Captain America: Civil War Lives Up to the Hype


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Captain America: Civil War was released May 5 amid very high expectations.

By Ariel Levchenko, Senior Writer

The highly anticipated, latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Captain America: Civil War came to American audiences on Thurs., May 5th.

Starring such prolific and familiar actors like Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Chris Evans as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, also known as the Winter Soldier; the movie also introduces new, popular comic book superheroes such as Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman and Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland.

Civil War is the thirteenth film in the gargantuan MCU series, and signals the beginning of Phase 3 of the movies – dealing with the aftermath of Age of Ultron and culminating with the battle of Thanos and the Infinity Stones. This film has to both satisfy existing storylines and set up  new ones for the nine upcoming Marvel movies. These upcoming movies are set to be released between now and this time in 2019, so Captain America: Civil War has a lot riding on it.

These were three main areas of concern that stood out to me. The first of these was Spider-Man. This is the third incarnation of the friendly neighborhood webslinger, with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield having played him previously. As such, the current Spider-Man, Holland, had to both embody the essence of Spider-Man and set himself apart from his predecessors.

Holland succeeded by bringing a suitable mix of dorkiness, childish idealism and just the right amount of badass to the character. Able to simultaneously go toe-to-toe with Captain America and throw witty teenaged banter? Good job boys. I’d have liked to see a bit more of him, but this is a Captain America movie, not a Spider-Man movie, which we’re getting in 2017, and done by Marvel this time to boot. Looks like the Russo brothers are one for one in my books so far.

The second potential major problem was the villain. Whenever this kind of movie is done, such as the recent Batman vs. Superman, there has to be a behind-the-scenes bad guy who is the one causing all of the mischief and splitting up our valiant heroes. In this movie, the role is played by Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl). He does a serviceable job as a plotting bad guy, and it is quite interesting for the villain in a Marvel movie to not have any real superpowers or enhancements or tech – he is just smarter than the average human and trying to accomplish his goals.

But that’s really where his good traits end. His plan is extremely complicated, relying on too many things going just right, some of which are out of his control. His motivation is flimsy and doesn’t really stand up to logical scrutiny, and he’s generally not hugely interesting as a character– fans of the comic books may be a bit disappointed with this movie’s treatment of the famous Baron Zemo.

Give that one a half a point. So far, we’re at 1.5/2 on the issues count.

Finally, the conflict between Iron Man and Captain America. Now, this was potentially catastrophic – the angst potential for this fight was at Revenge of the Sith levels of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers yelling “You were my friend!” at each other during every one of their fight scenes.

However, I was pleasantly surprised that there was comparatively little moping and doping, with most of it coming from Tony, who has decided in this movie to start caring immensely about the human costs of the Avengers’ victories.

That, incidentally, is what drives the first wedge between the Captain and our Ferrous Humanoid – the Sokovia Accords, which, using the death toll of the fights the Avengers take part in as justification, seek to place said superhero team under the control of the UN. Tin Man says yes, the walking American flag says no. Cue ideological arguments with lots of meaningful glares.

The action scenes were very well done. They felt solid and visceral, with every punch feeling, looking, and sounding like a real punch, and the choreography was also extremely tight. There was also much more use of surroundings as weapons, with everything from car doors to trucks being used as impromptu projectiles. The Russo brothers have to be commended for that.

The acting was also solid, though by this point most of these actors could do these roles in their sleep, and the serious moments of pre-fight glaring were broken up by some very well-placed humor. While this is certainly not a children’s film, it also doesn’t take itself too seriously, which makes it notable compared to other superhero movies.  

Overall, this movie continues fairly smoothly from existing plotlines and sets up new ones that I’m sure will keep people coming back to MCU in the future. It’s not particularly innovative or groundbreaking, but it’s a lot of fun.