Captain America: Civil War has been touted by man as the greatest Marvel movie thus far. I’m not the biggest Marvel fan – for me, they tend to follow the same format in that a hero is established, a baddie threatens them, the hero is close to defeat, and eventually good triumphs evil. I know this is a well-trodden format for pretty much any action movie, but it does get tiresome within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), especially given just how many movies they’re churning out.
Enter Civil War. It’s not great. There are flaws. But I’d possibly go as far as saying it is the best Marvel movie so far, and that’s because it’s DIFFERENT.
Minor spoilers to follow.
The cast list is colossal. Whilst its essentially Chris Evans’ Captain America pitting off against Robert Downey, Jr.’s Iron Man, most of the current crop of superheroes pop up for some screen time. And, surprisingly, they’re all given their time to shine.
Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch is perhaps the biggest surprise here. I wasn’t a fan of her in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but here she’s fleshed out and given some truly emotional material to play with. Her grief over the death of Quicksilver was never really explored in Ultron, but here she must deal with the ramifications of her actions. Likewise Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man is given a new trick to play with, and Rudd laps up the chance to interact with the other heroes. Rudd is fanboying as much as his character, and it’s a delight to watch.
Most of the others follow similar threads to their previous appearances, without bringing anything new to the table. That’s not a bad thing, though, because it’s always brilliant to see the individual characters interacting with one another.
But Civil War introduces not one but two new heroes – one of whom has caused a lot of interest amongst fans. Enter Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland. I wasn’t wholly convinced about this young actor when he was first announced, but Holland’s take on Spider-Man is perhaps the best thus far. He combines the youth of Andrew Garfield (though he’s a lot younger) and the awkwardness of Toby Maguire to produce a Peter Parker who is humble, awed and, most importantly, sans an origin. It’s glossed over very quickly – everybody knows how Parker becomes Spider-Man, so we don’t need to see the radioactive spider once again.
The true standout of Civil War, however, is Chadwick Boseman as T-Challa, AKA Black Panther. He’s suave, mysterious, and downright deadly, managing to steal every single scene he appears in. I am so excited for his solo movie now – there’s a lot to explore. I’ll be interested to see how he interacts with the Avengers in later movies, as there’s still a bit of animosity sizzling here.
And now down to plot. If you didn’t already know, Civil War is all about restricting the power that the Avengers have, once it’s highlighted how many deaths their apparent ‘saving the world’ has resulted in. Some are all for this act (dubbed the Sokovia Accords), whilst others oppose. Thus the war. Beneath this plot, however, is the return of Sebastian Stan’s Winter Soldier, who causes much friction between Captain America and Iron Man. Prepare yourself for one hell of an emotional twist towards the close of the movie. Evans, Downey, Jr. and Stan all play this scene brilliantly.
But Civil War is ALL ABOUT the much hyped battle between the 12 Avengers, and it does not disappoint. Taking place near an airport hangar, every hero has their time to shine. It’s one of the greatest superhero movie battles thus far and, most importantly, it’s more intriguing than anything thus far because it’s our heroes battling each other, rather than fighting a foe. Just wait till you see Ant-Man. And Spider-Man. And Vision. And Scarlet Witch. Hell – wait until you see the entire fight. Proper edge-of-the-seat stuff. A pure delight.
There’s a huge cop-out in terms of what’s been previously teased about Civil War, but overall the first part of Phase 3 of the MCU signals great things for the franchise. It’s certainly renewed my fledgeling interest.