A marvellously produced film that tops and defines this generation’s popular genre.
The emergence of superhero films is without doubt one of the most celebrated new sub-genre in the past decade, and as far as it goes the Disney-Marvel studio currently holds the most developed cinematic universe of any adaptation.
The newest cross-over addition to the MCU, Captain America: Civil War documents the conflict between Iron Man Tony Stark and Captain America Steve Rogers, splitting the team of avengers as well as new characters such as the rebooted Spider-man and Black Panther into two sides over the capture and execution of Bucky the winter soldier.
Featuring the return of, well, almost every single damn character we’ve seen on the silver screen so far aside from Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, Civil War is perhaps one of the most crowded picture you could have ever seen. However Marvel has managed to not only squeeze everyone in but to also craft a layered, complex story around these characters.
The opening has some swiftly paced action used as foreshadowing, in conjunction with the overall excellent scoring it engages the audience quite immediately.
However, when a film gets so action packed it could often get convoluted, Civil War didn’t do perfectly well in avoiding this. With an overuse of shaky cam, the kicking and the punching does at times become hard to follow. Ironically it is during the couple of massive 10+ people show-down sequences that the action and the wit combine formidably well, forming a smooth ride of 15 minutes or so including both thrills and laughs.
The storyline, how it differs from the comics and how it chooses to be similar demonstrates a masterful laying of the foundation which converges five different parties seamlessly– the government, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther and a mysterious spy. Each of them bringing a piece of distinct value into the story and forming a collective tale.
It is also worth mentioning that all these sides are motivated with a sensible and logical reasoning, their emotions whether overtly or covertly displayed have all been the subject of exploration, rendering them more grounded and realistic. Simultaneously the story also took a dive into both the pasts of Rogers and Stark, further developing these characters for future instalments in the MCU.
Aside from the old timers, newcomer Spider-man returns to the big screen, this time being an obvious teenager more than anything else he’s properly funny as portrayed in the comics. It is intensely satisfying to see Spidey shooting webs and flying around again, with his mask actually on for most of the time and just being a general sharpshooter of comic overall as well as displaying his ability as the wittiest acrobatic superhero out there.
Chadwick Boseman, after a hilarious but nonetheless terrible appearance in the year’s first major flop Gods of Egypt comes back kicking ass as the King of Wakanda and its guardian. Black Panther has one of the coolest costumes as well as being part of the ensemble in many of the film’s best action sequences, Boseman captures his head-strong, intimidating spirit perfectly. He will reprise his role in the upcoming spin-off solo feature.
The final confrontation is developed extremely well as with many other action show-downs in this film. Directors Russo brothers control the pacing with astonishing fluidity, building a somewhat complex plot to be filled with dramatic tension.
The ending isn’t quite conclusive just yet, being a cliff-hanger of a major two and a half hour motion picture it leaves us definitely wanting more yet at the same time bringing the film to its standalone, adequate ending.
Overall a great work of splendid intensity and fun, it rips apart the idealistic genre of the superhero realm yet does so in an exquisite, captivating method of execution which then contrasts with the grittier minutes, resulting in an immensely enjoyable adventure both emotional and exhilarating.
In theatres Australia wide from 28th of April
MPAA Rating: PG-13
ACB Rating: M
Run Time: 147 min
An overzealous film critic wannabe, Henry Pan makes a trip down cinema lane once a week, in order to decrease his ever-increasing massive watch list. You can follow him and hear all about his rants on films, life and pet dogs on Twitter @LifeOfPan.