It’s almost become the obligatory thing to do when reviewing an MCU feature to say, “this is the culmination of X years and Y number of films”, but never has this adage rung truer. The Russo Brothers again prove why they are the worthy successors of Joss Whedon’s Avengers consultants/ directors as Captain America’s trilogy is brought to a close.
While the stakes won’t lead to global destruction or the enslavement of the human race, Civil War takes a far more personal journey for its characters, dealing with the cause and effect of their actions. A team of gods having to take stock of the escalated dilemmas around them, “With great power comes great responsibility” etc. It’s with these lofty themes that Captain America: Civil War manages to tie together multitudinous threads from the twelve previous MCU movies, as characters are brought against each other in a rumble that to date is clearly the greatest action set piece in any comic book film.
In spite of the heavy subject matter and seriousness behind the real world implications of superheroes in a contemporary setting there is a powerful surge of humour that makes CA:CW stand out from its peers. Paul Rudd and Anthony Mackie manage the lion’s share of chuckles while newcomer (the spectacular) Tom Holland delivers not only the best iteration of Spider-Man we’ve seen so far, but also some of the best zingers too. I had my concerns about shoehorning Peter Parker into this already gargantuan motion picture but his inclusion is handled deftly, while Holland radiates a sincerity and verisimilitude we’ve not encountered over either Maguire or Garfield’s run.
Personally, I’d have liked a little more time with Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa and Daniel Brühl’s Zemo, but I feel their oddly harmonious narrative will stand out as an enduring anchor to the rest of the plotting on future re-watches. The former is resolutely regal and kick-ass, while the latter is less of an overblown and undercooked villain and more of a malignancy that we may get to see develop should future instalments dictate it.
The establishing action sequence and tragedy that leads to the registration act at the centre of this film is well choreographed and brutal at times. Watching Avengers tackle flesh and blood, human-types is far cry from battling aliens and robots. In contrast, the final confrontation is considerably more personal and has all the weight that the summit of this trilogy has led to. With The Russo Brothers and Cap Trilogy writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely behind the next two Avengers sequels we couldn’t be in safer hands.
If superhero movies aren’t your bag there is very little here that will sway your opinion.
If you prefer your comic book movies dark, brooding and melancholic, this may not be the battle royale for you.
If you’ve bought the ticket and taken the ride for 12 films then you may just consider Captain America: Civil War among the best this franchise and indeed, the genre has to offer yet.
Captain America: Civil War is out now in the UK.
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