The third instalment of the Captain America franchise and the inaugural film of third phase for the MCU, Civil War didn’t allow for us to ease back into things. The Russo brothers have brought a mega piece of cinema that doesn’t fail to bring a culmination of action, excitement and a fantastic piece of Marvel’s bigger cinematic universe.
After the events in Sokovia, the future for The Avengers looked seemingly hopeful; with new additions to the super group it seemed as though nothing could stop them from protecting earth. That is, until earth turns against them. When a mission in Nigeria sees the accidental demise of a number of Wakandians, the United Nations begin to enforce the Sokovian Accords; a contract which makes the Avengers essentially property of the UN, only to use their powers and skills when they are called to do so. It is this that sparks the rip in the Avengers Initiative.
Civil War is like the wake up call for the the Avengers and the audience; it shows the other side of saving the world, it’s about the victims that get caught in the cross fire of good and evil, the ones that just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And it’s this wake up call that Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) finds hard to deal with; he’s without a doubt concerned with doing only the right thing; for him, defeating evil and restoring some balance is what he believed in long before he was even Captain America, but the Sokovian Accords doesn’t let him hide behind his shield, it forces him to face that the fact that all the fighting might be doing more damage than good, which is probably why he opposes it.
We’ve slowly seen the Captain’s world go from black and white to a murky grey and it’s beginning to change him.Change seems to be the theme in Civil War as we see not only the line up of the Avengers alter – new allies prove themselves beneficial to the team – but the world seems to be changing, too. Where they once loved the Avengers, they’ve now begun to resent them which is something Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) can’t seem to handle. However, instead of arguing with the opinion Tony accepts it and we see some of his confidence in his team is lost. His development from the first Iron Man film has brought him down to earth and no matter how may times he tries to not be, Civil War keeps him there.
The way in which the film handles each of these complex characters is almost intangible. Civil War has accomplished things that even the Avengers films hasn’t and begun to solve some issues that many people had with Age of Ultron. The way the film fleshes out most of the heroes shows the need for solid character development. The events in Nigeria are a result of Wanda Maximoff’s (Elizabeth Olsen) growing power, something that she deals with both on screen and in the comics, and it’s nice to see the beginnings of it.
The Russo brothers, once again, brought a visually stunning film. Dark where it needed to be and light where it had to be, their work with cinematographer Trent Opaloch has given a film that is sleek and glossy but can also bring grittiness. The choreography in each fight scene is thought through and majestic. Civil War brings fast, strong movement and also gritty violence.
What Civil War does most, is set up the MCU for bigger and better things. With Tom Holland’s Spiderman having a bigger and more fantastic part than first thought, it feels like Peter Parker is truly home. However, it’s T’Challa aka Black Panther’s (Chadwick Boseman) arrival that is truly exciting; his motives for fighting are different to the rest, however, when things change for him, T’Challa shows his quick step up to King to fit him well, making the best team to be a part of Team T’Challa.
The new characters are given a baptism of fire and prove themselves very worthy of the title ‘Superhero’. The combination of motives and beliefs makes the conflict messy but the film remains clear, no one gets lost in the action and the initial worry that this may feel more like an Avengers film is totally quashed. As the central plot shows the finding and saving of Bucky, this is very much a Captain America film. Civil War induces excitement for an uncertain future and makes on thing very clear: we’re far from the days of Avengers: Assemble.
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