The Marvel Cinematic Universe has nothing to prove and not much to lose. Last year, they proved they could get a decent amount of people to watch an Ant-Man movie. And this one’s no Ant-Man. It’s a sequel to their most critically acclaimed film, essentially an Avengers movie, and features one of the top two or three most famous superheroes of all time, Spiderman. But then again, the other three most famous heroes of all time: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, just came together in a film and were met with a lukewarm response. A sign of superhero fatigue or just a movie no one liked? Clearly, the latter.
Captain America: Civil War starts, like all good stories do, in Siberia in 1991. We see a brainwashed Bucky Barnes run a car off the road and then steal some bags. Next, we see the titular Captain America ‘n’ friends fighting Crossbones, a villain that The Winter Soldier spent an exorbitant amount of time setting up, and who apparently dies in a suicide bombing after ten minutes. Thankfully, the film gets a lot less nebulous after this point, and we actually see the Avengers infighting starting in the very next scene. What follows is two hours of drama, intrigue, and action. I still haven’t taken the whole movie in.
But contrary to what you’ve been reading on your Facebook feed, the film is not perfect. Oftentimes, the action scenes are shot really poorly, which is a complaint I also had about Winter Soldier. They’re shaky and hard-to-follow and discontinuous. It’s sad because there are a lot of really cool moments that are lost in the fray. Marvel’s never been great with villains, and while Baron Zemo is maybe a step above, say, Malekith or Killian, he’s still pretty unnecessary.
Those are really my only complaints, but the film has a lot to process, so I don’t really have a fully-formed opinion yet. The plot is pretty solid, the characters are all really well-executed, there’s a fair amount of funny moments, a few parts definitely blew me away. It also ends on a really interesting note, with Stark and Cap never really coming to a resolution and the Avengers team torn to bits. Rhodey can’t walk, most of them are criminals, and since the Avengers as a unit really doesn’t exist anymore, we don’t know what happens next. The post-credits scenes (yes, there are two) tease the upcoming Black Panther and Spider-Man films, and there’s a ton of other films on the way in the next couple years, so it seems like anything can and will happen in the MCU at this point.
I’m not ready to give Civil War a letter grade just yet, but it’s really good and you should see it.