Tuesday 3 May 2016

Captain America: Civil War - Review

It's difficult not to be biased when you're talking about your favourite Marvel character, but this can often swing both ways. Fortunately, Marvel has done a true service to Captain America - from its two-fisted pulp adventure in The First Avenger to its techno-thriller sequel The Winter Soldier. Both are great flicks in their own right and they've been handled with aplomb, so I went into Civil War with high hopes, especially knowing that the Russos were at the helm. Fortunately it exceeded my expectations.

Civil War has been referred to as Avengers 2.5, on the count that it's riddled with a host of heroes (minus Thor and Banner, which is mentioned), but make no mistake - this is still a Cap story. This is the part I was most worried about - giving Cap enough screen time without being drowned out by this enormous cast. I needn't have worried as there are essentially two plots running simultaneously: Cap and Bucky's adventure and the whole civil war side of things involving the rest of the crew reluctantly boffing each other, culminating in an astounding and varied fight scene in an air hangar.

I don't want to spoil anything, but it's common knowledge by now that this entry sees the addition of Black Panther, who takes on the mantle of vengeance dealer - with his sights firmly set on Cap. Chadwick Boseman is a fantastic T'Challa, bringing a sense of gravity to the story and it's difficult not to root for him just a bit in what it one of the finest chase scenes put to screen. The other new face to the Marvel Studios movies is Tom Holland as Spider-Man. How on Earth do you slot such a popular character into an already established cast? Well, the Russos do it, and they do it so very well. Spidey is an absolute highlight - Holland plays the nerdy, smart-talking web-head better than any previous actors have played him. He delivers punchy lines right in the heat of battle just as the character should and it's genuinely funny. Laugh out loud funny. He could have easily been relegated to the sidelines, but Spider-Man actually plays a pretty key role in the film under Tony Stark's guiding hand.

Overall, Civil War is perhaps the finest and most mature entry in the Marvel series to date. Once seeing this you may look back at Whedon's first Avengers and call it child's play compared to this. We're at a point where superhero movies have peaked and we're starting to get introspective, much like the comics did in the 80s. While the first couple of Marvel's phases were about heroic hijinks and building a universe, we're at a point with Civil War where we're examining the role of the hero in this universe. While some commentators are saying that the supers bubble will burst in the next couple of years, it's hard to see whether this is actually true if more films are like Civil War.


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