I’ll admit it, despite the fact that Captain America: Civil War had a brilliant premise to begin with and a wonderful directorial duo, I was apprehensive. This was partly because Age of Ultron hasn’t aged as well as it should (And it’s only been a year, isn’t it) and the recent disappointment titled Batman v Superman left me lukewarm towards any more blockbuster superhero spectacles. Fortunately, Civil War is neither and Marvel gives us the best superhero film since Whedon’s Nerd Bowl (As good as Winter Soldier, I’d say).
I won’t go into the story here. You know the story. People die, collateral damage, governmental oversight and two friends who moonlight as superheroes on opposite sides of a UN-mandated accord. Know that however, this is perhaps the biggest superhero cast on film, even bigger than the one in Ultron, and it’s so, so, so good.
What’s Hot? : As I mentioned, the premise of Civil War was intriguing and rife with superhero potential. Friends or even brothers torn apart by misunderstandings into conflict aren’t a particularly new idea. But, with superheroes, and Avengers in tow, the Russo brothers infuse this Marvel film with layered themes such as the idea of freedom, security, responsibility and above all, friendship, complex themes which are characteristically more DC and even X-Men.
There is a reason Marvel is Marvel. Now, some would say that it has to do with the ability to find a wisecrack in the toughest of situations and I don’t fault any film which chooses to brood and grumble (*cough* BvS *cough*) but, what I think makes Marvel what it is today is its capability to make a film that not only generates, but sustains the furious and often frenetic pace of its characters’ universes. Civil War is a world with flawed characters whose motivations, fears and paranoia are not only understandable, but is a reflection of the fickle nature of right and wrong and how not all conflicts are quite simple.
The action, as expected is top notch (Although, the 3D was distracting when used in bazaar chase sequences and hand to hand combat), especially that impressive sequence at the airport (Arguably the best superhero action sequence ever). No cities get destroyed although yes, bombs go off and an African nation does bear the brunt of enhanced individuals again.
Another strong suit with Marvel is its casting, its pitch-perfect and absolutely stellar cast of actors. Whether it is Paul Rudd (who should have had more screen time) to Jeremy Renner (Still our least favorite Avenger) to Anthony Mackie (who just flies around and stuff), the expanded Marvel universe has its own moments to shine. Even Agent 13 aka Sharon Carter (The absolutely gorgeous Emily Van Camp) finds her moments, including one with Cap, an old Beetle and two approving sidekicks. Vision is great too (Even in a turtleneck) but, let’s be honest here, in a real fight, Vision would win the fight hands down, no question, right?
The title however, is misleading. because it is as much about Tony Stark as it is about Captain Steve Rogers. Chris Evans has grown into a part I so didn’t buy even after The Avengers ended. He’s blond, blue-eyed and too damn noble but, he also makes for a charismatic protagonist, one who sure can fight with a shield from the era of the Great War. So is Robert Downey Jr. who is as charming as ever but, he’s also broken, doubtful and brimming with guilt and the voice of his conscience. They make a terrific pair, and the chemistry, both as bros and antagonists generates some genuine sparks and moments between them.
Oh, and there is Spiderman too. A 19-year old, still in high school Spiderman brought to screen by a kid by the name of Tom Holland. I won’t say much but, he spins a web of magic on screen and may as well be the funniest Spiderman to grace us on the big screen. So do Black Panther and the always wonderful Black Widow. Still not buying Olsen as the Scarlet Witch though.
What’s Not Quite?: On a purely thematic level, It’s a shame that the pertinent themes that the film seeks to explore never goes beyond by the time the film ends. It gets personal, which I admit that doesn’t make it any less good or exciting but, it does lose something and is one of the oldest tricks in the book. On a thematic level alone, this should have been Marvel’s The Dark Knight. In the end however, it is far from it.
Verdict: After the lukewarm Ultron, Captain America Civil War is new lease of life to the Marvel universe. Never as intelligent or deep as the Dark Knight Trilogy, the best parts of X-men or a sum of all of its moments, Civil War is nonetheless a breathless, funny, exciting, wonderful superhero film (Even though I’d vote for the institutionalization of Bucky Barnes). This was the movie Ultron should have been.
If you want to know what I thought of Age of Ultron or Dawn of Justice, go ahead and click on the following,
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