Captain America: Civil War (d. Anthony Russo, Joe Russo USA/Germany 2016)

Please read On Reviews for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis at the bottom for any who wish to see one.

Entertainment: starfish starfish starfish starfish

Performances: starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability:   starfish starfish 

Technical:        starfish starfish starfish

It’s probably no coincidence that this film and DC‘s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (d.Zack Snyder USA 2016) arrive in the same year. Whether this is due to the similar themes of the time; are we beginning to think of the internal struggles of similar ideas that are drastically different? Or simply because the competitors are trying to outdo one another? These sorts of phenomenons or ‘twin films‘ are debatable throughout film history with the arrival of similar films, being coincidentally or not, brought out at the same time. Independence Day (d. Roland Emmerich USA 1996) and Mars Attacks! (d. Tim Burton USA 1996) as well as Antz (d. Eric Darnell, Tim Johnson USA 1998) and A Bug’s life (d. John LasseterAndrew Stanton USA 1998) to name a few examples. I do feel that films reflect a certain human group fantasy in a way. Society dreams and films reflect and play to that. Films of supernatural entities and magic and superheroes being all that we can be are certainly a reflection of todays times where life has become difficult and we face economic problems. We can’t bare the realism so we dive into fantasies where we can be the heroes. This is a theory as to why Marvel and DC and many of the superhero films have been doing so well and simply building upon themselves. So the Marvel momentum has gone so far to bring us to this: Captain America: Civil War (d. Anthony Russo, Joe Russo USA/Germany 2016). A clash of ideas as good guys fight out their differences. So let’s take a look.

So it’s obvious this that this film, like most Marvel films, will feature lots of CGI. We have come to expect this and expect a lot from it. It is fairly good, not horrendous but not amazing either. Otherwise technically this isn’t that accomplished and just focuses on the fight scenes? That said, how is the combat? Well… weirdly enough there is a climactic fight before the climactic fight and the placement of this makes sense and carries less emotional flare than the actual climax and it is a centrepiece to the film. Most of the film is building to this moment. However, with everything that is going on it doesn’t hold up very well and drags in too many characters. It’s fun to watch, don’t get me wrong, but there’s not much reason for it to happen and it feels forced at times. “Are we still friends?” I think was uttered by one character to the next. “Depends how hard you hit me.” I think was answered. Now this is the problem, it feels like a play fight. Marvel has it’s hand at amusing dialogue but it doesn’t really work for a well driven story.

So let’s talk character and performances, it is fairly predictable how it all unfolds and if you’ve seen the trailers then you’ll know most of what’s coming and if you’ve seen them then this wont be a spoiler but just in case. SPOILERS. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is done to what looks like a well received, true to marvel style but, at least for me, he doesn’t have much impact. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Captain America (Chris Evans) rather predictably go into areas where, again, the fighting feels forced but otherwise give a good emotional charge to scenes where they have to. END OF SPOILERS. There were some characters that really didn’t need to be in the film and it gets confusing and distracting from some of the main points and it reduces the films impact. It’s a lot of fun when it does work but there is no need for so many characters. A common criticism I see coming up with films nowadays is certainly true here – the film forgets to be a film rather than just setting up more films.

So that was Captain America: Civil War and it was fun, it was certainly better than it’s main competitor, however, it does have it’s problems. We focus too much on good guys to get decent opposition from villains and the supporting themes of the story. It’s merely a clash of ideas forced into news events at the time and setting up more characters and the continuation of stories that I’m not sure if we’re all that excited by this film to see. Overall it’s a good and fun film just not a great one.

With all the destruction surrounding our superheroes in times where they are saving people it is now feeling like a time where restrictions should be places and laws enforced. However, Iron Man and Captain America clash viewpoints and this is taken advantage of by an unseen villain.


Further Reading

Official Website

Interview with Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Elizabeth Olsen and Anthony Mackie

Interview with Robert Downy Jr., Paul Bettany and Chadwick Boseman

Interview with Russo Brothers

Civil War Vs Batman V Superman

Easter Eggs

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