By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s review follows on with the superhero theme from last month’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and February’s Deadpool.
Marvel has released their second movie of the year after Ryan Reynolds’s Deadpool boomed at the box office three months ago.
Captain America: Civil War is projected to be one the biggest movies of the year. With this film being a Marvel Studios product and having a group of Hollywood A-listers fronting it, who could argue against this being a commercial success? But would it warrant the box office triumph…?
With many people fearing the actions of super heroes, the government decides to push for the Anti-Hero Registration Act, a treaty that limits the heroes’ actions. This results in a division in The Avengers. Iron Man stands with this Act, claiming that their actions must be kept in check otherwise cities will continue to be destroyed, but Captain America feels that saving the world is daring enough and that they cannot rely on the government to protect the world. This escalates into an all-out war between Team Iron Man (Iron Man, Black Panther, Vision, Black Widow, War Machine, and Spiderman) and Team Captain America (Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter, Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye, and Ant Man). All this occurs as a new villain (Daniel Bruhl) emerges.
Right, I’ll let you digest that narrative for a second. Did you notice something on the end of that premise? ‘All this occurs as a new villain (Daniel Bruhl) emerges’ – this is one of the flaws in the film before we have even begun. The main nemesis in Civil War is literally a bit-part side plot. The main problem with this film is the length, and therefore the dullness and the feeling of leaving the audience bloated after two and a half hours.
The casting of so many superheroes is all well and good but the Russo directors need to know how to use them. The scenes where team Iron Man and team Captain America are recruiting their fellow 'special friends' is fun to watch as we see which hero is coming next. But once they are all on board, the film doesn’t know where to go a part from an overhyped CGI battle royal at an airport. And let’s be honest, we all know how this fight ends, very much mimicking Batman v Superman’s climax.
Civil War does have highlights though. One comes in the form of the new Spidey Tom Holland whose hormonal and youthful character brings a bit of fresh air to the older cast. He’s humorous and adds another dimension. The Spider-Man film next year is eagerly being anticipated.
Another highlight is Scarlett Johansson. She seems to play the rational superhero who understands the damage the Avengers can cause but also believes in the greater good. I think her character Black Widow is the most relatable. Her acting is also on point.
The one-liners throughout are also fun and breaks up the tense scenes adequately. The most impressive attribute to this film though is how Marvel has finally taken on the concept of the damage that these superheroes cause by ‘saving the world’. I think it’s the most intelligent plot to have come out of a Marvel film and is something many viewers have been questioning for some time.
The opening twenty minutes is the best sequence in the whole movie. It’s a blistering fight between terrorists and a handful of Avengers that’s noticeably enhanced by CGI and stunt doubles. There is something though that seems a bit different to the usual action pieces. It seems slicker like it is straight out of the Casino Royale bag of action tricks. It’s just such a busy movie from here on in and you lose a bit of focus as it goes on. To think you have nearly 40 minutes of the film to go after the airport squabble is just too much.
This movie is the definition of quantity over quality. That isn’t to say the film isn’t good, it’s just packed out with unnecessary components. The film lacks a big ’takeaway’ for the audience. This film could have been sewn up in 90 minutes yet we still longing for the credits after 150 minutes. The narrative has too little substance to warrant that runtime. It seems Marvel have created a huge universe but with very little to do in it.
It’s clearly the year of super villains fighting each other for the upper hand. Even though we know how these films will end, they are still too enticing to avoid. I am ambivalent when it comes to superhero movies but I have now caught both Batman vs. Superman and of course Civil War. Personally, the former is a wash out with such a dull plot. At least Civil War means something going forward. Taking into account the better acting and the humanistic issues involved in the narrative, Captain America: Civil War comes out on top for the ‘best superheroes that fight each other’ film of the year.
Cineroom’s Rating: 3.5 Stars
Captain America: Civil War is currently showing worldwide in selected cinemas – certificate 12A