Film Review: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (spoiler-free)

Time to choose sides…

Starring:  Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Daniel Bruhl.

Directed by: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo / Written by: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely / 147 minutes

What’s it about?

When their latest mission goes awry, the Avengers are faced with United Nations regulation leading to opposing allegiances as a rift forms between Captain America and Iron Man…

In review

After eight years and a dozen film releases, Marvel Studios deliver yet another satisfying and crowd pleasing punch of entertainment in the form of Captain America: Civil War (based loosely on the game changing comic book series by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven), the third solo outing for Chris Evans’s Captain Steve Rogers.

Via its blend of sophisticated storytelling and popcorn blockbuster action, 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier presented a superior breed of a comic book superhero film and Civil War manages to repeat that successfully, placing these beloved Marvel characters bang in the centre of a Bourne-esque action thriller that reflects real world political and social concerns and explores the moral ramifications to the actions of this altruistic, yet unregulated group of special individuals.  In the wake of the events of The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, Steve Rogers – aka Captain America – and his fellow Avengers find their latest mission having devastating consequences, resulting in the United Nations imposing regulatory control on ‘Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’, the opposing viewpoints of Rogers and Tony Stark/Iron Man causing the rest of the group to divide their allegiances.

Fears that Civil War would merely be ‘Avengers 2.5’ are quickly allayed for despite the inclusion of a plethora of characters, including Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark/Iron Man, this is most definitely a Captain America film with an emotional core that is firmly centred on Steve Rogers, who finds his values and friendships threatened as he once again fights for the freedoms he has always sought to protect.  With the narrative of Civil War focusing largely on Rogers and the fallout from The Winter Soldier as he strives to help redeem and clear the name of best pal ‘Bucky’ Barnes and his straining relationship with Stark (with Evans and Downey Jr once again delivering reliably strong performances), there might be some trepidation as to how the film’s expanded roster of superhero characters is handled.  Thankfully, Civil War manages this with relative ease allowing each supporting character enough time and significance in proportion to their roles in the story with the likes of Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Vision, War Machine, Ant-Man and Hawkeye all given their moments to shine.  Yet it’s the introduction of Marvel characters Black Panther and – triumphantly – Spider-Man that will have fans most excited for Civil War and the good news is that they’re both great.  As T’Challa, Chadwick Boseman exudes the qualities of leadership in a restrained yet impassioned manner whilst evoking the requisite strength and physicality that the role of the heroic Black Panther demands.  Whilst T’Challa/Black Panther is more significant to the plot of Civil War, the sheer delight of seeing Spider-Man amidst the action with his fellow Marvel heroes makes his inclusion worth the while as Tom Holland infuses Peter Parker with all the awkwardness and fun that comes with the character.

Returning to directing duties are Anthony and Joe Russo, who helmed The Winter Soldier and will be tackling the behemoth Avengers: Infinity War two-parter.  The Russo brothers deliver here as much as they delivered on The Winter Soldier and Civil War feels similarly well-balanced between character, story and visuals.  There are some great set pieces (the highlight of which is an airfield showdown between ‘Team Cap’ and ‘Team Iron Man’ which stands amongst the best moments of any Marvel blockbuster) that the Russo’s inject with the same level of energy and heft they employed in The Winter Soldier, with the incredible choreography going hand in hand with superlative stunts and CGI spectacle.

Whilst it may not be as intricately plotted as The Winter Soldier, returning screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely still provide a smart and layered script with depth of character amongst its social and political debates, together with some credible motivations for Daniel Bruhl’s main antagonist.

Overall, Civil War is a deftly balanced film with a tone that offsets generally serious and thought provoking elements against well placed moments of humour and the fun and excitement audiences have come to expect from a Marvel Studios production that will once again satisfy the masses.

The bottom line:  Standing proudly alongside the very best of Marvel’s blockbusters, Captain America: Civil War is sure to excite and thrill audiences as it confidently hits all the right notes.

Captain America: Civil War is in cinemas across the UK now and opens in U.S. theatres on 6th May.

Whose side are you on? Former allies Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) face off in Marvel Studios' 'Captain America: Civil War'.

Whose side are you on? Former allies Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) face off in Marvel Studios’ ‘Captain America: Civil War’.

18 thoughts on “Film Review: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ (spoiler-free)

  1. Great review! I really enjoyed Captain America Civil, its one of the best films that Marvel has done. It was such an exciting film, some darker themes than we are used to from Marvel, but still lots of fun in places. Awesome 🙂

    • Cheers Paul, I really like the slightly darker tone Marvel have taken with this, Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron. They’ve managed to explore more sophisticated, mature themes without sacrificing the fun and excitement we’ve come to expect from a Marvel film.

      • Yes, I think Marvel pitch their films just right. The slightly darker tone of the storylines works really well, especially in Civil War, and they still make the adventure fun as well. Brilliant film 🙂

      • Yeah, only thing is Infinity War Part 1 seems so far away but at least we’ve got Doctor Strange, Spider-Man and Guardians 2 before then…and Black Panther too? Or does that come out in between IW Parts 1 and 2? I lose track haha!

      • That’s right, Infinity War is long way off, but loads of great film s to look forward to in the meantime. I can’t remember when Black Panther is released either, will have to check as well LOL 🙂

  2. Pingback: Film Review: –

  3. Glad to see you enjoyed this one so much! While I liked it quite a bit, I didn’t love it like The First Avenger or The Winter Soldier. Personally, I felt it was Avengers 2.5 with too little Steve Rogers 😦 Aside from that, it came together well!

    • I’m a big fan of First Avenger and Winter Soldier too, Civil War was such a game changing story from the comics and I was just thrilled to see it adapted so successfully for the big screen.

      • I am stoked to hear that it was adapted successfully, and I am interested to see where everything goes from here. Fascinating times we live in xD

  4. Hello Chris! Your famous alter ego did a nice job man 😉 It definitely hit all the right notes, I actually like this more days after I saw it so I ended up giving it a higher rating. Man I have such respect for the Russos!

    • Hey Ruth, yep it’s always great to see my avenging alter ego in action haha! I totally agree with you about the Russos, so glad they’ll be taking on the two Avengers: Infinty War films!

  5. Great review man. Definitely agree with you on every single point. I thoroughly enjoyed Black Panther (his character was brilliant, and the accent was so… royal) and Spidy! I was really craving to see Spidy on the big screen again, my favorite Marvel character, and now I’m definitely happy to see Holland nail it. I’m excited to see Spider-Man Homecoming and see what direction it’s going to take. I wonder if he might even be back for Infinity War (not sure if the 2nd post-credit scene was referring to his return in a solo movie or in future Marvel movies, like Avengers). Great review again man! 😀

    – Lashaan

    • Thank you my friend, glad you enjoyed Civil War as much as I did! I’m pretty sure the post credits scene is a lead in to Homecoming as that’s due next summer…but I’m sure Spidey will be turning up in Infinity War as well!

      Spidey’s always been one of my faves as well, along with Batman and Iron Man he was one of the first comic characters I loved…and still do 🙂

  6. Enjoyed reading your post! I really like how Marvel introduces new superheroes that I know little or nothing about and makes me excited for them. Vision and Black Panther are great examples of that, of course Guardians of the Galaxy are another. I literally got chills when seeing Black Panther in full costume and I loved that chase sequence.

    • Thanks very much! I agree with way Marvel introduce new characters, I was aware of Black Panther and I’m looking forward to his solo film (as well as checking out some of the comics). Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my review 🙂

  7. A great review…maybe in years to come this will get all our recognition as the Empire Strikes Back of the MCU, for now I’m just holding back my praise until I’ve seen it a few more times and I’ve finally unwound all those moments that I wasn’t so sure of (it didn’t help my concentration that a restless kid was fidgeting a few aisles away from me).

    • Cheers Gareth, arg I hate that – I almost had the same experience during X-Men: Apocalypse!

      Yeah, I think by the time we get to Infinty War Part 2 and the first iteration of the MCU comes to a close, it’ll lend some perspective. Haha, it’s funny that you mention Empire which is referenced by Spidey in the film!

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