Entertainment Value: 10/10
Critical Value: 7.5/10
This film is off to a great start at the box office and with critics, which is no surprise. I may be a little tardy to the party but here is my review of one of 2016’s most anticipated films.
As a brief overview, Civil War revolved around a new set of laws known as the Sokovia Accords, which are a proposed measure to monitor and register all superheroes. These accords are proposed after numerous incidents of collateral damage, from New York in Avengers 1 to Sokovia in Avengers 2.
The Avengers and superheroes as a whole, are then split on whether to support or propose the act. While Tony Stark believes the laws will help people feel safer and make heroes more accountable, Steve Rogers believes that governmental control of superheroes will ultimately lead to superheroes being puppets to government agendas. The conflict between these two eventually escalates into all out war between Team Cap and Team Iron Man.
I will say that reading the comic does affect my perception of this film. I know some people may say that is unfair, but we must realize that any adaptation will get compared to its source material. I will not tear the film apart simply because it didn’t follow the comics page by page but there are some things the comics touched on that I would have loved to see in the film. However, Civil War is still a great film. I have heard many people say it is the best MCU film or even the best superhero film ever. I would disagree with the assertion that it is the best superhero film ever, and in terms of the MCU it is still beat by The Winter Soldier.
Firstly, the film is ridiculously entertaining. The running time flew by and the action sequences continue to get better with the Captain America films. I felt that every character truly got a chance to shine, whether they were older characters like The Falcon and Bucky, or newer ones such as The Black Panther.
The film does a great job of seamlessly integrating the different characters and bringing them together. This was one of my biggest worries and it was good to see that for the most part, character introductions didn’t seem rushed. The one exception is Spider-Man. Spider-Man is my second favourite comic book character so I wanted to make sure I was objective about his appearance in the film. His intro and the wrap up of his storyline did strike me as a bit tacked on. From what I have heard, the Russos said they always planned on Spider-Man being a part of the film. However, Spider-Man’s scenes could have been cut out and the film would still pretty much be the same. A character that is integrated better is The Black Panther. Boseman plays the character with an African accent, and I am probably not suited to judge how well he pulls it off. The accent did seem to make his dialogue more stilted when the script required him to speak in longer sentences. Despite those criticisms, I will say that Spider-Man and The Black Panther were both amazing additions to the universe and I look forward to seeing their solo films.
The performances are good for the most part, which was something I wasn’t worried about. While I did criticize Boseman’s accent and delivery, Elizabeth Olsen takes the cake for worst accent. Her character’s Sokovian accent comes and goes at will, just like it did in Avengers: Age of Ultron. One criticism I do have for the film is that I felt certain plot threads could have been developed more. Scarlet Witch’s character is one that I felt could have been fleshed out more, especially since her character does play an important role, arguably being the main impetus for the conflict between Iron Man and Captain America. Obviously that is expected when a film incorporates this many characters but I can’t dismiss underdeveloped plot threads simply because the film has a lot of characters. This will always be a concern for any ensemble cast. Overall, Civil War handles it well but Winter Soldier still beats it due to the cohesiveness of its story.
While the humor in some Marvel film falls flat, I always thought the Captain America films did a better job balancing it with seriousness. Generally, the Cap movies also had better written jokes. That holds true here as well but there are times when the humor fell flat. One example (very minor spoiler)- Stan Lee’s mailman character delivers a package for Tony Stark but says “Tony Stank” instead. That is the joke, that his name was spelt as Tony Stank. While my audience was dying with laughter, I sat there thinking that the joke was the definition of kiddy humour. Fortunately, jokes like that are pretty far and few in between. Spider-Man and the other characters help to add more enjoyable comic relief that fits their characters.
The end is somewhat open ended but gives a satisfying conclusion to the film, while also raising questions about the future of the Avengers. I did have an issue with the ending fight scene. Not due to the fight itself, but the impetus for the fight. As a minor spoiler, the last fight scene relies on two different characters being at the same location at the same time. However, it brings up the question of how the villain knew that the two characters would appear at the same time.
However, that did not ruin my enjoyment of the film and I still give Captain America: Civil War a 7.5/10 for critical value and a 10/10 for entertainment value.