By Henry Cooper (England)


Captain America: Civil War proves yet again that Marvel are the undisputed kings of the superhero genre with their latest effort dominating the box office once more.

Despite being 13 films into their well-established universe and 11 superheroes between which screen time must be divided the film shines as one of the finest in the series. It manages to tell a compelling and cohesive story with layered characters and individual motivations for their actions. This includes a couple of new players, some of whom make their big-screen debut here.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) head up the two opposing teams in the Civil War. Stark believes that The Avengers ought to be monitored and controlled under U.N. approved sanctions which fundamentally contradicts Rogers’ beliefs about corruption among those in power. Both of these polarised views harken back the two characters’ respective films; Stark first became Iron Man in 2008 to ensure control over the damage his weapons could do and Rogers spent his last solo outing foiling Hydra’s schemes after they infiltrated numerous global powers. While the story of Rogers’ previous eponymous film was more interesting, the overall experience of Civil War makes for an even more entertaining trip to the cinema.

It would have been easy for the directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, to make Rogers into anti-establishment freedom-fighter and have Stark be the government’s lackey for use as their subordinate. Instead the Russo brothers keep you invested in both sides of the argument with neither one being without merit. While neither Rogers or Stark are villains in this story there is one who has been manipulating events from behind the scenes. Unfortunately, this is one of the film’s weaker elements; the villain plot does slip into the universe well but it does not add much to the overall story and comes across as needless, acting as yet another disposable villain in the MCU’s rogues gallery. Despite not particularly adding much to the story the villain does not detract from the film either.


As well as the presence of a new villain, other new characters added into the roster are Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). They are both given their own well-integrated reasons for joining their teams which makes their addition feel natural and seamless, particularly with Black Panther. The inclusion of Spider-Man into the MCU has been long anticipated since its inception due to being one of the most popular and recognisable superheroes. Holland perfectly captures the awkwardness and innocence of a teenaged superhero, exceeding all prior incarnations of both Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Despite having limited screen time, Holland’s performance, particularly in the extraordinary action sequences, is one of the film’s standout roles and his characterisation of the ‘Web-Slinger’ is certainly a highlight.

As is to be expected with Marvel movies, the comedy in Civil War is spot on with simple quips and one-liners elevating otherwise serious situations in classic Marvel fashion: From the banter between The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) and The Falcon (Anthony Mackie); The Vision’s (Paul Bettany) struggles in understanding the nuances of human sociology; and the immaturity of the enthusiastic Spider-Man. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) also provides many welcome laughs, calling on the comedy actor’s considerable wealth of experience.

The Russos have delicately interwoven the characters’ individual conflicts and motives creating an exciting experience with an engaging story and grounded characters.

Rating: 5/5



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