Summer kicks off with a bang in ‘Captain America: Civil War’

Timothy Page, Arapahoe Pinnacle Movie Critic

CapAm-1Marvel/Disney have done something awesome. Over the past eight years they have built an incredible collection of films. All connecting, some better than others, and all of them make a ridiculous amount of money. Civil War is the latest entry into the ever-expanding universe, and it’s one of Marvel’s best entries to date.

After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the world is on edge about superheroes. Then another disaster strikes and that, to a lot of the world, is the last straw. They draw up an Accord that limits the Avengers to being commanded by the UN. Tony Stark is all for it. He’s racked with guilt for creating Ultron and the events of the last film, among other things. Steve Rogers/Captain America is against it, still believing that the Avengers themselves are still the best authority on what they do. Their words get heated, but nothing comes to blows … yet. That’s when the signing of Accords gets bombed, and all signs seem to point to Bucky Barns, Steve’s childhood friend, who also happens to be the assassin known as the Winter Soldier. Steve has to hunt down and save Bucky, find out who actually bombed the Accord signing, and perhaps get his hands dirty along the way.

Civil War is awesome, and it manages to be a better Avenger film than the last one. The Russo brothers have directed a fantastic superhero movie. They manage to juggle the massive number of characters, add a couple new ones, and still keep it all compelling and not feeling bloated. All while directing some of the best action scenes the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has seen.

The reason it worked is that it still feels pretty light and fun, while also not being afraid to show some of the darker sides of these characters. There’s still time for a funny quip here, a breezy action scene there, with well-written and realized characters. We’ve had years to connect with some of these characters, so seeing them fight each other is hard to watch at times, but also pretty darn cool. The MCU has hit a point where nothing terribly monumental can happen here, so they just have fun with the fact that the characters are now against each other rather than united.

While not a lighthearted romp all the way through, it’s definitely more enjoyable than the joyless sludge that was Batman v Superman. In BvS, the characters seemed to hate everything they were doing; Superman looked pained every time he did something, and Batman was an angry old man. Here, Captain America holds to his beliefs, and Iron Man does too. The reason they fight feels plausible and, again, it’s fun.

True to franchise history, the acting is great. The main cast of characters continues to do a fantastic job, but it’s the two newcomers that stand out. Chadwick Boseman (Jackie Robinson in 42) does a fantastic Black Panther, and I won’t spoil how he comes into the movie, but the actor kills it and it makes me excited for his stand-alone film in the next few years. The real stand-out here, and I’m not joking when I say he almost *cough* swings away with the entire film, is Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spiderman. While Toby Maguire will always be my favorite Spiderman (because I grew up with him), Tom Holland is a better Peter Parker and Spiderman than both actors who have played him before. He has about 20-30 minutes of screen time, but that half hour makes me ridiculously excited for his stand-alone film, also coming up in the next few years.

If there’s one complaint I have about this film, it’s the villain. Played by Daniel Bruhl (Inglorious Basterds), he’s not bad, but he’s just another misfire in the villain department from Marvel. Really the only good one we’ve had was Loki, and not much else. It’s honestly a small complaint in a film that hits all the right notes in many other places.

Another warning is for parents with little children. This movie isn’t as crushingly bleak as Batman v Superman, but it is still a dark film in places. It might be a bit jarring for them seeing their favorite superheroes go for each other’s throats. There’s a final bout between Captain America, Bucky and Iron Man that was very intense and even hard for me to watch at times. It’s a film that younger kids might have a hard time with, seeing their favorite heroes go to some darker and more serious places than they have gone before.

That being said, Civil War is still a fantastic entry in the MCU. It manages to pull together, almost, all of the Avenger team, pits them against each other, shows their darker sides, but in all it is still a fun movie. The action is fantastic (especially the finale), the acting is great, and the story is coherent without feeling overstuffed. It’s a great superhero movie, and a good movie in general. So, as finals week comes to a close and summer break starts, Civil War is probably the best way to kick off your summer.

Rating: 4.5/5 The disappointing villain keeps this movie just shy of being perfect, but Civil War is still another great entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.