I, along with half the population of the world, have been waiting very patiently for CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR to hit the big screen. The trailer alone had me convinced it would be the best film of the year, and, having now seen it, I can indeed confirm that the trailer wasn’t lying. CIVIL WAR is like Avengers 2.5; it’s unrelenting, action-packed and features more superheroes than a six-year-old’s birthday party. It’s also extremely well written, expertly choreographed and exactly what I wanted from Marvel’s latest cinematic outing — I’m a very, very happy Captain America fan!
CIVIL WAR deals with the aftermath and ensuing ramifications of both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. After the Age of Ultron battle at Sokovia, the world no longer believes in superheroes and their desire to do good, and instead they’re now being seen as entitled, arrogant figures with more power than anyone should have access to. The United Nations intervenes and details their plan to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish a committee to direct and monitor the Avengers. The team is divided: half want to sign the Accords, and half don’t. Having the Earth’s mightiest heroes on opposing sides obviously doesn’t end well, and thus begins a battle of both strength and will.
CIVIL WAR shares a handful of similarities with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but, ultimately, it triumphs as the better film. Numerous parallels are immediately apparent — both films have a more political nature to the script, our two biggest heroes are pitted against each other, and the overall tone is sightly darker. Where Dawn of Justice failed and CIVIL WAR really succeeds is in its use of humour, bright colours, daylight, and a less violent meeting between Iron Man and Captain America. It’s much more coherent and family friendly, and I hope viewers won’t be put off by the inevitable comparisons to the year’s other biggest superhero film.
There’s a lot going on in CIVIL WAR, but the two-and-a-half-hour runtime flies by, thanks in part to the script’s relentless barrage of cool action scenes and meaningful character development. Each superhero gets a decent amount of screen time, especially when it comes to the big fight at a Berlin airport, and no-one feels like they’ve been unfairly pushed to the wayside. Captain America, Ant-Man, and Scarlet Witch are the stand-out acts for me, as expected, but I also loved the new incarnation of Spider-Man. Admittedly, I’ve never been a huge fan of the webbed wonder, but I thoroughly enjoyed Tom Holland’s approach. It’s nice to see Spider-Man played by an actual kid for a change, and I appreciated the humour and sarcasm that he brought to an otherwise serious turn of events. His timely introduction is something I know a lot of Marvel fans have been eagerly anticipating, so hopefully his arrival will live up to expectations!
The aforementioned fight in Berlin is one of the best scenes to ever grace a Marvel film, and I’d say it ranks second after the battle for New York in 2012’s The Avengers. All the key players are present, along with one or two welcome surprises, and it’s a visual treat for anyone with even a modicum of enthusiasm for superheroes showing off their wide array of powers and tricks. It’s a scene I can’t wait to see again — it definitely needs a couple of views for everything to be absorbed — and it’s the pièce de résistance in Captain America’s big screen adventures so far.
The part of CIVIL WAR that will get everyone talking is the face-off between Captain America and Iron Man, two super-strong heroes who just so happen to be the most popular at Shield HQ (and not forgetting Thor, too — we all like the God of Thunder!). Their clash is one that forms early in the film — only verbally to begin with — and it’s fascinating to see how it progresses to a physical altercation that really is a battle of the best. It’s a risky move to have such beloved characters at each other’s throats, and, unlike Batman and Superman, it pays off in a big way. Marvel know exactly what they’re doing and what works and what doesn’t, and that’s one of the reasons they’re miles ahead of DC when it comes to their feature films.
CIVIL WAR is everything I hoped it would be and more. Loose ends are tied up, shocking revelations are brought to light, it features all my favourite superheroes, and, most importantly, it’s just a fun slice of geeky heaven. The Avengers is still my Marvel film of choice — it’s also in my all-time top ten — but CIVIL WAR has now overtaken The Winter Soldier and is currently residing on the podium for second place. Of course, there are several other exciting films set for cinema release this year (X-Men, anyone?), but I doubt any will be even half as good as CIVIL WAR — it’s a hard act to follow, and that’s what I’ve come to expect from Marvel’s team of Avengers. Only the best will do, and the best is what they deliver!
– JENNY DAVIES