“Ok. Anybody on our side hiding any shocking, or fantastic abilities they’d like to disclose, I’m open to suggestion.”
Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow and Hawkeye must pick a side.
I’ve decided, right off the bat, to begin this particular review with a hearty SPOILERS AHEAD. You’ve been warned. There, that aside…
I have to admit that I was a bit late to the game when it came to the movie adaptations of Marvel Comics’ Captain America. Since he was never my thing in the funnybook format, naturally I didn’t really bother seeing the first movie until it was out on DVD. Then, even though I enjoyed that one, I still waited for the sequel to hit the local Second Run theater house to watch that one on a big screen. With Captain America: Civil War, I went to see it opening weekend, the Saturday morning, with some of the Exalted Geeks with. Then we went to lunch and recorded a podcast of our thoughts on the movie, which you can totally listen to here. But, I’m also gonna stick my own personal thoughts on the movie here on my bligity-blog. Because movie review. It’s what I do. Anyway…
Right off the bat, I’ll have to admit that Captain America: Civil War felt more like Avengers 2.5 rather than an actual stand-alone Captain America movie. It pretty much has all the current Avengers in there, save for Thor and Hulk, along with Bucky / Winter Soldier, Ant-Man and the very first appearance of Spider-Man and the Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
We start with a bit of a flashback to 1991, where the Winter Soldier is reactivated for a mission that involves the theft of some liquid packets from the back of somebody’s trunk. Then, we arrive to the present day, where the current roster of the Avengers are in Lagos to stop Crossbones from stealing a deadly biological weapon, which doesn’t end well when Crossbones blows himself up and inadvertently causes the death of several dozen citizens, and injuring hundreds more. The public blame the actions on the Avengers, which leads to the world governments to enact a policy to oversee and control the Avengers due to this issue. Heading up this accord is the King of Wakanda, due to the blast killing the Wakandan humanitarian workers who were there. Due to an encounter with the mother of one of the victims who was in Sokovia when Ultron was battling the Avengers the year previous, Tony Stark is all for the Sokovia Accords, while Captain America is naturally dubious about the whole thing. Things escalate when the UN building in Vienna where the Accords is being ratified is bombed, killing (among others) King T’Chaka of Wakanda, by someone who is identified as the Winter Soldier. Captain America wants to bring in Bucky himself, peacefully, while S.H.I.E.L.D. has orders to shoot him on sight; T’Chaka’s son, T’Challa, however, has an agenda all his own to take down Bucky himself, as the Black Panther. Captain America manages to find Bucky and barely escape with him; Bucky maintaining his innocence. Turns out one Helmut Zemo is the real Vienna Bomber, and while Bucky, Falcon and Cap are ultimately captured, they manage to escape when Zemo sneaks in and brainwashes Bucky back to the Winter Soldier and causes him to go berzerk again. To take Zemo down, Cap and Falcon decide to not wait for authorization and go rogue, recruiting Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch and Ant-Man in the process. Meanwhile, Iron Man’s got his own posse, consisting of Black Widow, Vision, Black Panther, War Machine, and a newly-suited Spider-Man. They rumble at an airport, resulting in Cap and Bucky getting away, but the rest of Cap’s team getting captured and sent to a submersible prison. Iron Man discovers that Bucky was innocent all along, and catches up with Cap and Bucky as they discover the abandoned compound where the Winter Soldier project that created Bucky was at, catching up with Zemo. Zemo reveals that it was never his intention to create more Winter Soldiers, then shows the video of Brainwashed Bucky killing Tony Stark’s parents back in 1991, causing Iron Man to go mental and attack Bucky, which leads to Cap to jump in, leading to another massive throwdown in the bunker. The fight ends in a draw, Zemo is captured, and the movie ends with the team still divided and bitter.
Obviously, I left out a good amount of details that you’re just going to have to watch to find out for yourself. Can’t spoil the entire thing, now can I? Regardless, it still took a lot of words to even get that Reader’s Digest Condensed Version, which should tell you what kind of epic scope this movie was. Still, with all of these characters crammed into the movie, Captain America: Civil War still gelled completely, working in a way that a certain other superhero team-up movie that was released earlier this year couldn’t seem to be able to do with just three. When you get past the action (which was done very well) and the various comic book superhero drops (and there were many), the story was still engaging and streamlined, with character development on each one that invests you with the outcomes. Also, the story didn’t take the easy route with the resolution. It was a very dark ending, kind of the Empire Strikes Back of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the two new introductions to the superhero stable of the movies–namely, Spider-Man and Black Panther–they did a good thing by touching on the origins without spoon-feeding us and insulting our collective intelligence. And dare I say it…I am all on board with this new Spider-Man. Bring on the stand-alone movie. Sony, you did good by letting Marvel play with its property again. Fox could learn a thing or two by that.
Overall, Captain America: Civil War is a very good, very entertaining superhero action movie that you should try and see on the big screen while you can. It’s heads and shoulders waaaaaaaay better than DC’s attempt this year. If that one is still leaving a bitter taste in your head, watch Captain America: Civil War as a nice palate cleanser.