The Russo Brothers presented us with an objective with Captain America: The Winter Solider. With Civil War, they have made it clear; Marvel is to be taken seriously. Long has the bubble gum banter of Joss Whedon been popped. We are now presented with a conundrum “borrowed” from Marvel’s darker rival, DC: How much power is too much power? Captain America: Civil War is an action-adventure film that slowly burns with thrill.
Civil War takes off with a series of events where there is significant collateral damage. General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt) is now the Secretary of State and looks to reduce the power of The Avengers. With the agreement of over a hundred nations, they look to be sanctioned and controlled. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) says yeah, I have PTSD, I’m battered and so is the rest of the world, so why not let the governing bodies have some control? Across the table is Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), who disagrees, believing the job must be done no matter what. There will be loss of lives, but in the end what we do ultimately saves more. The clash of ideals builds tension to the point where they are divided into two factions. Within this plot there is a subplot focused on a man with a mysterious past (Daniel Bruhl) who looks to destroy The Avengers. His involvement and motives are purposely kept vague until we reach the films climax.
Marvel achieves new boundaries with Civil War, knowing that it can, and will, attract an audience. With that confidence, The Russo Brothers can bring in new elements and expand on the ones used in Winter Solider. Themes of loyalty and vigilance are webbed between Stark and Rogers. The Russo Brothers pull you at every angle, making it impossible for you to stand firm between one the two. Uncle Ben has been quoted over a million times, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The Avengers have too much power and nobody can control their responsibility except themselves. Is that safe in the world we live in?
With Joss Whedon, you felt looseness between the actors. They developed comfort and naturalism after years of working with each other. The screenplay written by the team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely absorbs the naturalism and injects it with post 9/11 gravity.
This is the best-acted Marvel movie to date. Robert Downey Jr. reminds us why he’s a multiple Academy Award nominee with his depth, humanity and humor. Chadwick Boseman nearly steals the show with his throwback and stoic presence as Black Panther. Chris Evans cracks a new layer as Captain America. A man who has seen everything that has been important to him be broken and destroyed, refuses to let Bucky see the same fate because he represents the only things that have survived all these years, Cap’s own loyalty and integrity. Evans’ physique can be matched with his expressive eyes that radiate love for his friend and despair for a battle he is most likely to lose.
In such a huge ensemble piece with so many great characters and actors, everyone has their moments to shine. Such as the wise-cracking Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, who makes every single line count. We are also treated to our first look at Tom Holland as Spider-Man, who is sure to please fans across the board. Holland is a natural in the role, giving Spider-Man a youthful spark full of the wise-cracking that the character is known for. The Russo’s integrate him into the world nicely, making us excited for his eventual standalone feature next year with Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Many may argue that the pacing of the movie was too slow to be Marvel. It was steps slower than Whedon’s but this is exactly what we need, to take a step back and to realize that we are entering the third phase of the MCU. It won’t always be fun and games and The Russo Brothers have reminded us that soon enough we as viewers will be entering an Infinity War. It’s only going to get worse.