In his third title film, Captain America’s development from government super soldier to super human suspicious of any and all forms of government is complete. After tracking down the mercenary Cross-Bones and his gang of terrorists, Cap’s gang (Scarlett Witch, Falcon, Black Widow) causes yet more collateral damage and innocent death, which combined with Tony Stark’s run in with a grieving mother whose son was killed in Sokovia, leads the team to a meeting with the US Secretary of State who believes the ‘enhanced’ humans should be accountable and controllable. This is the core of the argument in Captain America: Civil War. Whilst there is some discussion on pros and cons of this course of action, it seems that the lines are drawn early and sides are picked. This is further exacerbated by the appearance of The Winter Soldier who is a wanted fugitive, yet Steve Rogers still sees him as his friend Bucky.
Normally I’d say that I won’t spoil the surprises, but unfortunately, just about all of the cool surprises ended up in the trailers, bar one or two good moments. You know that Spider-Man is in the film, you know that Black Panther is in the film, ditto Ant-Man and Cross-Bones. It is unfortunate that studios feel they have to tease the cameos of various characters in the trailers. It honestly sucks the fun out of what could have been some really amazing reveal moments.
The plot meanders a little bit, with some early character driven moments missing the mark, which seems to draw out the already chunky run time. The film really picks up when Tony Stark visits Queens and recruits a certain teenager. From here, the film builds nicely up toward the face off and a beyond spectacular airport fight, which is worth the price of admission alone. It is an excellent sequence that shows off everyone’s capabilities and perhaps what the future holds. As the film winds toward its inevitable finale, there were a few script moments that were contrived, but overall, the writing is generally strong with some trademark quips. However, when a film picks up when a few characters make cameo appearances, it’s not a great sign.
Once again, we have a film that is charged with introducing new characters with a view to their own standalone films and that’s fine, one character succeeded more than the other and the main villain was understated, which is a nice change, but his plan revolved around a bunch of massive what if’s. Captain America: Civil War has some great moments built around a fairly perfunctory story, that tries to balance the seriousness and the comedic nods, which Marvel films have been known for. The main issue I had with the film was that no one is in any real danger, no one (bar a side character) gets seriously hurt and that perhaps is the problem. We are told the stakes are high, but don’t ever really feel that. The film doesn’t rise to the levels of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, however, that’s not saying this is a bad film by any means, but as the expectations get raised by each superhero film that precedes it, audiences will want a bit more than some great set-pieces and some average plotting.