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The Avengers are faced with being government run. Will they sign or fight?

 

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE AND THE COMIC

 

After a slight mishap on a mission in Nigeria, the Avengers’ disregard for their surroundings and their effects have come to the attention of the governments of the world. This causes 117 countries to pass a bill called the Sokovia Accords that would give control of the Avengers to the government of the world. If the Avengers don’t sign it, they would be forced into retiring from the hero game. At the passing of the bill, there is an attack which creates even more problems for the Avengers. The bill causes a rift among the Avengers and some ridiculous battles ensue. In truth, the whole movie ends up being pointless, other than the introduction of some characters.

 

To sum things up, this movie’s story was garbage; however the action, characters, and acting were pretty great. To start with, the problem with the story is an issue because it is so different from the comic story arc of Civil War. The bill passed in the film is called the Sokovia Accords; in the comics it is the Superhero Registration Act. The two do have significant differences,namely that the Superhero Registration Act effected all heroes within the United States (thus Black Panther and Namor were out). The Sokovia Accords effect the Avengers only and is passed by the leaders of 117 nations across the globe. That is a huge difference. The bill in the movie is global, yet only effects about 12 people; the bill in the comic is national and effects hundreds of heroes. However, Disney/Marvel had to change it this way as it would have been virtually impossible to have used that many characters, let alone tell the whole story of the comic version of Civil War within 2.5 hours. In addition to the differences between page and screen, the story of the whole movie was convoluted. There were too many different tangential story lines for separate characters going on to keep it to one cohesive story line, which made it difficult to follow. Captain America is torn over helping his friend, Tony Stark is upset about the rift in the group and still is upset about the loss of his parents, T’Challa seeks revenge, Peter Parker looks to help other heroes out and learn along the way, Natasha is worried about Bruce and relatively distracted, Wanda is upset about poorly handling situations, and the list goes on. I love each one of these characters, so I wanted all these stories to be played out, but they weren’t. Ultimately it does make some sense to have the story all over the place because in the end it is revealed that the villain wanted the Avengers to tear themselves apart from the inside out.

 

The story was really an unnecessary part of this film since it was completely about action and flashy superhero awesomeness. The movie does that solidly: there is a ton of action with many fights, brawls, explosions, and a few sustained injuries. The fights are great; what the audience wants is to see is so-and-so-hero against other so-and-so-hero.  It truly is bananas to have the good guys fighting each other, but not everyone can agree one hundred percent of the time. The action of the movie also leads the story to a number of different locations around the globe. There is a weird point here. Anytime there was a new location or time, there was a huge text overlay on the scene. It seemed unusual for a superhero film, but might be a new mechanism for the Russo brothers. The action was a ton of fun to watch because it brought out the best (and worst) in some of our well-loved characters.

 

The characters of Captain America Civil War were one of the great parts of the film. Seeing the current Avengers (Thor and Hulk are off on their own) along with their newer recruits (Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Vision, Falcon) was great. For the most part, the film is all about Cap, Iron Man, and Bucky, which is okay, but they really did not show much character growth during the movie which was disappointing. The impressive characters were Ant-Man, who showed off another ability of his suit, great humor, and need of orange slices;  T’Challa (Black Panther) who sought revenge for the duration of the film, only to realize that is not the correct path at the end, and has significant character development; and the friendly neighborhood Spider-man stole the show quite a bit. Peter Parker is approached by Tony Stark (who inexplicably knew his secret identity) and is offered a new suit (designed and engineered by Tony) if he joins up and helps out. Granted the web-head is only there for one battle, but he was great because he had his in-fight quips, web shooters, youthful naivety, and was still able to learn from playing with the big dogs. Spidey is pretty cool and makes me hopeful for Spider-man Homecoming, Summer 2017.

The biggest thing for Spidey in the Civil War comics is that he reveals his secret identity to the public to prove his loyalty and confidence in the bill, but that didn’t happen in this film. This is a good thing. Since Spider-man has finally returned to the Marvel universe and will get his first film from them, it was better they not dig this hole for the character. Peter makes mention of only having his powers for six months thus far, so hopefully that means the new Spider-man film is not another origin story. The Vision was a great character also: struggling with his own existential issues as well as learning that to be part human means he has imperfections. Scarlet Witch could have been better, but that is because Elizabeth Olsen could use some work on the accent. Also, seemingly, the only reason War Machine was in the film was to paralyze him (Vision’s fault). Nonetheless, the characters were interesting, but each had their own agendas.

 

With the film having so many characters, it brought about a couple other things. There were numerous nods to the actual comics through characters, locations, and items, so dedicated fans will be sure to pick up on them and hopefully enjoy them. The issue with this is relatively the same issue as Captain America: Winter Soldier, which is this film is really not about Cap. Instead, he is a catalyst for a larger story. Winter Soldier isn’t really about the Winter Soldier either, it is actually about the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. Civil War is not about Cap, but rather about the rift within the Avengers and the introduction of key Marvel players for later on. Even the first Captain America was only slightly about him and was more of a large set up for Winter Soldier, Agent Carter, the Howling Commandos, and the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D. Heck, even Iron Man and Hulk both had roots in that film. Perhaps this is why each of the Cap films has had a subtitle on it and not just a 1, 2, or 3.  When does Cap get his own film about his own story that doesn’t really tie to any other character or event in the Marvel universe?

 

Captain America: Civil War has its ups and downs, but it was a pretty okay film. It opened the gateway for so much more to come and was a good action packed ride. The story was weak and confusing. One or two actors still need some work with their skills, but that did not drag the film down too much. It was neither better than expected nor worse than expected. That said, it earned a solid “American” number score from me.

 

Directed By: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Produced By: Kevin Feige

Written By: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, and so many more

Distributed By: Disney/Marvel

Release Date: May 6, 2016

Run Time: 146 mins

Rating: PG-13

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