Friday, 29 April 2016

United We Stand! - Captain America: Civil War - Review

Captain America: Civil War is a flawed but enjoyable superhero flick. Where it succeeds with stylish action and smart, witty dialogue, it falls short on a number of points. Civil War is by no means a bad film, some of its issues are understandable, but not everything works as well as I would have hoped.

Civil War deals with two main conflicts - The Avengers being forced to work under the governments control drives the central plot forward, as each hero is forced to make a choice and choose a side - register with the government, or refuse and be forced into retirement. When Cap decides that registering isn't the best idea, he's forced to hang up his shield, but when Bucky re-enters the picture and a large threat is unearthed, Cap has no choice but to don the costume once again.

Unfortunately, Iron Man, Black Widow and the rest of the Pro-Reg team are tasked with bringing him in, as he no longer has the governments permission to be performing heroics, so herein lies the basis of the Civil War. It's interesting though that the final showdown is due to a completely unrelated incident. I won't go into too much detail to avoid spoilers, but I did find it a little odd that the writers found two separate, unrelated events to force the opposing heroes to butt heads.

Needless to say, splitting the team down the middle leads to some pretty great action scenes. The standout is undoubtedly the Airport showdown. The trailers have made no secret of the fact that this is where the main battle between both teams goes down, and Kudos to the Russo brothers for making an incredible action scene that manages to give all combatants a chance to shine.

Yes the Russo brothers are back, and they bring with them the same superbly choreographed and executed fight scenes that they brought to Winter Soldier. Things are a little more superhero-y this time, due to there being characters like Scarlett Witch and Vision on the scene, but we also get lots of cool, hand-to-hand action. As a huge Black Widow fan I'm always glad when she gets a chance to cut loose, and I have to say that this is my favourite showcase of her skills so far.

Whilst it's a good showcase for Black Widow, Cap, Bucky and Iron Man, things aren't so smoothly balanced for everyone else. It's here that the main flaw comes in. This is the largest ensemble we've seen so far in the MCU, and whilst it's great to see everyone together, and the aforementioned airport battle is one of my favourite scenes out of any Marvel movie hands down, not all the characters get the attention they deserve.

Spiderman for instance - he is in two scenes throughout the whole movie. And one of them he's Peter Parker. As I said before, this issue is understandable. For the stakes to be high enough in a film like this, you need a large amount of people, and I can't personally think of a way to make it work and give every character a chance to shine. Tom Holland does perfectly well in the role, playing a wise-cracking teenager who doesn't seem to understand the seriousness of what he's wrapped up in.

Black Panther also suffers because of this. His character is interesting, and he gets some of the coolest fight scenes thanks to his acrobatic combat style, but his past is never explored, and nor are his emotions, and he comes across as a vengeance driven killer, rather than a hero. Again this is understandable, both in the context of the story and in terms of the constrictions of having so many characters,  it's just a shame to see a character with so much potential, given so little attention. At least it's made me hyped for their standalone films (as if I wouldn't be already).

If I had to mention one more critical, I feel like the film peaked too soon. Once again, understandable in the context of the story, but given how spectacular the airport battle was, the final showdown that followed felt a little anticlimactic in comparison. Seeing Tony, Cap and Bucky all going toe to toe with eachother was exciting, but as I've already said, the airport scene ranks among the best that the MCU have done, so its tough to make a mano-y-mano fight scene compare.

But enough about the bad, this is still a great movie, and I don't want anyone to think otherwise. The writing is great, and the characters have great chemistry with eachother (with the exception of Chris Evans and Emily Vancamp, who's kiss seemed forced and extremely awkward). Bucky and Falcon's relationship is amusing - two people who don't like eachother, but are forced to work together. It's not exactly an original concept, but Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie have enough charisma and charm to keep it entertaining.

Civil War isn't without its faults, but there is definitely plenty to keep you entertained. Stylish action, great performances and well written dialogue make up for its shortcomings, and it secures itself as a solid addition to the MCU.

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