Captain America: Civil War (a short study)
2016 ‧ Fantasy/Science fiction film ‧ 2h 27m ‧ dir. Joe Russo, Anthony Russo
**SPOILERS** - Charlotte Haley (FR)
Unfortunately, I have been told that the line ‘THIS FILM WAS AWESOME’ does not constitute a proper review, and so I must try to elaborate. Many movie-goers will be asking what differentiates this film from the numerous other comic-book adaptations floating around these days, and I comprehend the unwillingness to thoughtlessly consume that which is so obviously manufactured by Hollywood and Disney.
Yet, Captain America: Civil War is different. Gone are the days when fight sequences served as the film’s poorly-stitched plot (Batman v. Superman, I’m looking at you); or the constant barrage of references to other films in that universe triumphed over any semblance of subtlety or independence. No, this film has decided to make use of its stellar cast, huge budget and complex, emotional plot to do some cinematic good. Concerning the accountability of the Avengers to international law after an incident in Nigeria, the plot revolves around the conflict of ideologies of Captain America (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Tony Stark). Ensuing is the epic clash between the other heroes as they take sides, as well as concretely setting up the characters of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) in preparation for future films. Impressive is how solidly every character is developed, with everything from budding romances to fresh fighting styles, smoothly integrated into the main plot. The visually-stimulating settings used in fight sequences, as well as the choreography, deliver interesting, fluid scenes that will appeal to most audiences. Maturity is also important for drawing in older, non-comic-reading audiences: Civil War deploys the slick comedy characteristic of most action films, though ensures that humour never detracts from the gravity of the main plot.
The film raises questions of political responsibility, and whether the Avengers ought to be able to choose their battles, or relinquish their power to a committee, to be sent where they are needed. Interestingly, Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Steve Rogers (Captain America) both have compelling arguments: one can see that political accountability would keep the Avengers in check, while also threatening their integrity and control - the film never comes down on either side, leaving its audience in a kind of inner civil war. Moreover, Captain America’s devotion to his old friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) - the Winter Soldier - creates further conflict among the cast. While Bucky is Steve’s only connection to the past, perhaps the only person who understands his feeling of alienation in the modern world, he seems to be the cause of several morally dubious decisions Rogers makes. The film leaves its audience with a question: when is the right time to let go of the past? When it begins to harm our lives? When it begins to harm others?
It all depends whether you’re Team Iron Man, or Team Cap.
Charlotte Haley - 2016 Film Representative @ FAFF