Forget ‘Batman V Superman’ – this is how you make a hero-versus-hero movie.
‘Captain America: Civil War’ is a bold premise to begin with. Reeling from the destructive events of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, it looks as though the world governments are hell-bent on regulating superheroes… and The Sokovia Accords are the legislation that will let them.
Of course, Iron Man is already on board. He’s been suffering with PTSD since the events of ‘Avengers Assemble’ and is clearly affected by all the death and destruction in Sokovia. He certainly feels responsible… and believes the Sokovia Accords are necessary.
Captain America, on the other hand, isn’t convinced…
This is the turning point which kicks off the ‘Civil War’ part of the story.
But let’s be clear – ‘Civil War’ is no small rift. Much like the comic books, Marvel’s superheroes find themselves on different sides of the conflict… and The Avengers are fractured right down the middle.
It’s a gutsy move – after all, Marvel has to balance the conflict with the notion that they can put their differences aside by the time ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ comes around.
And somehow, ‘Captain America: Civil War’ manages it.
It’s perhaps due to the subtlety of the writing that ‘Civil War’ manages to walk that line. Tony Stark’s motivations are obvious at first – he’s driven by the realisation that his actions have caused the deaths of innocents… and clearly, he thinks regulating the actions of heroes is the answer.
But there’s a paradigm shift about two-thirds of the way into the film that changes all that.
It’s no longer about doing the right thing. Tony Stark becomes driven by something else entirely… and ‘Civil War’ makes this entirely believable and heart-wrenching at the same time.
And there’s plenty of awesome battles throughout.
“Sometimes, I just want to punch you in your perfect teeth,” Iron Man says to Cap.
And if you’ve ever wondered what would happen if he did, this is going to be quite the spectacle. The fight scenes are perfect throughout, with the most impressive taking place as a huge set piece at an international airport.
Iron Man and Captain America have gathered their forces. It’s time for the big showdown – the superhero battle to end all battles. And Marvel doesn’t disappoint. It’s everything we ever hoped for when ‘Captain America: Civil War’ was first announced. The fight scenes are great and allow ample room for each of our heroes to show off their abilities.
There’s even some iconic comic book team-ups thrown in for good measure.
(I personally squealed at the shot of Ant-Man riding one of Hawkeye’s arrows).
But it’s not just the action that’ll win you over – it’s a truly gripping story to boot. This is one of the big reasons ‘Batman V Superman’ failed so spectacularly… the story just wasn’t right. But ‘Captain America: Civil War’ completely nails it. The motivations are believable, and the conflict is more real than anything you’ve seen before.
And of course, the acting is superb throughout.
Robert Downey Jr. is on top form as Iron Man… in fact, this is the best we’ve seen him in a long time. For once, we finally get to see the heavier, more thoughtful side of the brash, over-the-top hero. And it works. Thankfully, he still has plenty of great one-liners, too.
And speaking of one-liners, Ant-Man gets his fair share.
He’s one of the newest additions to The Avenges, but Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man is an absolute joy to behold. In fact, he’s so awestruck at being in the presence of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes that he frequently geeks out like a pure fanboy.
And a running gag that nobody really knows who he is… well it’s played perfectly.
Another great addition is Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther. I have to admit, I wasn’t exactly excited by this hero – he’s not one I’ve followed in the comic books and only really knew of him via his interactions with other heroes.
But his appearance in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ has changed that.
Make no mistake – Black Panther is a total badass. He frequently goes head-to-head with Captain America and The Winter Soldier… and he totally owns every fight. And let’s face it – with his introduction to the MCU as well as a new comic book series, we’re going to see a lot more of Black Panther.
This is awesome.
But let’s not forget everyone’s friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man…
Tom Holland absolutely steals the show as both peter Parker and Spider-Man. I have to admit, I was saddened when Andrew Garfield was ditched. I was a big fan of his Spider-Man and will look back on the first ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ with fondness.
Tom Holland absolutely crushes it.
More than that, he’s the definitive big screen Spider-Man.
It’s almost as though the Peter Parker I grew up with has leapt off the comic book pages, right into the movie… and the new Spider-Man suit is the closest thing we’ve ever seen to those iconic comic book designs.
This is how Spider-Man is supposed to be.
His interactions with Iron man are fantastic… and it’s going to be a joy seeing Tom Holland return to the costume in the upcoming ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’. It’s definitely a big win for Marvel on this one.
But back to ‘Civil War’…
‘Captain America: Civil War’ offers up a gutsy, action-packed thrill ride… all while creating a compelling story with truly ‘realistic’ motives for all its characters. It’s funny, it’s thrilling, it’s incredibly well-written and at times it can be heart-breaking.
Most of all, ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is perfect. Absolutely perfect.
‘Captain America: Civil War’ is in cinemas on 29 April 2016.