Let’s get one thing out of the way from the off. Well two actually. First, no spoilers here just minor plot details. Two, this is possibly one of the greatest superhero films ever.
Seriously, it’s that good. The Winter Soldier was my favourite Marvel film but the directing duo of Anthony and Joe Russo have just raised the standard. This is the best Marvel film to date. If I were you, I’d probably not bother reading this and just go out and watch it to be honest.
But if you’re still with us, here are my impressions and I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers. William Hurt reprises his role as General Ross from The Incredible Hulk and in collaboration with Tony Stark, he acts to make the Avengers accountable for their actions. This is because they’ve caused a considerable amount of collateral damage over the years, for which Tony is riddled with guilt. Our heroes are asked to sign the ‘Sokovia Accords’, a document that is supported by the majority of the World’s authorities. The idea being that the Avengers sign-up and essentially work under the control of the United Nations. Now, Captain America isn’t very happy about this and says that oversight of the Avengers may result in them being sent somewhere they don’t want to go or may prevent them from going somewhere they need to be. The people governing them may have agendas that aren’t in accordance with the Avengers. You can understand his scepticism, remember when SHIELD was actually Hydra? The pro-registration group say that this is a compromise that needs to be made. Things are complicated when Bucky, the brainwashed Hydra assassin who also happens to be Cap’s childhood BFF, turns up. He’s a wanted man and his resurgence drives the tension up to 11. Turns out there’s also a third party involved here, Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) who’s got his own agenda, but I won’t spoil his involvement.
The fantastic thing about this film is that it’s so much more than a generic superhero film. In fact, at times, it doesn’t feel like a superhero film. And that’s because it’s about the characters and their philosophical differences. Both sides are equally represented here and I for one came out not knowing whose side I was on. We’re so (well, I am) emotionally invested in these characters and this world, thirteen films in, that you can’t help but feel for both sides of the divide. There’s a deep emotional core to this film and you really feel every punch.
Behind the camera, the directing and writing are nearly faultless. The story is tight and it unfolds and develops cleverly as the film progresses. Each action taken muddies the waters and adds a new layer to the conflict. It’s not just Iron Man and Captain America having a punch up, it’s much deeper and more complicated than that. We get the feeling that these characters really don’t want to fight each other, but they don’t have a choice. And forgive me, but I do have to draw parallels with Batman v Superman which felt forced and clumsy, with unclear character motives because of lazy writing. This is the opposite, we know why each character feels the way they do and it makes sense. It’s thoroughly thought out. It works. Big time.
While Civil War is tense, emotional and at times probably as dark as we’ve got in a Marvel film, that comic-book humour is still ever present. There’s some hysterical moments. The comedic timing is spot on and the dialogue is sharp and witty. Ant-Man, Falcon and Spiderman have some brilliant comedic moments.
Speaking of Spiderman. While he feels a tad shoehorned in, who can blame them? It’s bloody Spiderman back where he belongs. I can’t emphasise enough how great it was to see him in this universe. Tom Holland is a revelation. Who’d have thought getting a teenager to play a teenager would’ve worked. Crazy times. He’s the perfect Peter Parker. Nerdy, witty and refreshingly naive. His Spiderman is excellent too, with some of the best action sequences and one in particular which is both spectacular and hilarious.
All in all, it’s a big win for Marvel. Particularly after Avengers: Age of Ultron, which was a tad disappointing. This film did a much better job of juggling the large cast and weaving in multiple story lines than AoU did. My only one, minor criticism is that I still feel Marvel can take a few more risks with their films. But by the end, I didn’t really care. Because it’s that bloody good.
I’ve left a lot out here. I’ve not mentioned many of the other Avengers. But they all deliver too. Every single one is a joy to spend time with. I could watch these guys all day.
Oh yes, and wait until the very end of the credits. Obviously.
AWESOME. This is the perfect superhero/comic-book film. And that’s not because there’s cool gadgets, or spectacular fight scenes or funny quips. It’s the human core at the heart of the film, with well fleshed out character motives and emotionally charged conflict.