I will be giving a detailed spoiler-ridden discussion in this piece. You’ve been warned!
For my spoiler-free review of this film, click here.
This won’t be an analysis of the film from start to finish, but rather things I want to bring up in terms of what impacted me the most.
Wow, what an awesome movie. I have never been so entertained by a film and the range of emotions that it brought was astounding. I laughed out loud at the jokes; I clenched my girlfriend’s hand so hard during the final fight when Iron Man tries to 1 v 2 Cap and Bucky, and especially when Bucky seemed like he had the upper hand and punched Iron Man’s chest and was about to rip out his core, only to have his arm eviscerated.
The reason this scene was so powerful (iconic, even), as with all great action scenes, was because of the stakes. Action sequences mean nothing if there are no stakes involved (hello, Transformers). Upon the shocking revelation that the then-mind-controlled-Winter Soldier was the one responsible for killing Tony Stark’s parents, there was a legitimate reason for him to seek revenge, and wage ‘war’ on Cap and Bucky. At the same time, Cap, despite having prior knowledge of this and deciding not to tell Tony, now has to stand by his decision, and to stand by his friend and fight Tony.
This brings us to the one shortcoming of the movie, which has been the Achilles’s heel of most MCU films: The villain of “Civil War”, Zemo, barely has any screen time, and his motivations for revenge against the Avengers makes him hardly a villain at all. He has no desire to wipe out the human race, nor the Avengers; he has no ambition to rule the galaxy. His entire family was killed as a result of the events of “Age of Ultron”. It is perfectly understandable for someone like him to want to cause the Avengers to fight each other.
While the scene mentioned above was great, the one being touted as one of the best comic book (or just overall) action scenes of all time was the epic team fight at the airport. I’ll let everyone else talk about how awesome that scene was. In fact, I liked the action scene prior to that one, the one where Black Panther first appeared, just as much. It was exhilarating to see Bucky fling around a motorcycle that was going at top speed and ride it.
Ant-Man’s introduction into this movie was a bit sudden, as he just shows up in a van at the airport, minutes before the big confrontation. And, as expected, as soon as Paul Rudd appears, he immediately steals the scene with his charm and wit. I wished there was a little bit more of him. The additional run time of having more of Ant-Man would be offset by shortening the bits with Vision and Scarlet Witch. While that storyline was fine in developing chiefly the Avengers story line, it dragged on just a tiny bit.
Despite all my praises, “Civil War” isn’t perfect. Bits of establishing shots and set up scenes could have been trimmed down to shorten the film’s 2 hour 27 minute run time.
The introductions to the new characters, however, were perfect. Both Black Panther and Spiderman were set up so that they were appropriately motivated to join the conflict. In particular, Tony’s recruitment of Spiderman… that 5-minute conversation between Peter and Tony was a superior build up to the new Spiderman than the entire retelling of the origin story in the previous rendition played by Andrew Garfield. We don’t need to see Peter Parker be bitten by a radioactive spider and discover his powers again; the scriptwriters knew this and found a perfect way to address it.
I will be writing a piece ranking all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Suffice to say “Captain America: Civil War” will definitely be in the top 3.