Greetings my intrepid travelers!
Captain America: Civil War was an amazing movie with a roller-coaster of a ride for a plot!
Where do I begin!?
First, the movie started off with a scenic fight in Nigeria. Crossbones became a villain in his own right, but I hated how he was the opening villain. I would’ve preferred a super-powered-villain such as Whirlwind or Radioactive Man. Nonetheless the battle was poignant and set up the main plot.
Following the incident in Lagos the government approaches the Avengers with word of how people blame them for the destruction their battles cause. This sets off Iron Man on yet another emotional off-road trip; he blames himself and his team for failing to protect innocents in Sokovia.
This paranoid need to protect everyone is what made Iron Man slightly villainous in the last film. Not surprisingly this paranoid need makes him a villainous character in this film too. While I appreciate that the filmmakers keep continuity with Avengers: Age of Ultron I think we as an audience needed to see more of Stark’s psyche. His transformation from carefree jovial inventor to overprotective egomaniac needs a little more context.
Once the Avengers fracture over the Peace Accords in Vienna the compliant team head off to the European city to sign the paperwork. It is there that we meet King T’Chaka and his son the eventual Black Panther.
I thought the introduction of these two were done nicely (their accents were convincing too). King T’Chaka accepts Black Widow’s apology and makes a rousing speech for change. His son, T’Challa is in attendance. Those of us who are familiar with the comics were awaiting for T’Challa to become the Black Panther. T’Challa does indeed take up the mantle when his father is killed in an explosion by the Winter Soldier.
Captain America, convinced by his conscience not to sign the accords, hunts down Bucky to get some answers. He finds a rogue friend who is adamant that he wasn’t behind the bomb. Both Captain America and Bucky fight their way out of a massive gunfight and an intense police chase with the Black Panther hunting Bucky as well. The action was gripping and I especially loved the tunnel scene where part of the roof caves in.
All four men are detained and sent to a government prison in Germany. Bilbo Baggins is the man in charge of said facility! Amazing! Nonetheless, a shadowy human figure named Zemo sneaks into the base (somehow?!) and hijacks Bucky’s mind causing him to go on a rampage. Bucky escapes the compound fighting Captain America, Black Widow, Black Panther and a suit-less Tony Stark in the process. Captain America saves Bucky from drowning and together with Sam Wilson (Falcon) hide him in an abandoned building.
Iron Man is livid and anxious. He wanted to contain the situation but is flustered by Captain America’s actions.
How could the figurehead of American justice now hide a wanted criminal?
I sympathized with Iron Man’s need to keep things together. However, I knew he was in the wrong and simply should have trusted his friend, Steve, to have a good motive for hiding Bucky.
Iron Man gathers his team and recruits the coolest guy in this movie!
That’s right! Iron Man recruits Spiderman to fight for him on Team Iron Man. I was thrilled and amazed at these two meeting. My inner fanboy danced and jumped up and down to see Stark flirt with Aunt May and trade gibes with Parker. In my opinion, this is the most realistic version of Peter Parker I have ever seen portrayed thus far!
The two teams meet at the airport in Leipzig where a fantastic battle occurs. Team Iron Man brings the powerhouses in Iron Man, War Machine and Spiderman along with Black Widow, Black Panther and Vision. Team Captain America is formed by the underrated Captain America, Scarlet Witch and Falcon. They also secure the wild card Ant-Man (Awesome introduction for Rudd by the way!) and include Hawkeye and the renegade Winter Soldier (though he is not an Avenger).
The battle was amazing highlighting each person’s strengths; War Machine using his sonic disruptor on Scarlet Witch, Spiderman using strength and agility on any foe, Falcon outmaneuvering foes with speed and of course Ant-Man going giant-sized to help Captain America escape.
I loved Ant-Man going big! It is his trademark ability and I wondered if they’d ever let him use it! The moment he chose to use it was absolutely spot on! He towered over everybody and smacked around the heroes like they were flies (i.e. Spidey)! I felt bad for him though because this wasn’t his fight; he was just helping Captain America and him defending Rogers got him sent to the Raft.
Nonetheless the true turning point came when Falcon distracted Vision into firing on War Machine. The massive beam debilitated Rhody and almost sent him crashing to his death. I was legitimately scared for War Machine, and I’m glad that Falcon stopped to check on him too. Stark even let off the chase and worriedly stood over his friend. Not surprisingly he blasted Falcon with a repulsor ray for his troubles.
It was at this point that I questioned: “How far are these heroes going to go to advance their cause? Will they kill each other?” This sort of response is perfect because this is how desperate the comic book Civil War storyline went as well. In fact, in that series Iron Man recruited supervillains and a hero died!
Iron Man confronts Black Widow who helped Captain America and Winter Soldier escape. He then begins to interrogate the others (Hawkeye, Ant-Man, Falcon) on the Raft. Stark earns Sam’s trust by weakening the comm systems. Sam reveals to Stark where the two are going but asks that Iron Man go alone. This last request ends up being a detriment…
Captain America and the Winter Soldier arrive at the compound and are joined by Iron Man. He assures them he’s not there to capture them. The trio enter the main chamber where they learn that Zemo’s plan was never one of releasing enemies. Zemo, they learn, wants the Avengers to destroy each other.
In a masterful stroke of a plot-twist Zemo reveals that an earlier mission of the Winter Soldier was to kill two people on the road. These two people, I thought were carrying a biological or chemical agent which made them a target. Only, these two people were in fact revealed to be Howard and Maria Stark: Tony Stark’s parents. I learned that it was not Zemo’s mission to unleash a villain or a chemical, like the usual villain would, but rather to unleash a terrible secret that would destroy the Avengers from within.
That’s cold. That is truly wicked and cold. Such a plan is that of a true villain, and impressively this villain has no powers!
The news hits Stark like an anvil. He immediately blames Cap and sets out to kill the Winter Soldier. It was truly dark to see Iron Man trying to kill someone with his technology. This was a truly dark moment indeed. In fact, this whole battle made me feel uncomfortable. It felt uncomfortable because I was rooting for Iron Man; I would not defend the murderer of my friends parents which caused me to despise Captain America in this instance. In fact, the only redeemable character at the compound was Black Panther who chose not to kill Zemo after seeing the destructive power of vengeance.
The battle was hard-hitting and relentless. Iron Man fought like a savage. He clearly had the upper hand on the Winter Soldier. Both the Winter Soldier and Captain America teamed up and defeated Iron Man. The action got intense and I thought Captain America was going to decapitate Iron Man with his shield. Thankfully he was only trying to kill the power cell charging his suit.
This was a dark battle and one I particularly didn’t enjoy. It made Iron Man into a villain, it made Captain America defend a murderer from his own friend and it didn’t establish a clear hero or villain. Despite my own feelings of this fight this was clearly good storytelling and acting.
Finally the film ends with Iron Man nursing Rhody back to health and receiving a message from Captain America. Rogers apologizes for hiding the truth from Stark and says that whenever he needs him all he needs to do is ask.
In conclusion, this was a fun film. Captain America: Civil War delved deeper into the characters and caused us to learn new things about them through their interactions with each other: I learned that Captain America is a ruthless hand-to-hand fighter (probably unmatched) strategizing with his team like a military unit, Hawkeye, Falcon, and Ant-Man are loyal to a fault, and Black Panther has a strong sense of humility unmatched by any of the other heroes. In this film we also get lessons of honor and humility like when Black Widow owns up to her mistakes and apologizes to T’Chaka as a sign of accountability, and when T’Challa shows us it is best not to take justice in our own hands. This film also made genius use of Spiderman: he became part of the plot, entertained audiences with his presence, and exited once his role was done (much like Quicksilver in ‘Days of Future Past’). In addition, the action was stellar and the unpredictable plot-twists added a layer of depth to this film, which could have simply been just another superhero team-up.
Grade: Nine out of Ten Stars.
I look forward to seeing the upcoming Spiderman and Black Panther movies.
Thank you for reading.