The world wants The Avengers to be put in check, but Cap is having none of it.
Captain America: Civil War is here, and it’s pretty much the best Avengers sequel you could hope for.
Which is to say it’s big and colourful and over the top but also manages to give most of the characters something to do, which crafting its own self-contained story and even adding a touch of the emotional stuff.
It might be the most complete Marvel movie made to date. This isn’t a comedic take off of the heist film like Ant-Man or a space fantasy like Guardians, nor is it an extended teaser for the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe like Age of Ultron.
Civil War is its own film, and one that could stand as one of the finest adventures of the year even without its ties to Marvel.
There’s a lot going on and returning directors Anthony and Joe Russo go heavy on the drama at the outset. After a frenetic opening chase scene, The Avengers are forced to come to terms with the damage they’ve caused around the world since 2012.
Those themes of guilt and fear inform most of the picture, drawing out different and realistic reactions from the large crew of familiar superpowered folks. And, as you probably know, a rift soon forms.
Civil War does have its big set pieces but the drama is actually surprisingly intimate, and the enemy here is particularly elusive. It’s refreshing to see something so grounded, and to find almost no references to those infernal Infinity Stones and the future of the franchise.
Personally I found the first half a tad too sombre and the various action beats a little staid and familiar but the last hour is a rollicking good time.
The Russo brothers really find their feet around the mid way point, bringing in a sense of personality and a sense of humour which makes this feel even more like a Joss Whedon production.
That comes out full force with the introduction of a major new player who you may have seen in the trailer, and also a penultimate battle which sees the former allies going head to head.
With so many characters in play it’s a testament to the quality of the script and direction that everyone gets their screen time, and each is used according to their strengths. I especially liked the contributions by Paul Rudd, who worked brilliantly in this massive ensemble.
I’m not sold on all the new faces yet but they’ll be getting standalone movie soon enough and some of the emotional triggers are a bit perfunctory but they are minor quibbles.
Civil War is a massively entertaining feature, and certainly the best and most complete film Marvel has produced since 2012’s Avengers. Mostly, it’s great to see a film in this franchise which doesn’t act as a teaser for future instalments and instead allows the audience to be drawn in by the exciting events on screen right now. Highly recommended.