After the collateral damage caused by the previous efforts of the Avengers proves to be too much for the world’s governments, the United Nations comes together to introduce the Sokovia Accords, a resolution that will turn the superheroes into a task force supervised and directed by the UN itself. But not all our heroes are ready to blindly follow the commands of an organization that could just as easily have an agenda like S.H.I.E.L.D. (or Hydra) before it, and that’s what leads to the titular superhero conflict in Captain America: Civil War.
The result is a sharp, astounding, action-packed summer blockbuster that’s the kind of superhero movie you’ve been waiting to see your whole life. This is a comic book film where the action is just as harrowing as it is entertaining due to the care and respect that we’ve come to have for these superheroes after spending a total of 11 films (not counting Guardians of the Galaxy) with them in the Marvel cinematic universe. Directors Anthony & Joe Russo have pulled together a movie that brings as much hard-hitting drama to the table as much as it does astounding action. It’s the perfect model for what serial comic book #Movies can be.
Keep reading our Captain America Civil War review after the jump.
A Busy But Organized Story
Our story begins with Captain America (Chris Evans) leading Black Widow (#ScarlettJohansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) on a mission in Nigeria, in pursuit of Crossbones (aka former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Rumlow, played by Frank Grillo) who has been making a run on various strongholds with no regard for human life. while our Avengers emerge victorious, it comes at a cost with innocent lives being lost due to a mistake by Scarlet Witch and her advanced, enhanced powers.
This is the straw that breaks the camel’s back that causes the government to intervene with the Sokovia Accords, creating a rift between our superheroes. While Steve Rogers doesn’t feel comfortable being sent into a battle in which he may not have any stake in, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) thinks they need to be kept in check after a heartfelt encounter finally instills in him the responsibility he should have for the lives he isn’t able to save. What if they’re lives lost because of his selfish motivations to be a superhero?
It’s questions like this that give the disagreement some real weight among our heroes. Each of them thinks they’re making the right decision by signing or not signing the Sokovia Accords, and that’s what makes the slowly emerging conflict so compelling. Neither Steve Rogers nor Tony Stark is clearly right or wrong in this fight, and choosing a side as a viewer isn’t so black and white. Complicating things even more is the reemergence of The Winter Soldier (aka Bucky Barnes, played with profound built by Sebastian Stan), seemingly responsible for another terrorist attack that kills more innocent people, which is also the catalyst that brings the Black Panther, played regally Chadwick Boseman, into play.
The conflict escalates from here as Steve Rogers attempts to keep Bucky safe from meeting a grisly end at the hands of the government and their contracted Avengers, knowing that Bucky isn’t behind the recent attack. While Avengers like Falcon and Scarlet Witch stick by Rogers by not signing the Accords, War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Black Widow opt to side with Stark and accept the fact that they need oversight. The result is two different sides who are in pursuit of Bucky, one trying to prove his innocence while the other wants him to answer for his crimes over the decades. Meanwhile a mysterious man named Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) is trying to learn more about a certain mission The Winter Soldier was sent on back in 1991 for some reason.
If it sounds like there’s a lot going on, that’s because there is, but the script from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely handles it all in a very organized way, and they even pull the rug out from under you a couple times with some surprising moments, especially concerning the villain’s plan. Even though the first act feels like it’s all over the place, all the characters are handled in a surprisingly organized fashion, and almost all of them have a substantial arc that is inherently tied to Captain America’s pursuit to get his friend back. Paul Bettany as Vision and his interaction with Scarlet Witch are standouts in this regard, but each hero has a reason to choose a side in the exciting airport brawl that’s been teased in the trailers.
The next page discusses the astounding action Civil War brings to the big screen.