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The sad, but timely death of Steve Rogers WWII love, Peggy Carter was something that really hit home in it’s emotional baggage that Steve was feeling. The fact that it was happening just as his newfound friends were infighting is something that might have made it just a little worse in its timing. I was really happy with the fact that they decided to have Natasha show up, just because she didn’t want him to be alone. I thought that was really touching, and was building upon the friendship that started during Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

I knew that Sharon Carter would eventually be a love interest for Steve Rogers, and while I was happy to see a hint of that, and their closeness in the film, the kiss was a little awkward at first, but the next shot of Bucky and Sam Wilson just nodding and smiling at the kiss was so hilarious and enjoyable that it made that scene perfect.

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The Vision and Wanda scenes were fun to watch, and to see the start of that relationship start to grow was interesting, especially because of the big disagreement that they had when Vision was told by Stark to keep her on the compound. The amount of power that Wanda is able to handle is astronomical, as some may have noticed, she was able to manipulate Vision and the Mind Stone (it turned from yellow to red), when she finally left with Hawkeye who came out of retirement. The use of that amount of power makes me wonder if ever we will see exactly how powerful she is, or she would be able to stand up to Thanos in any way in the Infinity War movie next summer.

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This movie was jokingly called Avengers 2.5 and for right reasons by a lot of people. Captain America: Civil War is still very much as Cap centric film, as it focuses more on his storyline than the others. This movie had brought in all of the MCU superheros that we have been introduced to so far (other than Hulk and Thor who are busy in Ragnarok), and even introduced 2 new ones. This film contains Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Black Widow, War Machine, Falcon, Winter Soldier, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man, and brings in Black Panther and Spider-Man.

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The music in Captain America: Civil War was done by Henry Jackman was probably one of the best scores for any movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When I say score, I mean the instrumental music that is playing during scenes, not the soundtrack that includes songs as Guardians of the Galaxy is famous for. The score for this movie was a very strong score, and the themes that they incorporated into this movie was amazing, and I get chills everything the music rises during the airport scene, and it really enhances the tension and drama in that scene.

The cinematography was done by Trent Opaloch, and I enjoyed the framing of the scenes in this movie, and it was particularly difficult when he had so many characters to include, and I feel like it was a good job and worth mentioning briefly here.

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The airport scene was one of the biggest set pieces that the MCU has had, and involved all of the superheros in the movie. We got to see a lot of amazing moments including but not limited to; Spider-Man stealing Cap’s Shield, Ant-Man and Hawkeye team-up, Giant Man (that was unfortunately spoiled by a Lego set), Spider-Man fighting Falcon and Winter Soldier, and a run up between all of the character leading to a lot of other one on one fights.

The biggest drawback of the airport scene, was other than at the very end, there was no real risk involved within the fights. There was no sense of danger, because everyone knew that they would all be okay, even going as far as Natasha asking Clint if they were still friends.

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The unfortunate accident that happened to War Machine (Rhodey) when Vision became distracted by Scarlet Witch, and Falcon was able to dodge the energy beam was something that was spoiled in the trailer, and it was a scene where I thought they would actually kill him off, and show some commitment in showing that it is a War between them all, and would have given Tony the pain and anger that he would have needed to go after Bucky that the character of Zemo wouldn’t have needed to be involved for that. I’m still happy that he’s alive and will still be around for Stark, and his companionship, but I would have preferred if there was actual stakes in the fights. Plus, we got to have that Tony Stank scene, which was great to have.

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The final fight between Captain America, Iron Man and Winter Soldier is a beautiful and amazing fight to watch, however it’s the emotion behind the fight that makes it so great. Bucky is fighting for his life and wants to be better than what he was forced to be, Rogers wants to protect his best and oldest friend and Stark just wants to kill the man who killed his parents, especially his mother. You can see in the fight that Cap and Iron Man are holding back when they are fighting each other, but Stark and Bucky have no qualms about going all out against each other in a battle for survival.

The sequence that we see of Iron Man’s laser shooting directly at Captain America’s shield in slow motion is straight from the cover of one of the Civil War comic strips, and it was amazing to see that brought to the big screen. I feel like they portrayed each character with justice, and as a huge comic book fan, I was happy with what I got out of that scene. Plus, watching Bucky and Rogers toss around the Shield while alternating punches with Stark was really awesome to watch.

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The mid credit sequence of the film shows Steve Rogers and Bucky in Wakanda, who with the help of the Black Panther, puts Bucky into a carbon freezing tube until they can find a way to get rid of the brainwashing in his head. It gives the audience a brief glimpse into the look and feel of Wakanda, that we will get more in February 2018.

Captain America: Civil War

Mid Credit Sequence Bucky and Rogers in Wakanda – Source: Marvel Studios

The post credit scene shows Peter Parker sporting a black eye from when he got hit by Ant-Man at the end of the airport fight, and tells his aunt May that it was a guy named Steve from Brooklyn. We also see that he now has some sort of Spider-Man signal attached to his web shooters, and we find out that he would indeed be returning, as we would see him in his own movie ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’.

Captain America: Civil War

Post Credit Scene – Peter Parker after the airport scene – Source: Marvel Studios

Overall, I feel like this movie was a very solid film that is one of the better films that we have seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It handled all of the characters extremely well, while also introducing two new characters in a film bloated with characters in a way that made sense, and fit the story. The downside to this movie was the villain, and the extremely precise pieces of his plan perfectly falling into place (other than the suicide at the end). It’s a movie that I think would have been better serviced without the use of Zemo as the villain, and if it would have just been that the doctor that was supposed to see him would have been involved in the brainwashing again.

Captain America: Civil War

Winter Soldier and Captain America vs Iron Man – Source: Marvel Studios

The twist in the film is that Zemo didn’t want more Winter Soldiers running around, and while I feel like it makes sense for the character, the extreme focus on it, and the formula that the Winter Soldier stole from Stark made the plan a little convoluted and wasn’t necessary for this film. The movie hit almost every other mark that it set out to so well, that I have to give it the score that I do, and that would be 9/10.

What did you think of the film? Are you excited for Thor Ragnarok? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading,

Alex Martens

Categories: Reviews

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