REVIEW: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Endures Some Flaws To Deliver Solid Blockbuster

Iron Man’s repulsor beam finally matches up with Captain America’s shield in a full on fight in “Civil War.”

The third installment of the series dedicated to the stars and stripes wearing hero starts off with the Avengers, sans Hulk and Thor, on a mission in Africa. While the mission goes well at first, there’s a moment when it shifts into disaster resulting in multiple casualties.

Prompted by this and other incidents involving the team, the world governments create an accord to reign in the Avengers and only deploy them when necessary. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), who’s switched from player to general manager of the team in a way, is on board with the plan, but Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) has reservations.

The issue begins to split the team and it only gets worse when the Winter Soldier, who’s also Steve’s friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is accused of a terrorist attack. This furthers the conflict and sets the heroes against each other.

“Captain America: Civil War” serves well as both a sequel to the previous Steve Rogers adventure and also the last Avengers team up, “Age of Ultron.” The film is able to explore Rogers as a character, who is still trying to find some peace in the world while also giving the destruction from the past Marvel films critical attention.

The movie’s strongest aspects are its first and third acts. The opening act of the movie is full of great discussions among the Avengers, with both points of view given fair, balanced treatment.

The arguments are presented where an audience can understand some Avengers wanting to be controlled some way to reduce possible casualties, but also see why the other heroes don’t want to be under somebody’s orders, in case they are sent in to a conflict for political gains. It’s clear from the start how neither side wants to fight or have a conflict, and doing so doesn’t make anybody happy.

Then there’s the third act, which features the most gut wrenching finale of any Marvel movie to date. There’s a big reveal that occurs, setting off a fight that while technically being fantastic, hurts to watch. Combined with some great subplots, such as the continued issue with Bucky Barnes as well as the superb introduction of the new character Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), “Civil War” manages to be a mostly great picture.

With that said, though, the movie’s middle certainly had some issues. The biggest come from two characters who were brought in for a fight in the second act of the movie.

As one can see from the film’s trailers, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) both show up, but unfortunately, they add next to nothing. Was it cool seeing Spider-Man and Ant-Man interact and battle with the other Avengers? Sure.

However, there’s a lot of screentime dedicated to bringing them in, and the payoff isn’t worth much. In the end, the appearance from these characters felt inserted just to be flashy. They could’ve been cut from the movie and it likely wouldn’t have made a difference. This is especially important since the movie comes in at a huge 146 minutes.

Another problem with the film was a subplot centering on a troubled relationship with Stark and another character from the “Iron Man” franchise. This relationship trouble seemingly came out of nowhere and felt very odd considering the events of “Age of Ultron” and “Iron Man 3.” It felt out of place in a “Captain America” film and left me thinking that it should be handled in an “Iron Man 4.”

When it comes to Stark the character, though, Downey Jr. is of course fantastic. This marks the sixth time Downey Jr. has suited up in the Iron Man armor, and it shows. He’s so easily able to deliver both the wise cracks and overconfidence known to the character while also portraying the deeper emotions.

The same can be said for Evans, who has brought a great level of depth to the character since he was introduced in the first movie. What really works for Evans’ performance is that he’s able to display the emotions of having to turn his back on certain characters and make difficult decisions while still carrying some of the 40s era persona and charm.

In terms of a villain, “Civil War” went for a bit of an unconventional route, and it was hit and miss. The main bad guy of the movie is Zemo, played by Daniel Bruhl. Bruhl is certainly a talented performer and does a solid job, especially with some of the lines he has to convey in the movie’s climax. However, when it came to the character’s actual ‘evil plan,’ there were one too many coincidences.

Regarding the movie’s action, much of it is really well done. As previously stated, the film’s climactic battle is technically sound, with the effects being solid and the action shot in a way where you know what’s going on. The battle in the movie’s middle also featured some exciting, moments, yet I feel there were a bit too many one-liners going on at times.

“Civil War” was a good movie, but it still has its troubles. In fact with the additional characters and the villain’s plot being a little too convenient at times, this “Captain America” installment came close to a lower rating. In the end, though, the third act is so strong, the climax is so powerful and the conflict is well balanced enough to warrant a low 4 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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