Captain America: Civil War Review (No Spoilers)

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
April 13th, 2016

Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Price:
Outstanding

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On April 13, 2016
Last modified:April 14, 2016

Summary:

The Russo Brothers deliver the best Marvel film since Spider-Man 2, with some emotional punches and brilliant action scenes!

Price:
Outstanding

Reviewed by:
Rating:

5
On April 13, 2016
Last modified:April 14, 2016

Summary:

The Russo Brothers deliver the best Marvel film since Spider-Man 2, with some emotional punches and brilliant action scenes!

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Captain America: Civil War arrives in theatres May 6th. Our Lead Film Critic Jordan Samuel was among the privileged few to have seen it and brings us the official ComiConverse spoiler-free review.

"Sorry, Tony. You know I wouldn't do this if I had any another choice. But he's my friend...."

Who'd have thought Steve Rogers would say such a thing, way back when the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) began? Nobody.

That's what makes Captain America: Civil War so exciting.

Everyone who follows me knows that I am the biggest Marvel fan. I've read all the major comic book arcs and followed every single big screen adaptation. And when the MCU started, back with Iron Man (2008), I was there in the cinema with my matching shirt. It ushered in a whole new genre of film making, which has set a new high standard in creating shared cinematic universes. Some were worried it wouldn't work, but time and time again Marvel Studios has proved otherwise.

Since then, we've had The Avengers (2012) and its sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), which have enticed a new generation of comic book fans from across the world. We all loved those films, but none of them came close to Captain America: The Winter Solider (2014). Captain America's second act was the perfect blend of action-thriller and political drama - with superheroes. It was topical, it was exciting and, in the end, it was the Marvel film that may finally proven that this genre can find relevance with an extremely broad audience.

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So, when the final act of the trilogy, Captain America: Civil War, was announced, Marvel fans went crazy. This was one of the most popular comic book arcs of all-time, and now its adaptation is hitting the big screen.

Based loosely on the comic book of the same name, the film highlights two conflicting views on security in a dangerous world, each championed by one of the Avengers' founding members; Captain America and Iron Man. From Black Panther to Spider-Man, from The Scarlet Witch to The Vision, most of the existing members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe end up choosing a side.

Directors Antony and Joe Russo had a massive task in juggling all of these characters in one film, because the fallout from Civil War will set the footprint for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War Part I (2018) and Part II (2019).

Has Captain America: Civil War found the same intoxicating balance that The Winter Soldier enjoyed?

Find out as ComiConverse presents its official spoiler free review.

Captain America: Civil War

Credit: Captain America: Civil War

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 (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side - IMBD

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Sebastian Stan and Scarlet Johansson (Just to name a few)

As mentioned, the Russos helm this much anticipated project, and they deliver a film that changes the very fabric of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's a superhero film that truly hits home, with some very dark subject matter; including the dangers of war, the debate over security and the definition of patriotism. Fans have been waiting for a decade to see this story told on the big screen, and I can confirm that Captain America: Civil War is a faithful adaptation (adaptation is the key word) of the source material. It also strikes topical and emotional notes for the audience, which was a major element of the critically acclaimed Captain America: Winter Solider.

Fans have been complaining about the amount of characters crammed into Marvel sequels, but there is no need to stress on that issue here, because this is a well balanced conclusion to the Captain America series. The Avengers are divided, fists are flying and long standing divides between characters are finally playing out before our eyes.

For those unfamiliar with the comic arc, the general premise of Captain America: Civil War sees the earth's mightiest heroes held to account for their involvement in global disasters. Antony and Joe Russo have done their research, because this has redefined what it means to make a Marvel movie. Excitement, fear, joy and pain were among the emotions viewers described while watching this film; we even noticed a few tears, which can be chalked up to a brilliant directing job.

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We have all observed these characters grow on the big screen for almost a decade, so seeing them torn apart here really stuck a chord. It feels like a beautiful swansong to the original team, reminding us of moments we saw watching The Avengers for the first time on the SHIELD Helicarrier, with some elements from The Winter Solider thrown in. The Russos understand these characters so well, and their deep knowledge is put to grest use in Captain America: Civil War. Each of the characters have a part in developing Steve Rodgers in this one, because ultimately, he needs them more than ever.

Fans will be drawn back to Black Widow's speech to congress at the end of Winter Soldier, where she made the case that the Avengers were essential to the Earth's protection. Seeing how the various heroes react to real limits being placed upon them is intoxicating. It may also be a little puzzling for some to see how strongly Tony Stark embraces the new controls on superhero activity, as many fans will remember more of a cowboy-style character from earlier in the Iron Man movies. Tony's views about the costs of superhero work have been evolving over the course of the franchise. In Age of Ultron, we saw him focused on trying to make superheroes redundant and unnecessary, however, here we see him settling for stricter controls on their activities. There are some immense dialogue and action scenes throughout the film's opening that will remind you why you loved the Avengers. The opening scenes do a great job fleshing out why each side thinks the stakes are so high.

Captain America: Civil War

Credit: Captain America Civil War

Action is the king of the show in Captain America: Civil War, with the already famous airport fight scene being one of the best cinematic comic book fights of all time. Black Panther is the scene stealer in those fights, and will probably be in everyone's new favorite GIF the moment the film is released on home video. Prepare for some screams in the cinema, because Civil War provides great bang for your buck in terms of action sequences. I won't spoil any massive set pieces, but you can't help but be happy with the attention given to that department.

The plot is quite good, with most scenes very well thought-out, but it lacks the heat Winter Solider brought to the table. This film is more cerebral. Firstly, the pace of the action is toned back and doesn't contain the constant thrills we saw in previous MCU outings, even though the action sequences are done better when they do appear. It may bug hardcore comics fans that the adaptation is not the greatest of all time, but honestly, very few thought that would be the case. The choices here are understandable given the state of the MCU.

That Iron Man and Captain America have strong differences will be an element most will be familair with going in, but the Directors do well at giving some strong reasoning behind these views; making the audience constantly think about who is really in the wrong. Because of this, few neutral movie goers will be tempted to choose sides early on, which was needed to really make the whole conflict feel realistic, instead of simply playing up the physical altercations.

Captain America: Civil War

Credit: Captain America: Civil War

Captain America, played by the outstanding Chris Evans, steals the show in his final outing as the title character, as he provides his best performance to date. Those who know the comic book arc, know what a powerful series of events these are for Captain America and, regardless of other choices the film makes, those feelings transfer loud and clear. He is tired, but - as always - ready to fight for his values and his best friend Bucky. Chris makes these commitments come to life with his physicality and dialogue delivery.  After the revelation of the Winter Solider being Cap's best friend Bucky, it's nice for us to see him so close with one of the few surviving connections to his past.

It's also very sad to see him part ways with his partner Tony Stark. After going out of their way to set up the clash between these two characters, Marvel accomplished the simultaenous goal of making us love them as a team. The soldier and the knight, the anchors of the Avengers. It drives home that Cap is willing to lose everything, just to back his oldest friend, and that aspect is very nicely executed in Civil War.

The government are starting to have some impact (recall Cap's scenes with Nick Fury) on his opinions and his views about trust, freedom and how to handle the new restrictions being proposed. This play on his old school American values has never been explored to this degree until now, and the film does well with making it feel like an important part of the character's core, without feeling cheesy.

The Russo brothers' knack for dialogue comes into play here and is a perfect example on why these guys are helming the MCU going forward. I love how they make everything Captain America and his crew are fighting for feel hugely necessary. Chris Evans has defined this character. Period.

Captain America: Civil War

Credit: Captain America: Civil War

Iron Man suits up once again for Captain America: Civil War, played by Robert Downey Jr, and acts as the main antagonist to Steve Rogers.

I enjoyed this spin on the character who has always supported the team in his own way, and him going against Rogers is the realization of a long-building conflict. Downey Jr. excels at providing some thought provoking discussions between himself and Cap, in dialogue that will probably be quoted for some time.

There was some debate over how much time Tony would be given to make his case, but I can confirm that he is given enough time to get his views out, while never taking the main focus away from Steve. Tony Stark is a changed man since his past failures, you feel his change in opinion quite well due to amazing script writing. That is played out in some highly emotional sequences that make you quite sad for this man who just wants so desperately to keep the world safe.

I absolutely love the dark side of Stark's personality, which is shown in many scenes; especially during his fights between Captain America. You do believe that he will do anything to get his views across and come out on top. Tony Stark loves winning after all, which makes for some heated, even brutal, action. We aren't accustomed to seeing these levels of aggression in our Marvel heroes, which is quite interesting to see in a big budget MCU movie. Robert Downey Jr. has grown with his take on Iron Man and Civil War only brings it to the forefront. It's quite humbling to see him knock it out the park again and many people will be impressed with his performance here. He needed to be great and he was.

Captain America: Civil War

Credit: Captain America: Civil War

Scarlett Johansson also is player in the sequel as Black Widow, and (as she is want to do) provides some much needed sass. I love how connected and conflicted she is between the two teams, you can feel the disappointment in her character about the whole conflict.

This is the most compellingly written take on the character since The Avengers. It's like the Directors have learned from the controversy around her in the last movie. Black Widow actually is given lots to do here, like helping manage Iron Man's team. I hope we see more of this from the character in the next couple movies, because it allows Johansson to shine.

Captain America: Civil War

Credit: Captain America: Civil War

The talented Sebastian Stan is back again as The Winter Solider and delivers another solid take on Bucky Barnes . Fan favourite after the last movie, is again winning in the role he is mysterious and more human in this outing – which allows some much greater storytelling.

As we know, Bucky Barnes is on the run during this film, which is different from his role in the previous movie. I like this switch up as it makes him feel more like a hero than his villainous role in Winter Solider. Sabastian Stan portrays a compelling and controversial character on the big screen.

Anthony Mackie is back as Captain America's partner The Falcon, and is so damn fun. He's a character who is very much loyal to Steve Rogers. This bromance alone will probably explode many a fangirl's timeline. Mackie is so right in this role, his comedic timing and awesome line delivery make him much more than a sidekick. I would be down for a standalone adventure in the future, because he is simply The Falcon.

Now on to the newest addition in the MCU, two characters who will probably define the future Avengers movies.

Captain America: Civil War

Credit: Captain America: Civil War

Chadwick Boseman is the first live-action version of Black Panther, and boy does he kick ass. He plays the Wakandan superhero – who wears a Virbanium infused outfit (with claws) He literally is the best casting in my opinion since Robert Downey Jr. his brutal nature is simply his best trait. Throughout the movie doesn't play with the Avengers in some scenes nearly ripping them to shreds

Chadwick is perfectly fit for the role, with his accent really feeling unique between the American based main cast. And makes him stand out from the entire cast and that is a beautiful way to celebrate his African roots without being generic. I love how royal and different he is to the other team members; it gets me excited for his standalone movie because Wakanda sounds outstanding. The first main black superhero is something new for the genre and delivers a very meaty debut

Black Panther is a scene stealer during the fight sequences, and provides a very good first appearance; and will be a main highlight of no doubt his future movies

Captain America: Civil War

Credit: Captain America: Civil War

Now this character has been anticipated for months and is a worthy inclusion to the MCU. Spider-Man, who is played by newcomer Tom Holland, has been the topic of discussion across the internet for quite some time. Somehow, Marvel has again knocked it out of the park with casting, without being spoiler heavy I can confirm he is the best iteration we have seen on screen yet. Being much younger, I feel like Marvel has found out how to produce the perfect version of the character.

Goodness knows we've had enough practice.

Tom Holland is going places after this performance, because he will surely take over Iron Man's position as the poster boy for the MCU. In my screening, people were crying when he first appeared and on camera and actually clapped during the massive fight scene. I haven't seen that happen in a comic book movie for years, and it just drives home how worth it was to get the casting right. Being a massive Spider-Man fan, I'm over the moon that we have a perfect actor for the part. It gets me excited for his standalone movie next year!

Congratulations Tom Holland because you are killing it! Directors Antony and Joe Russo have created the Godfather Part 2 of the superhero genre, it just does what is needed and more with some complex writing. Its a great way to finish a spellbinding series.

I believe that Marvel fans and movie goers will cheer this addition to the franchise, and will love the latest cast member inclusions including Black Panther and Spider-Man. All of whom have been added seamlessly into the bubbling Universe, which is always the biggest challenge in the ever growing Avengers cast.

We are ending the Captain America trilogy on a great note. GO AND SEE THIS!

No matter what team are you on, Team Cap or Team Iron Man, it doesn't matter. The really winners are the fans.

Jordan Samuel is the Film Critic for ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @JordanESamuel

Captain America: Civil War

  • 5

Outstanding

The Russo Brothers deliver the best Marvel film since Spider-Man 2, with some emotional punches and brilliant action scenes!

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