‘Captain America: Civil War’ Thrills Divisionally (Movie Review)

Captain America Civil WarI guess you could say with the exception of Rogue One and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War is amongst my most anticipated films of the year.  Many of my peers tell me that’s pretty sad being a critic and a screenwriter by night trying to be taken seriously, but I don’t care.  I love me some superhero flicks!  And with an all-star cast like this one, who needs to wait for another Avengers outing?  This one’s like The Avengers 2.5, is it not?  Of course it is!  Have you seen the trailers?  If so, you know what kind of bad a$$ moments that are in store for you here, but that’s just the frosting on the cake.  Believe me folks.  You haven’t seen anything yet!

My hot anticipation for this one is kind of funny too given how much I didn’t initially care for the first Captain America Marvel solo outing in 2011 (rest assured I eventually did come around to a positive way of thinking).  However, the bad taste in my mouth from The First Avenger was immediately eradicated with Cap’s second solo romp in 2014 with the phenomenal Captain America: The Winter Soldier (see my review here).  This one is kind of a natural continuation of both storylines from The Winter Soldier and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and best of all, The Winter Soldier directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, have returned to helm this sequel.  Even better, as I kind of alluded to up above already, this thirteenth film (for those of you who are keeping count) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has one hell of a cast.  Let’s spend a moment chatting about them before we move onto the main story here.

So here it is again, brilliantly setup with Disney able to retain and bring back all the major players thanks to their ingeniously crafted contracts and their ability to retain actors who actually are proud of their roles and want to come back for them.  Yes, I’m talking about you Mr. Robert Downey Jr.  In addition to the Iron Man himself the ensemble cast includes the likes of pretty boy Chris Evans (Cap), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier or Bucky), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Paul Bettany (Vision), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlett Witch), Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Emily VanCamp (Agent 13), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), Frank Grillo (Crossbones), William Hurt, and Daniel Brühl.  You don’t need superhero powers to clearly realize not only the sheer amount of star power on display here, but also the brethren of characters in this particular “solo” outing.

Captain America Civil War

According to the President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, Civil War is the conclusion to the Captain America trilogy of films.  Like with Downey (with the exception of the recent Spider-Man Homecoming news), Evans is only contractually obligated to appear in the two-part Avengers: Infinity War.  Thankfully, word has it that he is also open to extending his contacts beyond these two debts so here’s hoping so as his charisma and charm will be sorely missed in the MCU even though we all pretty much know the torch gets passed to others, at least in the comic book equivalents it does.

So what all goes down in this blockbuster event we’re all gathered here to talk about today?  That’s really a loaded ask because the answer is a whole hell of a lot, sort of.  I’ll get to that “sort of” statement down below in a second, but first I can’t help to proceed with my gut reaction.  After witnessing this motion picture event I can’t help to think about the recent critical bashing that Batman v Superman underwent.  I can draw parallel lines with the two because make no mistake about it, Captain America: Civil War is very much a dark and violent affair, but unlike the DC one Civil War is constantly aware of its characters’ actions.  This is reflected by the way they not only treat and beat down themselves from within, but also how they attempt to isolate themselves from society and others around them.  It’s a very interesting take, but gosh darn I also can’t help but be drawn to the glaring similarities on display here that people griped about so much in Man of Steel and BvS.

The main plot or focus point as to why sides are divided here have to deal with you guessed it, destruction, carnage and body count as a result of interactions they have had trying to keep our world safe and tiny (think BvS again).  I have a question though, in order to have peace, aren’t some casualties to be expected?  I digress.  That’s how it all goes down.  Tony Stark (Downey Jr.) sees the United Nations overseeing them as a plus of checks and balances while the Cap (Evans) has different feelings about the matter and the freedoms they all take for granted.  The Cap is also hindered by the fact that his best friend, Bucky Barnes (Stan), is very much a wanted man after being identified as an assassin at yet another named event (in effort to thwart any spoilers) that goes down in Civil War.  Add to the fact that even the Black Widow (Johansson), the woman who he deserves to one day end up with, ends up opposing him, and I guess you can chalk it up to the fact that the Cap is having one hell of a rough day or week as the film plays out here.

Captain America Civil War

So I already have gone on record saying Captain America: Civil War reminds me a lot of BvS.  I know I’ll get a lot of slack for saying that, but make no mistake that while Civil War is very violent, dark, brooding, depressing and bloody at time (may be a little brutal for the youngsters), there’s still that humor, wit and charm that only Marvel superhero movies like this consistently deliver upon (thanks mainly to Ant-Man and the inclusion of Spider-Man that I’m not going to spoil for anybody).  The action moments are high-octane, first class, in other words where this film really excels, but make no mistake about it I could have easily cut out 20 minutes or so from its bloated runtime.  If you held a gun to my head and said create your best logline without thinking about it, I would say Captain America: Civil War is the MCU meets the Jason Bourne trilogy.  That’s of course due in part to all the globe trotting throughout here.  You’ll pick up what I’m dropping when y’all see it.

Here’s the part of the review where I get to weigh in on what irks me about this third Captain America outing despite its high film score I gave it.  The whole Bucky Barnes storyline is yawn, been there, done that, so inconsequential in the end for me.  Sure, if nothing else, Civil War thrills and excites and even gives us some new faces like the ferocious fighting skills of Black Panther (I’m still trying to figure what his superpower is though).  However, it’s really nothing new and it really doesn’t further the story anymore than Winter Soldier did, minus some new conflicts.  In my opinion, this should have been a third Avengers film.  If it really takes this many people to hunt and bring down Bucky Barnes (AKA The Winter Soldier), then our heroes are in very sad shape once big, bad Thanos comes into the mix of things, and who knows.  Maybe that’s what Marvel’s intention is?  I’ve been right about things before.  Shockingly!  LOL.  And finally, I would like to talk about the villains.  In typical Marvel fashion, they did not let us down.  The villains once again, suck.  Say what you want about Lex Luthor in BvS, but at least he entertains and doesn’t bore.  That’s all I’ll say about that.

So there you have it.  Should you spend your hard earned money and see Captain America: Civil War on the biggest movie screen possible?  Absolutely.  My duty here is just trying to prepare you for the fact that there’s really nothing new here, besides some new characters that is.  You could probably miss this one all together and have no problem jumping into the next Marvel film or that silly Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. television show.  Does anybody really still watch that?  I digress.  The fun of this one and the reason Marvel has you by the short and curlies here is the fact that you love these characters.  They are irresistible to y’all.  I know because I feel the exact same way about them.  That’s why I’ll see this again one day, but if I had to rank the Captain America films in order of my liking I would order them a little something like this: 1) The Winter Soldier, 2) The First Avenger and 3) Civil War.  Enjoy!

Captain America Civil War Poster


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

3 Responses to “‘Captain America: Civil War’ Thrills Divisionally (Movie Review)”

  1. Cash

    I have Civil War as FAR FAR superior to Winter Soldier and is my favourite MCU film to date

  2. Shohan Cagle

    So you really didn’t get a kick out of seeing TWO super soldiers do their thing?! As far as the villain goes, I feel like Marvel was totally justified in making him somewhat minor as the antagonists depended upon whichever side of the argument you fell on. I.e. Tony or Cap.

    Also, I will now be mirroring T’Challa’s wardrobe. Threads like that would make anyone feel like they could take on Bucky! 😀

  3. Brian White

    Hi Shohan. It was more like superheroes playing on a school playground as there were no stakes as you know they don’t want to hurt each other. Where’s the fun in that? Don’t say War Machine either. Lol. You see how old he looks? He needs to be grounded for his own protection 🙂

    Hi Cash. I just don’t see it. Winter Soldier had a purpose a beginning, middle and end. This one ended like it begun. In the same place. We know Tony and Cap can’t get along. That’s no secret. And we know that no one can take out Winter Soldier. Yawn. Guardians of the Galaxy is my favorite of the MCU, followed by Winter Soldier.