SPOILER ALERT: there will be some spoilers for Captain America: Civil War throughout this article – I have tried not to include any major plot spoilers or twists, but the blog post gives away a few details of events and character developments from the film (also some spoilers from previous Marvel comic books). Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
All too often, I go to watch a film at the cinema, only to find that all the good fight scenes, and all the jokes had already been used up in the trailer. However, when I went to watch Captain America: Civil War last week, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Civil War had a lot more to offer than simply the awesomeness the trailer had previewed.
From the get-go, Civil War was packed with action and surprises, and made sure to showcase each character’s abilities. Though some characters received more screen-time than others, the film was far from “The Tony Stark and Steve Rogers Show”, endeavouring to do justice to each and every character. Civil War divided big scenes between characters including Black Widow, Vision, and Scarlet Witch, to name only a few.
As always, Scarlett Johansson dazzled as Black Widow, reminding fans that Natasha Romanoff could easily carry a solo film as well as (if not better than) any Avenger. Superhero films may be a man’s world now, but the days of men dominating action movies are disappearing fast, with characters like Marvel’s Black Widow taking the lead.
Black Panther was another character who stole the show, revealing himself to be a hero who is relentless in his quest for justice and vengeance. As an outsider to the Avengers, T’Challa refuses to play by their rules, and as the king of Wakanda, has other issues on his mind than the fracturing of the Avengers. For him, Civil War is about revenge, and doing whatever he can to keep Wakanda, and for that matter, the rest of the world, safe. With a standalone film scheduled for 2018, this won’t be the last we see of the Black Panther.
Iron Man pulled out a few new tricks, as it was revealed that his suit was able to analyse Captain America’s moves and weaknesses in order to defeat him. This strategy was taken directly from the Civil War comic books, in which Tony tells Steve: “…This armour has recorded every punch you’ve ever thrown. It knows your next move before you do…”
One of my favourite things about the film was that the writers really had fun with the characters. They created a film which didn’t take itself too seriously and avoided falling into the trap of becoming another humourless and bland superhero movie. Both Spiderman and Ant-Man injected much-needed humour into the film in different ways, offering some light relief and giving us an insight into how these characters interact as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Better still, Spiderman was actually an interesting and valuable addition to the film. Prior to seeing the film, I’d been feeling unenthusiastic about yet another Peter Parker. Yet somehow, Tom Holland’s web-spinning teenager felt surprisingly fresh. He was just different enough from his predecessors to stand out, but retained the slightly cocky, light sense of humour we’re used to hearing from Spidey. The new Spiderman is a young but capable teenager, relatively new to the world of superheroes and desperately eager to impress Tony Stark.
Ant-Man too, fit in surprisingly well with the somewhat more serious team of Avengers. The writers had a lot of fun with his character, making good use of his ability to shrink down and tamper with Iron Man’s suit and be shot across the sky by one of Hawkeye’s arrows. In a surprising turn of events, Ant-Man became pivotal in Cap and Bucky’s escape from Iron Man’s team, as he risked tearing himself in half to become Giant-Man. This was a nice nod to Hank Pym’s role in the comic books, as graphic novels including Civil War have seen Ant-Man’s predecessor increase in size to become Giant-Man on multiple occasions.
Another highlight, surprising in a film which viewers might expect to be largely action-based was the dialogue. Marvel have truly mastered the art of giving each of their characters a unique voice. With so many characters onscreen, and so many aspects to the film, it wouldn’t be difficult for the dialogue to become lost or lazy, yet almost every line delivered was smart, true to character, and gave us a deeper insight into the minds of the superheroes. In perhaps an even more astonishing feat, the film served each character well, giving everyone from Black Widow, to Falcon, to Hawkeye an ample amount of screentime, so that nobody felt neglected (although there can never be too much Black Widow).
Wanda Maximoff was perhaps the character we learnt the most about during the course of the film. Whilst Age of Ultron only provided a brief glimpse into the character’s mind, during the course of Civil War, we began to realise exactly who Wanda is: an incredibly powerful, yet equally vulnerable individual. We saw her struggle to come to terms with the harm her powers can cause, as she realises just how dangerous and feared she has become. Interestingly, we also saw the relationship between Vision and Scarlet Witch develop in Civil War, bringing a smug smile to the faces of comic book fans, who know that the pair may well be destined for marriage if the MCU follows the canon. This budding relationship could mark a huge turning point for Vision, who is only just beginning to understand what it means to be human.
Civil War was exactly the movie I was hoping for and more, packed with emotion, action, and twists around every corner. There were dark and gritty moments, courtesy of Iron Man and The Winter Soldier, and there were moments of light-hearted relief. The storyline of the movie was much less predictable than I had expected, as the real conflict was revealed to be far more than a simple fight between two members of the same team.