10 Thoughts on Captain America: Civil War
Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave recently, you probably know that Captain America: Civil War opened this past weekend. The 13th movie in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe launched onto the silver screen to the tune of $181+ Million over its opening weekend. Since viewing the movie on Friday night, I’ve had some time to reflect on Steve Rogers’ 3rd movie and everything that it did right. So let’s dive right in, here are 10 Thoughts on Captain America: Civil War. Warning: There will be spoilers in this article, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, read no further.
10 Thoughts on Captain America: Civil War
1. Marvel Knows What They Are Doing
This is the 13th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Captain America’s 3rd movie. After that many superhero films, you might start to wonder if Marvel movies were going to start getting a tad stale. Well fear not, because Civil War was nothing short of spectacular. I’d go so far as to put it in the Top 3 of all the Marvel movies for me. That number might even climb after subsequent viewings. But suffice to say, even after more than a dozen movies, Captain America: Civil War delivers treats its audiences to plenty of superhero action, humor, an engaging story, and excellent pacing. It’s absolutely worth seeing in the theater.
2. The politics of the Superhero are center stage.
The overarching plot of Captain America: Civil War is the question of whether or not these super powered beings need to be regulated. On one side you have Tony Stark, riddled with guilt, spearheading the Sokovia Accords that will basically put the Avengers under control of the U.N. On the other side, you have Steve Rogers, who doesn’t trust that the U.N. will always have the world’s best interest at heart. It’s, after all, made of people, who can be corrupt (shocking right) and have their own agendas. The great thing about this plot arc is that no one is really right…or wrong. There are arguments to be made on both sides and Captain America: Civil War will have you leaving the theater discussing with your friends whose side you think is the right way. The movie never answers that question for you, because, it really can’t. And that’s OK.
3. The airport battle was amazing.
Before Captain America: Civil War, the end of the first Avengers movie was my absolute favorite superhero battle. Great teamwork, pulse pounding action, and a potentially heroic sacrifice. But the film makers in Civil War gave us an absolute treat with the airport battle. You have a dozen heroes on the screen, each given some time to shine, which in itself could not have been easy. There are fantastic team-ups, such as Hawkeye shooting Ant-Man on one of his arrows. Or you have Spider-Man, Iron Man and War Machine taking down Giant Man (loved his surprise appearance) like an AT-AT Walker. The team-ups all seem to have some great synergy with each other making this a truly epic brawl. But real treat is that the battle is just SO MUCH FUN. It’s every comic book fan’s dream to see how these heroes play out against each other and Marvel did not disappoint.
4. Real consequences start to appear
The airport battle also gets pretty real at the end. War Machine is shot down by an errant laser beam from Vision. It destroy Rhodes’ power source, causing him to fall to earth. We later learn that Rhodey has basically fractured his spine, potentially ending his days as a hero. Most of the other heroes survived with just bruises and cuts, but War Machine was the real casualty of the battle. In a world were the heroes rarely have these kinds of issues, it’s nice to see some serious consequences of the actions they people take. While no one wants to see the Black Widow die, it’s a breath of fresh air to see that everyone isn’t immune to the dangers they put themselves in.
5. Captain America defeats Iron Man, but they both lose.
The final battle between Captain America, Iron Man, and The Winter Soldier is a great piece of action. At this point, all of our heroes are battered, bruised, and running on fumes. But Tony, fresh off the knowledge that Bucky killed his parents, flies into a rage. Eventually Bucky is taken out of the battle when Tony rips off his cybernetic arm, leaving just Cap and Iron Man to duke it out. Captain America “wins” the battle when he uses his iconic shield to crush Tony’s power source. Steve Rogers walks away with Bucky, but the only real winner was Baron Zemo who got his wish. The Averages died that day.
6. Captains Romance with Sharon Carter is a bit forced.
Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), first seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is back in Civil War. She has a connection to Steve both from her assigned duty watch his apartment and also because her mother was Peggy Carter (cap’s old flame). However, Sharon and Steve’s romance seems to fly way to quickly and it was almost predictable that they’d eventually kiss. Even more telling is that when they finally did kiss, the moment is clearly overshadowed by the reaction of Bucky and Falcon sitting in their comically small car.
7. The Stan Lee cameo was great.
The only thing more certain in a Marvel movie than a post-credits scene is a Stan Lee cameo. This time, he works as a delivery driver dropping off a package for a one “Tony Stank”. This bit of comedic timing helps bring some levity to a moment when Rhodey is attempting to walk around Tony’s house using a set of exoskelton legs. It’s a serious and somewhat sad scene, but the timing of Lee’s cameo (and Rhodey’s reaction) as absolutely perfect. It injects just the right amount of humor and keeps the movie moving forward.
8. Spider-Man steals the show.
One of the reasons that I completely loved the airport battle was Spider-Man (Tom Holland). We’ve had 5 Spider-Man movies to date, all at varying degrees of quality. But Holland’s portrayal of the “web head” is really the closest its ever felt to the comic books. He a scrawny kid from New York who is clearly a fish out of water in this battle. His patented humor and wisecracks are on display, which feels like it comes more from his uncomfortableness at being in over his head than the “I’m better than you” nature of his predecessors. Spider-Man was clearly added to the movie late (due to the deal brokered between Sony and Marvel), but he definitely makes use of his limited screen time. He’s a geek, a genius, and is star-struck when he meets all the other heroes. It’s not hard to love him. And his crack about The Empire Strikes Back being an “old movie” had me in tears.
9. The support cast works well with their limited screen time.
While Captain America gets the most screen time (it is his movie after all), the story really revolves around Steve, Tony, and Bucky and their issues. However, there are tons of other heroes in this movie and they all do really well with their screen time. The Vision and Scarlett Witch form a nice duality with him being a “perfect being”, yet limited in his understanding of the human nature (watching him cook was fantastic). While Scarlett Witch is young, hotheaded, and almost raw emotion. Their relationship is definitely awkward, but it was still entertaining to watch them interact.
The introduction of Black Panther went smoothly and hopefully with spare us an origin story when he gets his upcoming feature movie. I could tell that T’Challa definitely has the weight of his nation on his shoulders and actor Chadwick Boseman did a great job in the role. He’s serious, powerful, yet also thoughtful. His handling of Baron Zemo at the end was perfect. He doesn’t allow him to end his life and forces Zemo to live out the rest of his miserable his existence in jail. The Black Panther also lets Bucky and crew into his home nation to escape their jail sentence.
Even Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) did a great job with his minimal screen time. Not only was he perfect as Ant-Man (especially when he got inside Tony’s armor and acted as his conscience), but we were also treated to our first appearance of Giant Man, who immediately proceeded to cause all kind of havoc in the battle.
10. What does Bucky frozen in ice mean?
In the mid credits scene, viewers are taken to Wakanda, Black Panther’s homeland. There, Captain America and friends are hiding out (after Rogers broke his allies out of prison) from the rest of the world. Rogers does tell Tony that if he needs him, he’ll be there (setting up their return for Infinity War). But more importantly, Bucky makes a decision to freeze himself until he can be deprogrammed. We all know that The Avengers Infinity War is on deck soon, so does that mean that Bucky won’t be making an appearance? That could make a convenient excuse for him not to appear in the movie. Then again, who knows, maybe it will be a reason for the other heroes to invade Wakanda (to recapture him). Time will tell on this one.