SPOILERS: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR - 6 Things It Got Right And 4 Things It Got Wrong
Captain America: Civil War is arguably Marvel's best movie to date, but even instant classics like this have their flaws! Here is what did and didn't work in the studio's first Phase 3 release...
I called Captain America: Civil War Marvel's best movie in my review, and a little under 24 hours after seeing it, I don't regret that assessment in the least. While it's definitely a release which demands multiple viewings (for the airport battle alone), I couldn't help but single out more than a few flaws after watching, proving that not even the best comic book adaptation is ultimately 100% perfect.
However, for every moment or creative decision which didn't work here, there are many that did. Captain America: Civil War works much better than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but like that divisive release, there are a lot of things here which are sure to get fans talking, hence why I've broken down all of the key scenes and story decisions which both worked perfectly and possibly fell flat.
Captain America: Civil War is released in the vast majority of international territories later this month before reaching North America on May 6th. With that in mind, I'm sure many of you are hoping to avoid any big plot reveals, and while I don't touch on every story beat and major twist here, I won't be offended if you decide against reading any further because MAJOR SPOILERS do indeed follow.
Did Work: Black Panther's Story Arc
Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa steals the show in Captain America: Civil War, and not just because his fight scenes are so damn cool. His quest for vengeance as he looks to take out Bucky for the apparent murder of his father is a facinating one to follow, though it's his actions when he realises he was wrong that really define him as a great character.
Realising he can no longer let that hatred consume him, Panther makes a surprising decision to save the life of Zemo (the true culprit) and embark on the path of being a true hero. Considering the fact that T'Challa is just a supporting character, it's to the Russos' credit that they manage to make him such an integral part of the plot, and he never feels shoehorned in. Black Panther's role just works, and don't be shocked to come out as his biggest fan!
Didn't Work: Lack Of Ramifications
I'm saying this didn't work, but I have to blame myself to at least some extent as I went in thinking that Steve Rogers was going to die just like in the comic books. He doesn't, instead deciding to leave behind his shield after defeating Iron Man (who tells him that he doesn't deserve to wield it after covering up the fact that Bucky murdered Howard and Maria Stark).
After Steve breaks the members of Team Cap out of The Raft, Tony receives a letter and burner phone telling him that he can contact them for help at any time, and while this is a great ending, it doesn't feel like the status quo is changed all that much. Yes, The Avengers have been disassembled, but it's obvious they'll be back together when Thanos comes calling and that Steve will get his shield back. Even Rhodey - left paralysed after that airport battle - is up and walking by the end, and while the MCU has been changed, it doesn't feel like quite enough.
Did Work: The Amazing Spider-Man
Tom Holland's Spider-Man is spectacular. The scenes between Peter Parker, Tony Stark, and his "hot Aunt" May are a highlight, as is the footage we see of him swinging around New York City in his homemade costume and the way the origin story is handled. However, it's when he suited up that things get really good.
After taking on Bucky and The Falcon, Spidey ends up going toe to toe with pretty much every member of Team Cap, and his scenes with Steve are downright superb, especially when they talk about where in New York they're from. However, it's the way he takes out Giant-Man which will really stick with you, especially as both he and the scene hilariously pay homage to The Empire Strikes Back. He may be a CGI character, but this is the Spider-Man we've all been waiting years to see.
Didn't Work: Goodbye Crossbones
With a movie as big as Captain America: Civil War, there are unfortunately quite a few casualties in terms of screentime. Pepper Potts is written out in a way every bit as unsatisfying as Jane Foster in Avengers: Age of Ultron, while Martin Freeman's Everett Ross really could have been played by anyone (hopefully rumours of a much larger role in Black Panther are correct).
It's Crossbones who suffers the most though because despite being integral to the plot - he wears a suicide vest which ends up causing the tragedy which leads to the introduction of the Sokovia Accords - killing him off after a single fight scene with Captain America feels like a huge waste. While he would never have been lead villain material, it's hard to escape the feeling that much more could have been done with Brock.
Did Work: Double Agents
The reasons each hero decides to align themselves with Team Cap or Team Iron Man are handled really well, especially as many of them have doubts about what they're doing. Despite working for the government, Sharon Carter (finally revealed as Peggy's neice, or possibly grandneice) doesn't hesitate to provide Steve with intel or his and The Falcon's costumes after General Ross confiscates them.
The romance between these two also works really well, and is hopefully something we'll see more of in the near future. Black Widow taking out Black Panther to allow Captain America and Bucky to escape is also an awesome moment, and one which makes sense considering the fact that she and Steve share so much history. She goes back to Iron Man, but this proves to be an integral moment.
Did Work: Captain America v Iron Man
Captain America and Iron Man trade blows during that incredible airport battle sequence, but it's their final fight in an old HYDRA base which is the one everybody will be talking about for the foreseeable future.
Violent, deeply personal, and packed full of the kind of mind-blowing moments which will live on in gif form forever as soon as the Blu-ray hits, this battle makes for a satisfying way to wrap up the movie and bring the friendship between these two to an end (something it's clear they're both saddened by after Steve delivers a blow which could have killed Tony, but instead just shuts down his suit).
The action throughout is incredible though, and there were many moments when the audience loudly reacted to what was happening on screen at times in my screening; it's really that good!
Didn't Work: Zemo's Plan
Zemo is a very good villain and much less forgettable than those we've seen in some of the other Marvel movies. The door being left open for some sort of return is a smart decision as it means that the opportunity to see him suit up in a future movie is now there, but there's no denying that his plan is flawed.
He wants to destroy The Avengers from the inside by pitting Captain America against Iron Man, but how can he be so sure using Bucky will accomplish that? How did he know Iron Man would also decide to show up when Steve and Bucky track him down to that HYDRA base and end up seeing the video tape of his parents being murdered? I'm probably making it sound more convoluted than what it actually was because it really does work in many ways, but it's ultimately far from perfect.
Did Work: The Humour
I really enjoy the humour in Marvel's movies, but there's no denying that they're sometimes a little heavy handed with that (Iron Man 3 was pretty much a full on comedy). Captain America: Civil War thankfully finds the right balance, and there are a lot of big laughs here. The vast majority come courtesy of Ant-Man and Spider-Man, though The Falcon and Bucky end up being surprisingly hilarious at times too.
Iron Man's one liners are here in full force, but it never feels like too much or ruins otherwise serious moments. Characters who shouldn't really be cracking jokes given what they're dealing with - Black Panther for example - don't either, and overall, the Russos have really nailed the tone which the Marvel Cinematic Universe should have. Fear not, this isn't another action comedy!
Didn't Work: Bucky's Fate
The mid-credits scene for Captain America: Civil War features Bucky deciding that until his brain can be fixed (he's still susceptible to being brainwashed by HYDRA, something Zemo accomplishes earlier in the film), he wants to once again be frozen. It's Black Panther who puts him to sleep in Wakanda, and unless we're going to see those two team-up in the former's solo movie come 2018, this is a very unsatisfying way to take The Winter Soldier off the board.
He clearly can't be part of Avengers: Infinity War as Iron Man would more than likely just try to take him out again, so freezing him just feels like a bit of a lazy way to get rid of Bucky until Captain America 4 rolls around. Still, at least we get a fleeting glimpse of Wakanda during these scenes, and well, it looks downright awesome so far.
Did Work: Phase 3 Set Up
I complained earlier about Captain America: Civil War's ending not having huge ramifications, but there's no denying that it does a great job of setting up Phase 3. The whole thing of Steve Rogers and his team being criminals who Iron Man has no other choice than to call back into action may be a little predictable, but hell, the same thing happened in the comics during Siege and this shakes up Phase 3 enough to make that moment in Avengers: Infinity War a satisfying payoff.
After seeing this movie, Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming are two of my most highly anticipated upcoming Marvel movies, so they've succeeded there too, while Ant-Man being on the run from the government will shake up his sequel in a big way. Like Captain America: The Winter Soldier before it, this release has set the tone for Phase 3, and while *I* may have been expecting a "bigger" ending, you can't fault them for that.
Have you seen Captain America: Civil War yet? If so, what do you think were its best and worst moments? As always, let us know your thoughts in the usual place.
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