PG-13 Dir: Anthony and Joe Russo | Marvel (Disney) | 2h 27min
Plot: What’s it about?
Consequences have actions. This is a central theme in Captain America: Civil War. The much loved, latest film in the Marvel canon. Sure, The Avengers have protected the world, but what about the lives lost, the countless destruction that can inadvertently take the lives of innocent people? Should they be limitless in their actions, or should they be controlled? No matter where you stand, the film takes that subject on very strongly. The film follows last year’s Age of Ultron, but feels more like a sequel to the previous Captain America outing. While I enjoyed Ultron a good bit, Civil War was much better received by critics and audiences. You probably heard countless love from everyone you talked to about it. I can say that it’s always been the Captain America films that have left me wanting more. After the first film ended with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) in the modern world, I couldn’t wait to see how he’d adapt. I had a similar reaction after Winter Soldier as I was anxious to see where the characters would go from there. I can say that Civil War didn’t have as positive an impact on me as all the glowing reviews, but it’s still a very worthy film, and promises even better things in future films.
I would be here all day if I had to recap the events in this film as well as prior films as there’s quite a bit going on here. That isn’t to say the film is ever confusing or convoluted, but it is a busy film. We begin with a quick prologue set in 1991 where we see the Winter Solider being brainwashed then causing an automobile accident and killing those in the car. Cut to present day where we follow Captain America and his team on their latest mission. It’s not long after this event that we see a meeting with The Avengers that the United Nations wants to pass a bill that will essentially control and micromanage the team. It’s here that the big divide occurs. Some of the team (Tony Stark, Natasha Romanoff, and War Machine to name a few) agree to this and think they should be contained. While others, including Captain America aren’t too keen on being controlled. The film makes a strong case for both sides of the argument. One big reason for Tony Stark comes from an encounter with a woman who lost her son during one of the attacks. As if all this wasn’t enough, we get another threat in Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl). We learn his reasons for wanting revenge on the Avengers, but I won’t reveal them here. A big surprise here comes from the appearance of Spider-Man, played here by newcomer Tom Holland. This is the first time this character has been featured in a film with the other Avengers. I’m still unsure how I feel about Holland, but he’s definitely not bad in the role.
While Civil War is certainly a solid film, and one well worth seeing, I do have some issues with it. Being part of a well-established line of interconnected films can sometimes restrict the films from taking too many risks. This is certainly a daring film that deals with real life consequences, but I can’t help but feel it’s still holding back. It’s as if they don’t want to take too many chances with the characters in fear that that’ll kill off future films. We build towards what should be an epic battle between the Avengers, but when that moment arrives, it resorts to characters continually making wisecracks. I don’t mind bits of humor, but the film earns this climactic moment, but seems to make light of it once it arrives. It needs to trust the audience more rather than stoop to trying to make us laugh. I also have an issue with pacing in this film. It’s never boring, mind you, but every time it feels like it should be building toward something, it pulls back and puts on the brakes. I don’t want to come down too hard on the film, but I also don’t feel it’s the flawless film that the reviews would have you believe. Indeed, there are quite enough well-staged action sequences, and the very premise is intriguing. It just didn’t have quite the impact on me that I expected when I first saw it. I’m still anxious to see where the Russo brothers take these characters from here.
Video: How’s it look?
It should come as no surprise that the transfer here is top notch. The effects are well rendered, the print is flawless, colors all spot-on as well. The suits featured in the film display strong details as well. Flesh tones are nice and smooth with no saturation. We’re taken all across the globe through the film, and it’s never less than pleasing to the eyes. It’ll be sure to please fans of the film. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Equally strong is the DTS HD track. Even if you don’t have the most elaborate or latest sound system, this track will get the job done and then some. Whether it’s the big action sequences or the quieter moments, it’s never less than satisfying. There’s a rich sounding feel to the track that really engages the viewer. You might want the remote handy as you’ll be adjusting it during the louder moments. This track is a good compliment to the strong transfer and should satisfy fans.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely deliver scene-by-scene insight and explain the storytelling challenges they faced creating the third installment of the Captain America franchise.
- United We Stand, Divided We Fall – The Making of CaptainAmerica: Civil War Part 1 & Part 2 – As the tension mounts, sides are chosen and lines drawn. Learn more about the characters on each side—from Captain America and Iron Man to the latest recruits. In this complete behind-the-scenes look at a landmark in the Marvel saga, we’ll examine their stories through exclusive footage and interviews and discover just what went into selecting the Super Hero teams, filming the epic action sequences and introducing Black Panther and Spider-Man to the MCU.
- CaptainAmerica: The Road to Civil War – Explore the First Avenger’s fascinating evolution from loyal soldier to seasoned, conflicted hero who questions authority.
- Iron Man: The Road to CivilWar – From Gulmira to Sokovia, delve into the development and evolution of one of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Gag Reel– Break the tension of this high-stakes conflict with some hilarious outtakes featuring the lighter side of your favorite Super Heroes.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes – Check out never-before-seen footage that didn’t make the final cut of Captain America: Civil War.
- Open Your Mind: Marvel’s Doctor Strange – Exclusive Sneak Peek – Go behind and beyond the scenes as Doctor Strange makes his journey to the big screen.
The Bottom Line
I want to make one thing clear: I did enjoy this film. I just don’t feel it’s quite as good as a lot of the reviews would have you believe. My biggest gripe is when the big showdown occurs, it resorts to cheap gags. I have other issues as well, but this is still a smart and very well made superhero film that hints at bigger things to come. The film comes recommended.