Captain America: Civil War Review

Captain America: Civil War PosterI saw Captain America: Civil War a week or so ago. Very rarely do I see movies on opening weekend anymore, but I’m a self-admitted Captain America uber fan, so I could hardly help myself. Plus, after the hot mess of Batman V. Superman, I was 100% ready for a huge summer blockbuster, something action packed and exciting. Even though this was a Captain America film, the movie introduced audiences to new and new-to-this-movie-cycle characters. Overall, Captain America: Civil War  isthe perfect summer film; a good helping of action; a dash of romance; and a whole lot of friendship.

It is incredibly difficult to not compare this film to Batman v. Superman simply because it was the last major film I saw and it just so happened to be a major, ensemble superhero film as well. And while BvS was not based directly on a superhero comics, CA:CW follows closely the source material written by Mark Millar and drawn by Steve McNiven in 2006. In the comic book, Captain America and Iron Man take different sides of the Superhuman Registration Act, an act of Congress to track super humans and negate unnecessary human casualties from unauthorized engagement. The sentiment is similar in the film; however, Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier and wanted man, plays a significant role in raising the tension between Captain America and Iron Man and their ideas on the Sirkova Accords, analogous to the Superhuman Registration Act.

Captain America: The First Avenger Poster
CC BY 2.0 via TheNerdPatrol on Flickr

One of the most powerful quotes from Captain America is, “For a true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart”. Steve Rogers is a man who is faithful to his friends to a fault, but he also believes that two people can take different paths on the same issue and both be right. At times, it truly felt that Captain America acknowledged that both Tony and he were right because of their conviction. But can a world survive when the only group of people who have saved them from mad scientists and other worldly threats is slowly being torn apart and their confidence in themselves is running out?   

While the movie focuses on Captain America and the hunt for the Winter Soldier, two very important new characters were introduced in this iteration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Black Panther and Spider-Man. Both of their introductions and battle scenes truly exemplify their unique characteristics as superheroes: Black Panther’s superior agility and lack of weapons and Spider-Man’s easygoing, high flying attitude. It was great to finally see them on the big screen …again, in Spider-Man’s case. 

Superhero films tend to be very formulaic; building tension, a unified villain, action sequences, a defeated villain, and a happy hero. We see these tropes in mythology and science fictional all the time. But what makes CA:CW unique is the unified villain takes a back seat, we end up seeing our heroes fighting each other instead of the “bad guy” though the bad guy is present. It provide a pretty profound lesson about friendship, ideology, and the complexities of our daily decisions.

Overall, I loved CA:CW. It truly felt like there was a solid friendship story focusing on Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes originally, but someone said, hey, let’s throw in all these other characters to prepare for the rest our films and the core story became muddled. Could this have been an Avengers movie, absolutely, would it have been the same without the strong friendship storyline, not a chance. The character’s motivations were clear for the most part, and from other films and interactions, characters acted the way audiences would expect them to. This is a great film for comic book fans, however, it is necessary to see at least Captain America: Winter Soldier before this one, so make sure you have all three Captain America films in your collection.