Captain America: Civil War Review

I”m definitely a fan of Marvel movies. That’s well-documented. So when I heard the rave reviews about Civil War, I was really excited to see it. “Best Marvel movie yet” is a claim that pretty up there, and I was pumped to check it out in theaters. Did I agree with the assessment?

Not really.

I’m not here to say this is a bad movie in any way. It’s 3/4 of a great film. And to really get into why I didn’t love the entire thing, I’m going to have to delve into some spoilers. So I’ll stay away from that for the beginning and just talk about what I liked.

The film does a great job of establishing the characters and their individual motivations. It realistically sets up why each super hero feels the way they do about the central question: should they be constrained by an outside agency? It’s a great question, because there’s no clean cut answer. There are pros and cons to each side. and you’re never going to be able to have an obvious solution. And because the question has such big ramifications, it’s something both sides feel very strongly about. Strongly enough to result in full on fighting.

The movie has a series of just incredible action scenes. There’s a really long fight between almost all of the Avengers, and it’s a blast. Everything I’d want it to be. Each character using the advantages he or she has, and hobbled by his or her disadvantages. Fantastic effects. great humor. Everything I want from a Marvel movie.

The acting is fine throughout. The story is entertaining. So what didn’t I like?

Again, there are some spoilers here, but I’m not going to full-on spoil the film. Just talk in generalities for the most part, but if you want to avoid anything having to do with knowing the ending, best to skip the rest and come back once you’ve seen the movie.


Here’s the thing: the climax of this movie is in the wrong spot. The airport battle with all the Avengers is the pinnacle of the action, and I go to Marvel movies first and foremost for the action and humor. Complex moral questions are nice, but they’re not really what I’m looking for from a Marvel film. So when that airport sequence was so awesome, and they start building things up to one more fight scene, I started to get really excited, wondering how in the world they were going to be able to top what they’d just shown me.

The answer, of course, was that they couldn’t. And instead we get an extended punching sequence between three characters, followed by a morally ambiguous “there are no clean answers” denouement.

In short, I felt cheated. I felt like the movie was promising even better things to come, and then it didn’t deliver on that promise. I still really enjoyed the film, but it was like having my feet swept out from under me. Like being tantalized with something cool, and then told I can’t have it.

So what could have been done to fix the problem? One approach would have been to save the airplane scene for the finale. To move it closer to the resolution of the movie. Another would have been to increase the abilities of the big bad guy. (Okay SERIOUS SPOILERS here, because I can’t discuss this next part without them.)

Come on. The big bad guy? He ends up being some random dude who was sad his family died, and so he constructed this Rube Goldberg-esque plot to destroy the Avengers. I didn’t buy that explanation for a second. If he was so awesome at making this perfect storm scenario, wouldn’t it have been easier to just . . . set the Avengers up to die? He was able to get a bomb near a huge United Nations meeting, for crying out loud. And successfully detonate it!

Having the big finale boil down to “I killed all the really dangerous people, and now you can just fight among yourselves”? Lame. It’s another sign of promising one thing and delivering another. Your villain needs to be more compelling than your hero, and I get that they were trying to say “the heroes are the villains” here, but it didn’t work for me.

And so like I said: 3/4 of a great movie. I’ll give it a 4/5, but it’s a far cry from the “best Marvel movie ever.”

But maybe that’s just me. Maybe I want a certain something out of a Marvel movie that other people don’t want. I’m looking for light-hearted fun, great action scenes, compelling plots, and more great action and humor. Let DC worry about brooding superheroes. I miss the days when Iron Man was fun.

Am I alone?

2 thoughts on “Captain America: Civil War Review”

  1. To further cite problems with this movie… It is a broken, and very incomplete story! It is very frustrating. And I am going to was possibly political here…maybe even sociological. Maybe what’s so frustrating about this is that on one side of their, “civil war,” you have the truly freedom loving, liberty lugging, patriotic American. And the other side promotes progressively big government, regulated life and systematic control. I know the latter sounds sinister…and may even reveal my political philosophy…but the movie was demonstrative of this real-life, close to home struggle. This lays out the struggle in an exaggerated and fantastical fiction. If the viewer is paying attention, they would think about the parallels to our society. Then, realizing that it’s too close to home, they feel frustrated because this is where we are right now. Our story isn’t finished. And neither is this Marvel story. I hate how it left the conflict unresolved. Yes, the bad guy really wasn’t the bad guy. He was more of a catalyst to bring out the real struggle within the good guys. Almost like a purifying. A purging. But all this is speculation, i s’pose. Maybe that’s why it’s so frustrating.

  2. I don’t know. I think I prefer them leaving the question open-ended, since to answer it would be to reduce it too much to an easy answer. It’s a complex issue, and it deserves serious thought.

    I’ve heard a lot of different opinions on the movie now. Interesting to get so many differing points of view.

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