Every family has its problems. It’s only natural that the nuclear cinematic family known as the Avengers would have a scuffle or two. Now, after a dozen movies, the two leaders of the group have decided to go head-to-head in a battle to
the death … injury … a possible arrest.
Civil War is the direct sequel, story-wise, to Age of Ultron and Winter Soldier. The Avengers have been touring the globe in attempts to stop super-terrorism. Yet, wherever they go, collateral damage follows. A UN force, headed by General Ross (William Hurt), is intent on registering each hero into working under the UN’s direct order and not independently.
It’s only after a immediate crisis of conscience that Tony Stark/Iron Man feels compelled to fight under such regulations. Slowly, he brings a handful of Avengers to his side. Yet, his arguments are constantly rejected by liberty-loving Steve Rogers/Captain America, who accrues an equal number of freedom fighters to his side.
This all brings us to the domestic dispute known as Captain America: Civil War.
In truth, I’m mixed-to-negative on the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel/Disney may know how to present an entertaining experience, but I feel that most of it gets watered down by formulaic characterization and nonstop quips that hide pacing flaws (and apparently scrutiny).
However, I can admit when Marvel hits it out of the park, or at least bounces it into the stands. The movies that have done so are the first Iron Man, The Avengers and Winter Soldier. While none of these movies enter “A” territory, they are clearly tier one for Marvel.
Civil War now joins their company. The Russo Brothers (Community, Winter Soldier) have managed to outdo Joss Whedon by balancing the standard joke-smothering dialogue, with action and a smidgeon of drama.
Let’s start with the good. The inclusion of Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther works. In a movie full of characters, he gets a proper introduction and manages to sink his claws into the role (I apologize profusely). I look forward to his stand-alone movie far more than I would another Thor yawn fest. Adding
Spider-Teen Spider-Man, may only be to cash in on the appearance/hype, while boosting Sony’s reboot-machine next year, but he’s sure to win audiences over. Just imagine a younger version of Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man, only this time with a really hot Aunt May, and that is what Tom Holland brings to the role.
The airport fight, which happens at the end of the second act, is sure to be candy for the intended audience. Every hero gets a chance to shine. Also, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) gets his chance to steal the movie away from the bromance triangle of Tony-Steve-Bucky. The action is fleeting, but will entertain you as you watch it.
The negatives are lesser points, but it doesn’t take much to spot them. Outside of Loki, Marvel has a terrible track record of villains. Civil War doesn’t fix that issue. In fact, Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) is possibly the worst villain yet. Wait, nevermind. Now I’m thinking of Mandarin, Hammer, Yellowjacket, Whiplash, Red Skull, Malekith, Blue dude from Guardians. Okay, after some consideration, Zemo may be one of the best. However, his plan is the worst. It only works from a screenwriter’s point of view in order to fill story gaps. Civil War is a movie that didn’t need a villain, and sadly they felt the need to add one. Had the movie ended with a more dramatic airport fight, it would have been Marvel’s best movie. However, a clunky third act bogs it down.
Also, in tradition with every Marvel movie, there is nothing at stake. It’s fun to see heroes punch each other, but it’s never clear to what end. This movie had several opportunities to be tragic, but would never dare because there’s too much money to be made from further movies and character franchises.
Just like every family fight, there may be a little angst and butt-hurt over who won/lost, but the status quo is maintained. Though, watching this scuffle makes for a fun experience. B