After two years of anticipation, I finally saw Captain America: Civil War a few weeks ago on opening night, Thursday, May 5th. I’m not ashamed to admit that my heart was racing with excitement that entire afternoon, and needless to say my first screening of Civil War definitely did not disappoint. Nor did the second. Or the third.
I’m about to spoil everything about Civil War, so if you still haven’t seen the movie, STOP READING now. Also what’s wrong with you? Go watch it! 😉
Prior to Civil War, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was my favourite Marvel movie, despite the fact that Steve Rogers is far from my favourite Marvel movie character (those biceps though!), and Bucky Barnes is one of my least favourite. I loved Winter Soldier for its tight story and exciting action sequences, which I felt Civil War one-upped at every turn.
It also helps that the creative team behind The Winter Soldier – directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely – reunited for Civil War, and will do so again for the next two Avengers movies due in 2018 and 2019.
Despite being packed with Marvel heroes, Civil War feels cohesive and well balanced. Every character justifies their inclusion in the storyline, and they all receive fairly equal screen time. Some characters receive more prominent arcs than others, but it’s all seamlessly tied together by the overarching political turmoil of the Sokovia Accords, and the continuing drama of Cap and Bucky. Those two plotlines firmly establish Civil War as a Captain America story, with the added depth of an important Tony Stark-centric subplot.
While dramatic and, at times, extremely emotional, Civil War is simply a fun movie, one filled with a huge amount of pay-off for Marvel fans. The big airport fight unites the largest group of Marvel heroes we’ve seen on screen at one time, and it outshines both Avengers movies. It’s strange watching a group of good guys fight each other, yet I can’t watch that scene without a giant grin on my face; it’s just so cool, and ironically one of the funniest scenes in the whole movie. After years of setup, the pay-off of seeing all of these characters together is incredibly satisfying.
Speaking of things that are incredibly satisfying: Black Panther and Spider-Man completely stole the show for me. I’m one of those people that knew very little about Black Panther before his arrival in this movie, but I’m glad I know him now. T’Challa is a character unlike anyone else in the MCU; he’s regal, extremely confident and commanding, yet humble. As Black Panther he’s calculated, agile, and bad-ass. I’m excited to see more of T’Challa, and planning to read some Black Panther comics ahead of his solo movie in 2018.
Marvel’s new Spider-Man is nothing short of perfection. Turns out I have a deep childhood love for Spidey that’s been reawakened by Civil War, and I’m so thrilled that Peter Parker is finally home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland was a great casting choice; he’s nerdy enough to play young Peter, yet he can pull off looking like a hero next to Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans. Holland’s delivery of Spider-Man’s trademark wit was spot-on, and that new suit is gorgeous in action (though I’m a little bummed the suit was 100% CGI, and hopeful that won’t be the case for Homecoming.)
I’ve probably gone on too long already, and I haven’t even scratched the surface! Zemo was a great choice as the villain. His motivations were clearly explained (although, really, was everyone in Sokovia when Ultron attacked?) and the super soldier fake-out was a twist that I honestly didn’t see coming but which saved the end of the film from going overboard. Scarlet Witch and Vision’s burgeoning romance is intriguing; I didn’t think the MCU would go there but now that they have I hope it’s leading to something big in future films.
Plus: Captain America DIDN’T DIE! Thank goodness. I’m not one of those fans who believes you can’t do Civil War properly without killing Cap. Technically The Death of Captain America was not part of the main Civil War storyline in the comics, and it would have made no sense to kill the MCU’s Steve Rogers (again) right before the huge culmination of Avengers: Infinity War. Plus, I’m sure Marvel didn’t want to risk angering the general audience of moviegoers who love Chris Evans as Captain America and have never read a comic book. Those people (and their wallets) are important to Disney.
Ending Civil War with The Avengers completely fractured sets up an interesting jumping off point for the soon-to-be-retitled Avengers: Infinity War Part 1. When Thanos finally arrives, I’ll bet Tony will be glad he still has Steve’s number.
I’ll leave you with my current ranking of every Marvel Cinematic Universe film, from best to worst:
- Captain America: Civil War
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- The Avengers
- Iron Man
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Iron Man 3
- Iron Man 2
- Thor: The Dark World
- The Incredible Hulk