Phew – this is one chonky length film – it took me no less than three sittings to get through it. Luckily it’s well divided into Acts so it actually worked well and didn’t diminish whatsoever (in fact it might have been better)
Civil War is one of my favourite MCU movies, and possibly the only movie so far that I’ve only enjoyed more to watch again. And to be fair Civil War really is a great movie.
On reflection I suspect whoever is in charge about the MCU realized how much was riding on this film and made sure they really did put their all into it. There were quite a few reasons Civil War was a risky venture. Firstly we had the lackluster Age of Ultron, and something I didn’t mention in my review/rant is Age of Ultron ends awkwardly with Thor leaving, Iron man “tapping out” and us being presented with the ‘new’ avengers being Scarlett Witch, Vision, War Machine and Falcon. Absolutely nothing wrong with those characters, but they are not only minor, they also weren’t so much iconic or build-up and introduced as our core heroes. I may be showing my age but it reminded me of when X-files tried to replace Mulder and Scully and continue the series – just plain wrong. Then we had Ant-Man, which was again all good, but not quite as epic as what we had been used to from the MCU.
So to some extent at the point of Civil War I think fans were all wondering whether the MCU would survive a bunch of new characters and the familiar faces stepping back a little. When it came out that Civil War was mixing up the usual intro pattern and introducing TWO new characters (Spidey and Black Panther) it probably didn’t take too much genius observation to realize this story was going to be a risk.
And that’s just considering our characters, Civil War is of course about the Avengers splitting and fighting each other. From a storyline point of view the risk is incredible. A lot of people complained after that Civil War didn’t have enough ‘consequences’ yet I don’t think people realize just how tenuous this movie made the MCU, if they had been any softer people would not have found any tension to the story, but to be honest any harsher I think people would have had trouble watching their favourite characters again.
And Civil War is dark. Especially after watching the previous movies in close proximity, Civil War contains a lot more death in general, Tony Stark goes pretty haywire in distress and frustration and let’s not forget that final epic part of the fight between Cap and Iron Man where for a brief moment we actually thought Captain American was about to cave Tony’s skull in.
So what I’m trying to say is the Russo brothers do awesome, Civil War has some of the best action sequences (perhaps sometimes dragging out a little) most tense action, without losing some of the humour that is a must in a Marvel movie.
I do have a few gripes which I’ll share here. First of all the intro of Tony is a little forced and confusing. We see Tony’s backstory when he last saw his parents, which seems like its just shunted in to make the final fight happen. But the way its presented as some sort of memory hologram as part of some sort of therapy (that Tony just happens to be showing an entire lecture hall) its never quite clear whether he is trying to show some technology or his own past or what – it also sits awkwardly because the main plot tension throughout is the character’s position on ‘the accords’ then right at the end it suddenly becomes about Tony’s parents being killed by Winter Soldier. Far-be-it for me to suggest fixes, but the movies probably needed a little more tweaking, something like finding out that Zemo (the villain who masterminds the Avengers Civil War) has been harassing Tony with reminders of his parents death or suggestions that they were murdered not killed in an accident.
Then there are just a couple of weird complaints. The intro (maybe I just don’t like intros) of Cap’n and the current avengers is kinda irrelevant to the overall plot – an expended fight sequence chasing down some bio-weapon which really just exists to have Cap reminded of Bucky, and Scarlett Witch accidently kill some innocents (although can I point out she barely is responsible, Rummalo detonates a bomb and she simply fails to completely save everyone from it, if she had done nothing then Cap and probably many more people would be dead) It’s kinda annoying to sit through a decent chunk of action where we see a returning baddie iced in moments then the plot movies on to something completely different.
Second (and this really is a nitpick) Hawkeye has a lengthy monologue and conversation with Tony after most of Cap’s team are captures and imprisoned. It’s cynical and sarcastic and feels out of place for both Hawkeye’s character – he also appears to make a joke about Rhodey breaking his back? I dunno the scene seemed like it would make more sense for Hawkeye to perhaps guilt-trip Tony not snark about the situation.
And finally there are just a couple of odd moments where the ‘reaction shots’ of this film aren’t quite right (I’m not sure if I’m using this term correctly when the focus of a shot is given to a characters face amidst the action to see how they are feeling sort of thing). There is moment where Tony takes on Winter Soldier with nothing but an Iron Man glove on, almost gets shot and gets thumped to bits by Bucky, but half the time Tony is grinning through the scene?
Then there is the iconic helicopter scene, where Cap’n literally biceps a helicopter out of the sky, its pretty OTT, but what really kills it is a reaction shot of Bucky, who is supposed to be in Terminator mode, looking like well – watch the scene yourself and see what you make of it!
Also, Bilbo Baggins’ role in the film seems pointless and falls somewhat flat. He’s good in the upcoming Black Panther but not needed in this one.
Anywho, those are pretty minor gripes, this is a really good film and in my opinion marked a turning point in the MCU where the franchise went from being the seminal comic book movie franchise to the biggest franchise at all. Both the airport battle and the final fight between Cap’n and Iron Man are completely epic scenes that gives me the feels everytime I see them.