Before embarking on what I knew was going to be a *BIG* summer movie, I grabbed the Kindle edition of Civil War collection (#1-7) and read it days before. I enjoyed the book and felt I was ready to make comparative notes with the movie when it came out. I won’t bother making point-for-point comparisons. It’s not required reading to understand the movie, but if you have a chance, pick up the book. It is a worthy read.
Captain America: Civil War seems only marginally about Captain America. It was a dividing of The Avengers. When The Avengers chase down Crossbones (Frank Grillo) and his team, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch causes unintentional death and destruction in Lagos which involves many allies and humanitarian workers from the country of Wakanda. The US government, with backing from the United Nations, draws up The Sokovia Accords (named for the massive showdown in Avengers: Age of Ultron.) which has the UN overseeing the operation and delegation of The Avengers team. Tony is on board, having been approached by one of the mothers of a fallen humanitarians in Sokovia. Captain America is reluctant, citing that having an organizational oversight committee would potentially reduce their efficacy as a team.
At the UN meeting for the signing, the building is bombed, killing the king of Wakanda, T’chaka.
When the bomber is identified as Bucky Barnes, AKA The Winter Soldier, the king’s son, T’Challa vows retribution.
That is just the tip of this massive iceberg. There were a few small pacing issues: the initial interaction between Tony Stark and Peter Parker (played by newcomer Tom Holland) went on a bit long, especially when you figure that Peter is one of the smarter characters in the Marvel Universe, on par with Vision, Scott Lang, Ultron, and Doctor Strange. The movie also touches on the beginning of a relationship between Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) as well as bringing Scott Lang/Antman (Paul Rudd) into the MCU fold since his standalone movie in 2015.
Marvel Studios did not pull any punches when it came to stunts and keeping the action going. For every 5 minutes of Tony talking, there seemed to be 10 minutes of Cap and crew running and trying to stop the newest threat, Helmut Zemo, who has been orchestrating the dissolution of the Avengers.
I did have a couple of issues with the movie, largely that the situation that kicked it all off: Scarlet Witch accidentally diverting an explosion towards a civilian building. I understand the gravitas they tried to give in the movie and Olsen’s shock and shame performance was wonderful. I believed that *she* believed it was a heavy moment. I just didn’t feel the slack-jawed “Oh…crap…” moment that I would have if it were in the Donner Superman movies or even Gwen Stacy from Amazing Spider-man 2. (And I even knew that one was coming. All comic-readers did.) They even tried to tie in Sokovia that they did everything they could and losses were still had. It’s a tough plot to push when, as summer moviegoers, we’re desensitized to wanton destruction and The Hulk rampaging through populated office buildings.
At the end of the day, I’m starting to feel the stretched limit of superhero movies. I’ll still go see them and enjoy them, but they are so pervasive now, it’s like the announcement of a new Die Hard or Disney movie: they have my money, but nothing beats the feeling and newness from the first Iron Man or the first time all of the Avengers pulled together on screen.
All-in-all the movie was still enjoyed and I’m happy to see it again, if not buy it when it’s finally released. The movie is PG-13 largely for violence. Whereas Batman V. Superman was dark and gritty, this was still an action-filled popcorn movie you should be able to take age-appropriate kids to.
Thanks for reading,