In the wake of the destruction in Sokovia and a pitched battle against Crossbones in Nigeria, the governments of the world come together in an attempt to curtail and control the Avengers’ activities under a UN council. As the prospect of political control splits the Avengers down the middle, the sudden re-emergence of The Winter Soldier escalates the conflict, pitting hero against hero and threatening to destroy the Avengers from within.
“Avengers 3” in all but name, this might be the movie which demonstrated once and for all how comprehensively Marvel had managed to conquer the superhero movie genre, for good or ill. If back in 2008, somebody had told you that one day, WB would be the ones to blink and move the release date of their “Batman v Superman” movie to avoid competing with the third Captain America movie, you’d have laughed at them and yet that’s exactly what happened.
I remember at the time feeling sorry for Henry Cavil’s Superman, having his sequel hijacked by another iconic character and forced to accommodate the introduction of new characters too, and I sort of feel the same way for Cap. “The Winter Soldier” showed that Cap as ‘a man alone’ plays really well (no offence to Black Widow or Falcon) so it would have been good to see him take on another solo(ish) adventure before settling down to his final Avengers appearances.
Still, “Civil War” at least continues a strong and consistent character arc from the previous five movies and keeps Cap front and centre even while accommodating the presence of Tony Stark and the introduction of Black Panther and a new Spider-Man. While it’s nice to see the rest of the Avengers, their appearances are little more than cameos and the tight focus on the triangle between Steve, Bucky and Tony makes for a compelling adventure. Zemo is a terrific, understated villain and the only one to actually achieve his aim. Although he ends up captured by the end, it’s hard to refute the idea that Zemo has defeated the Avengers, expertly manipulating them into crumbling from within. Hopefully, this won’t be the last appearance of Daniel Brühl’s master manipulator.
Thor and Hulk being MIA will be explained later but makes complete sense in the context of the story being told because either one of them would stop this fight. Slightly less explicable is Nick Fury’s conspicuous absence, although narratively it makes sense because he’d have knocked some heads together and refocused Cap and Tony on taking down the real enemy. The fact he sat this one out altogether kind of lends credence to the idea Fury may be one of the rumoured hidden Skrulls.
This is the Marvel film which almost provoked a Craggus Civil War as the family was split in its reactions. Mertmas loved it, especially Spider-Man’s debut, and I enjoyed it immensely but Mrs Craggus was less than impressed. She’s just not keen on good guys fighting each other so didn’t buy into the movie’s whole premise. Still, philosophical differences aside, the action is tight and the super-powered fight choreography is better than ever but it’s the emotional arcs for the characters that pack the biggest punch and raise the stakes even more by fracturing the team on the eve of their greatest challenge.
Original review: Captain America: Civil War (2016) Review
No stones, but plenty of old scores to be settled.
T’Challa/ Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), freakin’ Peter Parker/ Spider-Man!!! (Tom Holland).
Stan’s a FedEx delivery man at the end, with a package for ‘Tony Stank’
Mid-credits hints at “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” as Bucky is placed back into cryostasis in Wakanda while the end scene leaves us hungry for more web-slinging with a tease for “Spider-Man: Homecoming“.
The film coincided with the 75th anniversary of Captain America and 2016 also marked the 10th anniversary of the original Civil War comic book and the 50th anniversary of Black Panther’s debut.