"Captain America: Civil War,” The Avengers Movie “Ultron” Wasn’t

By Scott Kurland
Film: Captain America: Civil War
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Daniel Bruhl, Scarlett Johannson, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Chadwick Boseman Tom Holland, Paul Bettany, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, and Jeremy Renner
Rated: PG-13
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo

If you haven’t guessed already, I’m a little behind on this review….or am I? I waited two weeks to post this review because I knew I wouldn't be able to talk about this film without spoiling something. It’s impossible not to. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was easy as I signed a legal document saying I wouldn’t give away any spoilers. “Captain America: Civil War” on the other hand, is a comic book nerds dream come true. There’s Black Panther, Spider-Man and, at the core of the story, a huge battle where Captain America and Iron Man beat the hell out of each other. I had to wait until enough people had time to see it. There’s going to be spoilers ahead, so if you want to stop reading, do so now. If not, buckle up and enjoy my review of “Captain America: Civil War”.

“Captain America: Civil War” opens with Steve Rogers training the new Avengers on a routine field mission. An unexpected disaster occurs; caused by one of his team members. Afterwards, the Avengers must face the music. What’s put in place are the Sokovia Accords; a compromise in which the Avengers must make a crucial decision: become a government run group or face early retirement. This decision splits the group down the middle. Captain America confesses he's opposed to the accords while Tony Stark, (Robert Downey Jr.) is favor of them. All seems lost, and then things take a turn for the worse when Captain America learns that his best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) has become brainwashed by a man named Zemo (Daniel Bruhl). With Bucky now enemy-number-one for the new (albeit divided) Avengers, Capt feels obligated to protect him and enlists his own team of Avengers in secret. Now Captain America, Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) must fight against their old teammates. Can the Captain face one friend to protect another? 

Let me start off by saying this film is amazing. I know everyone is saying it’s the best Marvel film (and it is pretty damn good) but I still think “Captain America: Winter Soldier” and “Guardians of The Galaxy” are better; the latter being number one. “Captain America: Civil War” is the best “Avengers” film. Where “Age Of Ultron” faltered, “Civil War” made up for it. For starters, DC needs to take a cue from this movie. This is what “Batman VS. Superman” should have been. Marvel integrated new heroes with the old ones and did it flawlessly. After five “Spider-Man” movies, the Russo brothers give us the best “Spider-Man” movie in under thirty minutes. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker is what Spidey should be; a kid realizing how cool and awful it is to be a superhero. The Russo brothers handle all his scenes with care and his introductory scene with Downey Jr, is perfect. Their banter and appreciation for what the other does makes this film special.

All the new additions to the film are incredible. Chadwick Boseman as “Black Panther” is really paving the way for interesting Marvel films in the years to come. The reason why Marvel’s films work over DC’s time and time again is that Marvel doesn’t just find a way to tell the stories; they find a complementing genre for them. “Ant-Man” was a heist movie like “Ocean’s Eleven”. “Guardians of The Galaxy”, was a space Opera like “Star Wars”. “Civil War” is an espionage film like “In The Line of Fire” or the “Bourne films.” I wonder... what genre “Blank Panther” will fall into? Are we looking at a 70s style throw back film like “Shaft”? Are they going to make it more like an old school serial caper like “Indiana Jones”? Boseman is incredible as T’Challa who goes through all the emotions of a hero. First there’s revenge, which eventually leads to redemption. Finally, in the post credits scenes, we see him as the hero and protector the Avengers need. I was truly impressed with how seamlessly they added these characters into this film. 

However, it wasn’t “Spider-Man” or “Black Panther” that made the film for me. It wasn’t even Paul Rudd’s incredible portrayal of Scott Lang where he becomes “Giant-Man” in this film and, believe me, that scene will blow you away. The real selling point for me was the villain. This is the first time Marvel really had a great villain. The purpose of a villain is to destroy a team. They find the weakness and they rip the hero or heroes apart for it. “Civl War” has an incredible villain played by Oscar nominee Daniel Bruhl. What makes Zemo so great is that he’s motivated by revenge. He knows he’s not strong enough to fight the Avengers, but he is smart enough to play them against one another like chess pawns. That’s what makes a great villain; not being strong…being smart. Bruhl’s Zemo is so smart and meticulous that he plans his plot down to the littlest detail. I think he’s the best villain we’ve seen so far, and that fact he’s still alive means we’ll see him become Baron Zemo in future films. 

“Captain America: Civil War” is one of Marvel’s best. It’s not number one, but it’s up there in the top five. The cast works so well here. Honestly, I’d watch a movie with just Captain America, Falcon, and Bucky on a road trip. The chemistry Evans, Mackie, and Stan have with one other is so enjoyable to watch. I also think Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson is the unsung hero of Marvel's cinematic Universe. He stands by Capt’s side even when he might be wrong. That’s real brotherhood right there and, for me, Mackie is the film’s MVP.

“Captain America: Civil War” is one of the best times I had at the movies this year. It’s filled with a great story, amazing characters both new and old, and I dare you not to marvel (no pun intended) at the CGI used to make Robert Downey Jr, look like he is 20 again. The Russo Brothers have made two of Marvel’s greatest films back to back. I can’t wait to see them tackle two more. This is a must see film that must be viewed on the biggest screen possible.

scott kurlandComment