When you go and sit in the theatres to watch Captain America: Civil War, there is always a Batman v Superman comparison that is lurking in the back of your mind even if you do not want to make it. The two superhero vs superhero movies from two comic book giants releasing so close to each other makes the matter worse and DC and Marvel loyalists will be defending each of their chosen banners till one of them drops the shield.
The latest instalment from Marvel Cinematic Universe and the first one in the Phase Three, Captain America: Civil War has set the ball rolling for a lot of new characters to be introduced to its already extended roster.
Directed by the siblings Joe and Anthony Russo, the movie starts with an important part of the history in Marvel storyline, the year 1991 where James Buchanan aka Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is unearthed from his slumber by Russian soldiers to be made into a human killing machine and sent for a mission which must be completed without any witnesses.
Cut to the present day, the new Avengers team headed by Captain America (Chris Evans) is in Lagos and go head to head with Crossbones (Frank Grillo) which results in an explosion causing civilian casualties. This brings US Secretary of the State (William Hurt) to come up with Sokovia Accords, a document which would tow Avengers under a UN council signed by 113 countries. So Avengers will have a global organisation against them who would keep a check on whether they are required or not in a particular state of disaster. Some superheroes, led by Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), are in the interest of the people who they are trying to protect and if not protected properly, how different are they from the bad guys. He is opposed strongly by Cap, who believes that the governmental institution always runs with an agenda which could change any moment and that working independently is in the best interest.
Signing of Sokovia Accords in Vienna leads to a terrorist act which puts Cap’s pal Bucky in the murky waters and Cap makes it personal by going for his rescue and protecting him. This is against Sokovia Accords and Tony Stark and the supporters of Accord take on Cap and Bucky but we are introduced to T’Challa, the African prince’s superhero version, the Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) who has a personal grudge of his own.
Other than this there is an external factor who goes by the name of Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) who causes a lot of conflict in between the fracas that is already going. The superheroes are globetrotting and fighting each other questioning other’s decision of what they believe in.
Like in the comics, the movie too veers towards the current political scenario, whether be it Cap’s thinking that a war on terror may result in a few civilian casualties but in the end it is all for the greater good or Iron Man’s reply that they cannot be killing the bad guys and in the process kill innocent people. Moments like these bring out the human in these superheroes and that they to have a conflict and cannot be perfect. Here you are asked to join a cause, whether you are in Team Iron Man or Team Captain America.
Even other superheroes in the movie join each sides for a reason that they believe in and do not look as if they were just rallying behind the given superhero because he is a friend, apart from some. New recruits Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) show why Marvel makes each hero shine in the ensemble cast. Holland’s enthusiastic young Spider-Man is something the die-hard fans have been asking for a while from the studio, a young and a goofy Spidey which Holland plays to perfection giving us hope that the reboot scheduled to be out in 2017 will be far from serious affair.
Russo brothers being Marvel directors have been a little dependent on over the top action sequences and in this movie too along with the visual effects wizardry of a number of VFX studios have managed to etch something superior when compared to other superhero movies. Be it the first sequence in Lagos or when Cap is trying to save Bucky or the masterpiece at the abandoned airport where audience gets more than what they expected. Avengers team members fighting against each other like a no holds barred WWE match. I won’t spoil anything for you in this review but I would just say that Russo’s have put everything on screen that they put on paper and the VFX studios have delivered some of the best action sequences seen. It just brings tears of joy among the fans when the comic book movie suffices the comic book pleasure and remains true and this was only expected from a studio like Marvel after eight years of making superhero movies, Marvel have now got an audience who know these characters and their story and feel sincerely about them.
A Marvel fan will not criticise it likewise a non-Marvel fan will not enjoy it. The stories being interconnected, one has to have watched other movies to feel for the character and the backstory each one is attached to. The references that are made be it Tony calling Natasha aka Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), a double agent who will never change, or Wanda’s (Elizabeth Olsen) relation with the Vision (Paul Bettany), people who know the history will be in for one of the best superhero ensemble movie but others could just be blindly looking at a piece of drama with a few action sequences here and there. Civil War is not your ordinary superhero movie where superhero meets villain, villain thrashes superhero, superhero resurrects and beats the lights out of the villain. Marvel here has removed the concept of the villain pitting the good guys against the good guys.
The screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely who have been on the credit list for a number of Marvel movies like The First Avenger, The Winter Soldier and are writing the next Avengers movie know what the audience expects from a Marvel movie and they just know when to lighten the mood and jack it up back. The cinematography is dynamic and the locales and the fights captured take you closer to the superheroes. The editing is tight, packing the movie just under two and a half hour mark.
Captain America: Civil War is achieves a tremendous feat of filmmaking in the superhero genre and I felt this is after a long time; the last being Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy (expect for the Dark Knight Rises). This film will make you want to pick a side, hate the other one, cheer for your superhero and even question the intention of the one on the opposite side. This film will want you to ask more from the next set of Marvel movies and anything less than this will not be tolerated.