*The following is a spoiler free review of the movie*
I have no intention of comparing comic companies in how they handle their intellectual property but Batman V Superman left a void. As fans of the heroes and their comics, we like the characters we are familiar with, and whereby I defend the right of a creator to a new perspective, it sure feels good to absorb the love that went into casting, designing and scripting Captain America Civil War. To see the regal poise of T’Challa and the sweet innocence of Parker is pure unadulterated joy. For those unfamiliar of the new additions to the Marvel Universe, this movie takes great strides in earning your adoration for them. To see them in costume and in action conjures memories of comics and animated series gone by, and that level of devotion is borne from pure love. For that I am thankful to all those involved in the making of this movie.
That is not to say that aspect of this movie weren’t purely indulgent, the central superhero fight scene is supremely extravagant in serving a very simple premise: divergent opinions take even the best men to war. Even though it was like the Superbowl halftime show, it was the most fun a comic fan could ever have in a superhero movie. With quick quips, amazing choreography, fantasy confrontations and the biggest reveal possible, it made for delightful viewing. In fact the majority of the movie saw action scene after action scene in one scenario to another. This may be a bad thing but the sheer innovation involved led to some breathtaking stunts and iconic imagery. It is all too forgiveable, even the shaky cam close ups provided intensity rather than dizziness. The CGI was everpresent but smooth enough to appreciate the feline movements of Panther as opposed to appearing a little unrealistic. Overall the complexities of a story involving confrontation between heroes led the creators to new heights of imagination, with a freer range that would be allowed if it was just pounding big bad monsters which has become all too common lately.
The film is rapidly paced and takes a moment to breathe only for the characters to realise why they are actually fighting. Quite often this is to either allow T’Challa to recount his Wakandian heritage or for Vision to calculate out what it is to be human. But at its heart it is a story about Iron Man and Captain America and their scenes together contain great dialogue and full of unwritten angst and disappointment. Great plaudits should be given to Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans for providing wholehearted convictions in their own beliefs, making the audience actually question whose side they would actually be on. The actual division is focused upon governmental control of the Avengers and jurisdiction of their actions, especially outside of the United States. What is boils down to is who knows best and who decides what the Avengers should do. My only criticism of this basic premise is that it becomes less of a focus as the movie progresses, and is almost sacrificed in order to maintain the actual central tenet of the movie: Iron Man V Captain America. Even then there is enough of a narrative and thought provoking ideas that you are able to empathise with the plight of both central characters. For the first time in a Marvel movie, you are unsure of who the bad guy really is, and that is what makes it so compelling.
Some folks have called this movie Avengers 2.5, which is not unreasonable but it is not entirely accurate. Though we are introduced to Black Panther and see some characters of old, their roles are very much an accompaniment to the big two icons. Some of the finest moments of the film will take comic readers back to the heady days of Brubaker’s Captain America, where we saw Steve spending time with his best friends, Sharon, Sam and Bucky. Civil War is crammed full of story and characterisation and certainly overdoses on additional superhero content, but when it is done with such charm and dedication I am sure no one minds. Captain America Civil War is a complex movie and succeeds in delivering definitive motivations for each one of its characters, and even at its most wholesomely self indulgent, it is humorous, innovatively violent and looks fantastic.