MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ exceeds the hype

civil war review

Film: Captain America: Civil War
Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson

It’s safe to say that we’re right where Marvel wants us. The release of each of their new projects feels like an event. We stay up and binge watch Daredevil and Jessica Jones when they’re released on Netflix. We tune into Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to see what Agent Coulson is up to. We line up at midnight to see the films as soon as we can, and we even wait in rapt anticipation for the trailers for the movies to premiere on talk shows so we can dissect them. Most of the time, the project lives up to our expectations. Sure, not every release is fantastic, but none of them are bad; they’re all on the sliding scale of good to great, and we feel justified in our excitement. Captain America: Civil War is much more than that. Civil War justifies the hype and then some. Not only is it the best Marvel movie by a wide margin, it’s a phenomenal movie, period.

You know the basic details of the story by now: after the devastating events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the world decides that maybe superheroes running around with no supervision is not the best idea ever. To this end, the Sokovia Accords are drafted. This document would place the Avengers under the authority of the United Nations. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)—guilt-ridden from what he created in Ultron—is behind the idea, while Steve Rogers—concerned about political agendas and the reemergence of his pal Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan)—is not so thrilled with the Accords. The Avengers fracture, and a lot of fighting ensues.

That description may sound simple, but there’s a lot that happens in this movie. Not only are Joe and Anthony Russo in charge of furthering the story of Captain America and the Avengers, they’re also responsible for ushering in the new heroes joining us for Phase III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thankfully, the brothers are more than capable. Civil War starts out with a bang and never lets up. No scene is without purpose, and the rate at which events progress is staggering. That being said, the film never feels rushed or bloated, with all the story pieces coming together to create a tense, gripping narrative.


The film is also incredibly impactful on an emotional level. Almost every single character gets a moment that shows their depth and the Russos’ understanding of what makes these people work. Stark’s guilt is haunting and palpable, and Steve’s love for his friend Bucky and commitment to doing what he feels is right are heartwarming, which causes the scenes Evans and Downey share when they’re facing each other to be absolutely devastating. Chadwick Boseman is brilliant as T’Challa, perfectly conveying both the ferocity of a warrior in the Black Panther mantel and the weight of legacy and leadership of a king when the mask comes off.

While all of this might sound heavy and intense, there are moments of levity as well. Civil War is actually an incredibly funny movie. There were multiple times I laughed out loud at a particular quip or interaction, especially Paul Rudd’s hilariously starstruck Ant-Man and newcomer Tom Holland’s young Spider-Man. Holland is perfect in the role, as his Peter Parker is just as awkward and nervous as any of us would be if we were a high-schooler who just had unimaginable abilities thrust onto them. The Russo brothers have found the perfect balance of humor and sincerity; the film knows when to lighten the moment without turning the entire proceeding into a joke, thus losing the drama.

All of the aspects of the movie are just spectacular. The fight choreography looks fantastic, the cinematography is breathtaking, and the score builds on each moment without being intrusive. Civil War does a great job of making everything easy to follow, both visually and from a storytelling aspect. That big fight scene from all the trailers? It’s just as great as it looks, and it contains so many small moments between the heroes that emphasize that these characters are fighting for causes they truly and deeply believe in—not just because the movie requires it for plot advancement.

Captain America: Civil War is the best of what Marvel has to offer distilled into one movie. It’s fun, smart, beautiful to look at, hilariously funny, and it makes you emotionally invested in what’s happening. Regardless of whether you’re #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan, your plan of action is simple: go see this movie.


Gabe Aikins

Gabe Aikins resides in Michigan and writes with his trusty 18-year-old cat by his side. When not writing, he is more than likely working through his back catalogue of video games or reading a book. Follow him on Twitter to listen to him give opinions on pop culture and yell about sports.
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