Captain America: Civil War Review

Twitch here! I’m going to be real with you. There wasn’t a chance in hell that I wouldn’t like Captain America: Civil War. I’m the Raging Nerd who signs off her reviews with “In Marvel We Trust.” Tony Stark is more likely to become a celibate monk than I am to walk away from an MCU viewing ranting about bad acting and cheap writing tricks. When it comes to the MCU, I am a fangirl. These facts aren’t up for debate anymore.

There is, however, a chance that I won’t love it. It’s happened before. Captain America: The First Avenger left me cold. I’ve never watched it all the way through after its release. Same for Thor. Doubly so for The Incredible Hulk. It’s entirely possible for Marvel to fail to meet my expectations, even if it’s unlikely they’ll disappoint me entirely.

I loved Captain America: Civil War.

The Russo brothers rescued the Captain American franchise from the scrappy heap and turned it into a blood pumping contemporary thriller wedged into the MCU. Then they did it again. In an industry where lightning rarely strikes twice and critics are more eager to see you fail than succeed, that is no small feat.

But that’s not what you should take into Captain America: Civil War.

Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. lead a cast at the peak of their game. The actors, many of whom have donned these costumes for half a decade, now where the fictional roles like a second skin. Character growth from previous films is written in every action; it’s just below the surface of every scrap of dialogue. And while some are no doubt nearing the end of their tenure at the top of the MCU, there’s no sign of wear and tear.

But that’s not what you should take into Captain America: Civil War.

The stunt work and special effects are amazing. There are two super soldiers, two gifted humans, two super spies, two trained soldiers, a self-aware cybernetic organism, a host of trained and heavily armored law enforcement officers, and the badass king of a fictional African nation mixed up in this fight. The blows are fast and brutal if for no other reason than everyone has skin in this game. And these are people who, for most of the film, aren’t trying to hurt one another.

But that’s not what you should take into Captain America: Civil War.

At its core, Captain America: Civil War is a movie about two men broken by the fight and wracked with guilt over those they failed to save. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers don’t need the UN to tell them they’ve got literal and metaphorical blood on their hands. They both know something needs to be done, but their choices put them on opposite sides for the first time in years. It’s fair to say that Stark and Rogers’ friendship hasn’t had as much ink devoted to it as their friendships with Rhodes, Barnes, and Wilson. We probably have budgets and schedules to thank for that. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether Stark and Rogers’ are best buds. They are two men who should have been allies, but ended up enemies.

The emotional moments are well earned and right where they need to be. It would have been easy to go too far, and a team less experienced and less understanding of the comic book world might have. Another studio might have. In fact, another studio did.Captain America: Civil War is the movie Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice wishes it could have been. It’s the movie it should have been. And the latter’s failure at every level except box office is only made more evident by the former’s success.

But that isn’t what you should take into Captain America: Civil War.

Don’t take anything. Leave your expectations at the door. Forget all concerns about sequel curses and idiot plot balls. Don’t think about hits or flops or the ever increasing probability of failure from the MCU.

When you see Captain America: Civil War, just watch the story of two men who should have been allies become enemies instead. Don’t try to get ahead of the story. Don’t spend the entire time waiting for Peter Parker—and yes, he was amazing.

Captain America: Civil War is a remarkable transition of the MCU into Act 3. The MCU is getting bloody, and it’s becoming apparent that the heroes we’ve come to love aren’t leaving the MCU unscathed. The roller coaster is on the down slope, and it’s compelling to watch the characters we know so well struggle in a world going to hell, even as they realize they’re running the ride. Marvel Studios’ carefully assembled teams are putting the finishing touches on the story as we speak. If Captain America: Civil War is any indication the end will be glorious.

In Marvel We Trust.



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