We’re finally at phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and what better film to start off with than Captain America: Civil War (2016). To me this film is a turning point in the MCU as it sets in motion the division of our heroes until they have team up again in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. To repeat what I said in my review for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, I went into this film with excitement and hesitation. Excitement because I get to see another Captain America film that also introduces T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) A.K.A. The Black Panther and Peter Parker (Tom Holland) A.K.A Spider-Man. Hesitant because I wasn’t sure if directors Joe and Anthony Russo would be able to replicate the same amount of success as they did when they made Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Were they able to do just that? Let’s find out.
Set one year after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War features Steve Rodgers A.K.A. Captain America (Chris Evans) leads a whole new group of Avengers, which includes Sam Wilson A.K.A. The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) A.K.A. Scarlett Witch, James “Rhodey” Rhodes (Don Cheadle) A.K.A. War Machine, and Vision (Paul Bettany), with Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) A.K.A. Black Widow co-leading the team. One day during a mission in another country things don’t go exactly as planned. While they prevailed in stopping the criminals, they ended up causing collateral damage in the city. This turn of events causes the United Nations to seek to limit the Avengers role in universal protection. This then leads to the Sokovia Accords (named after the fictional country in Avengers: Age of Ultron) which would do just that. This puts the Avengers in a bind as some agree to this action including, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) A.K.A. Iron Man, while there are some such as Steve who disagree with the accords. This disagreement progresses over the film and thus leads to two parties, with one group (led by Tony) agreeing to the accords and the another one (led by Steve) who thinks should continue to act freely to save the world on a daily basis. Meanwhile, an unknown figure known as Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühul) is plotting a mysterious plan to create a bigger conflict for the Avengers.
I hate to sound like a broken record, but Captain America: Civil War is yet another Marvel films that I love and a great follow up to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It does have some minor problems, but to me they’re small issues that I can overlook due to how much I appreciate this film. I do apologize if I sound a little biased, but I just have to be honest with myself.
Ever since I saw this film, the term civil war now has a different meaning for me than before. In fact, as Catholics we can have our own “Civil Wars” within our lives, whether it’s disagreements in parish activities or other people of the Christian faiths. The “Civil War” in Captain America: Civil War is the disagreement over the freedom of the Avengers to act. This sets up characters having political discussions on the matter, which to me is sort of refreshing to see. After all, having so many films set in the MCU it’s great that this film discusses the repercussions of the past films. It also does a great job of giving both sides their perspective on the situation. Even though I side with Captain America in the film, I understand Tony’s perspective especially when the guilt is put on him after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. The political conversation, however, does create enough tension, which ultimately leads to our heroes fighting against each other. In any other superhero film this conflict may feel forced, but here it feels natural and there is a great action set-piece that’s well choreographed and just plain fun to watch. It’s one of those scenes where I can put the movie on and skip to that scene just so I can rewatch it. Yeah, it’s that good.
One thing that I was hesitant about before I saw Captain America: Civil War (other than if the Russo Brothers can make another great Captain America film) is the character of Captain America himself. Even though the film was called Captain America: Civil War, I was worried if this was truly going to be a Captain America film and not an Avengers film. Fortunately, the film, despite having a large quantity of characters, somehow managed to still make Steve Rogers the focus of the film. There are moments where others steal the spotlight, such as Spider-Man taking Captain America’s shield and Black Panther fighting certain characters, but when you break it down the heart and soul of this film is Steve himself. Here we see him go through conflict, a brief moment of loss, and struggle as he tries to do what’s best for his country and his friends at the same time.
Some minor flaws that Captain America: Civil War does have is there are moments that the special effects are noticeable (I.E. a scene involving green screen) and there are scenes where the plot does have too many convenient moments. Other than that, I truly love this film and I admire the risks they took by making it a political yet action driven film from beginning to end. It may be confusing to those who haven’t followed the MCU, but if you have then I definitely recommend watching it on Disney +. It is not as great as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but still a fantastic follow up.