Captain America: Civil War - The Riles Review
Well it’s as high concept as they come, and it does what it’s meant to do. Everyone is there. Literally everyone. The outcome of this Marvel cinematic adventure is exactly what you’d expect, which might be exactly what you want or exactly what you feared.
Captain America and the Avengers are having an off day in Lagos and kill some innocent civilians, calling for the UN to essentially dissolve their powers. Some of the Avengers like this, and some of them don’t. On top of that, Bucky is acting particularly weird, and there’s an Eastern European guy making everyone uncomfortable.
The start of the movie is pretty intense, and actually follows quite an adult storyline. It tackles a fairly mature theme, showing a bit more political and thematic grunt than a Marvel movie tends to. However as the film hits about the halfway mark, it completely devolves. It starts asking the right questions, and broadening the scope to include people outside of the Avengers, but then just as quickly, it snaps that scope shut. It goes from talking about the effects of their actions on the public to sort of fading that story into nothing. Once they do finally talk about it again, it’s only through an underwhelming reference to Avengers: Age of Ultron, and a really unsatisfying conclusion. But no matter how unsatisfying it may be, Marvel continuously prove that a movie can be fixed by making another movie.
The plot hinges on references to other Marvel movies and characters, so with no point of reference you’re going to get lost in the amount of characters and name drops and references to past events. But it’s hard to imagine anyone at this stage in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with absolutely no point of reference or brief understanding of at least some of the characters. There are other people in the film that aren’t Avengers, and they sort of appear and disappear when they want. They’re clearly around to set up the next movie or TV series. Really everything that’s happening is only happening so we can see what it would be like if the Avengers turn on each other, and to that end the fighting is pretty spectacular. Every battle, whether it is civil or not, is awesome to watch. It’s a lot of hand to hand stuff which feels really hard-hitting every time. My favourite fight scene was in an apartment building stairwell, with Captain and Bucky Barnes(whose real name in the film is actually Jimmy Barnes, for an extra giggle.) bouncing off some soldiers. It was super cool and intense. And of course there’s that one scene in particular with all of your Avengers, and yes, it’s just as cool as you’d hoped. Everyone participates equally, and there are quite a few goofy lines and moments of levity. The characters pick each other apart really well.
As for the characters, the movie doesn’t waste a moment introducing you to literally anybody. If you don’t already know who they are, there’s a movie on the way to introduce them, I’m sure. A lot of the character arcs for your mainstays are good enough, and the actors playing them are doing a good job. Some of the dialogue feels a bit cheap here and there, and some of the characters can feel innately dumb or unreasonable (fighting vigilantism with vigilantism?). But for the most part they do what they’re meant to do, and if you like one or two in particular you’ll enjoy whatever they’re doing in this film.
Wrapping it up...
So for all of the advertising and marketing they threw into this movie, for every leaked character or sneak peek we’ve seen along the way, and every promise and expectation raised that it’ll be the best comic book movie yet, was it worth it?
I guess so.
Captain America: Civil War - 6/10