Woo! First MCU review! Been looking forward to this one.
I have gushed on and on about the MCU that there’s no doubt at this point that I’m a fan. The Captain America movies in particular are two of my giant five way tie for number 1…I really need to organize that better. As for the story of ‘Civil War’, I have read the first issue of the comic and ‘The Road to Civil War’…that’s it. I have no interest in the comic beyond that. It’s pretty bad when I already dislike the comic by the first issue. As for ‘Road’, it features the Illuminati: a group in the Marvel Universe that I despise as they are pretty much responsible for a lot of the bad stuff that’s happened over the past decade. That includes shooting Hulk into space and the consequences of that, ‘Secret Wars (2015)’, and of course ‘Civil War’. And poor Tony is forced to act like a douche throughout it. I may read some of the tie in comics though.
Yes, I’m aware of the upcoming Marvel crossover event comic ‘Civil War 2’. I’m not actually dreading this comic as much as some might think. For one thing, it’s coming out ten years after the first Civil War and is clearly a tenth anniversary attempt to fix a comic that did well financially but not critically. This is probably also the reason the movie Civil War is coming out this year. For another thing, this isn’t being written by the original author, Mark Miller. It’s instead being written by Brian Michael Bendis, a man I consider a far superior writer to Miller. He’s the writer for the current run on ‘Invincible Iron Man’ as well as a few other books in the current run, all of which I read and really like. He’s also the creator of Jessica Jones. You know, that Netflix show you really like. He also made…the Illuminati….Damn it Bendis.
Thirdly, the motivations for the new conflict seem a lot better than the original. It’s no longer a fight over a vaguely written and loosely interpreted law about revealing superhero identities to the public. It’s about whether or not to use a resource that can see the future to stop crimes before they happen. Plus, this time Tony’s actually on the side that seems like the good guys, not wanting the punishment to come before the crime. Meanwhile, in the original he was vilified the entire time, won, and was apparently supposed to be the correct side the whole time. The reason for Iron Man looking like the good guy could have something to do with Michael Bendis being the writer for both his books, but I’ve gone on long enough about ‘Civil War 2’ and need to get to the actual review. Bottom Line is: it looks better than the old one and I’m looking forward to it.
As for who’s team I’m on: Team Tony all the way! No offense Cap, I like Tony better. You and Bucky make a cute couple though.
Here’s our story: After an international incident involving the Avengers and Crossbones kills some people, mainly as a result of the Scarlet Witch (Hey, that’s another thing we can blame on the poor girl.) the United Nations decide that the time for superheros having free reign is over and create the Sokovia Accords, a legal document that creates a governmental body to oversee and control the Avengers and their activities. You know the basics: Tony is for it. Steve is against it. Their best friends are on their sides (Sans Thor and Bruce who are off somewhere else getting ready for Thor 3), etc. But a new twist arises when, during the signing of the accords, a bomb goes off injuring many and killing some, including the King of Wakanda, which was supposedly planted by Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier. Now Cap and his friends must protect Bucky from Tony and his team as well as a vengeful T’Challa, the former Prince and now King of Wakanda who has inherited the mantle of The Black Panther from his father, and discover what’s really going on. Oh, and Spider Man’s in there too.
As it’s a bit impossible to have the same reason for the conflict as the original Civil War, two of the main reasons being pretty much no one has a secret identity in these movies outside of Spider Man and the original draft of the law, The Mutant Registration Act, is impossible to have as the X-Men don’t exist in this universe, the new law is about hero accountability for the destruction and deaths caused by their fights with bad guys and government oversight of their actions. I like this better for the simple reason that it isn’t stupid. Secret identities exist for a reason: namely that if supervillains and other bad guys know a person’s identity then what’s to stop them from hunting down and killing their loved ones? Government oversight and control on the other hand? Well, if people are getting hurt then people will panic and ask for a way that the damage can be minimised. A way to do this is the have a governing body overseeing and controlling such a task force. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s a much better reason that letting the world know who’s behind a mask and ruining someone’s life.
Sorry, I’ll try to keep focused on the movie instead of the comic, but comparisons are inevitable with a film this big and a comic this well known especially since the movie is leagues better than the comic. In other words, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely are much better writers than Mark Miller….I will forgive them for Thor 2.
What drives this story is feelings. While the conflict appears to be a giant huge international conspiracy/ …well, civil war between heroes, the stakes are actually smaller than they appear. They’re personal. What drives these characters are their emotions, not about the accords (or registration or whatever), but about each other. Wanda and Visions’s emotions, Tony, Steve, and Bucky’s emotions, T’Challa’s emotions, Natasha’s emotions, Sam’s emotions, Agent 13’s emotions, the bad guy’s emotions, Rhodey’s…opinions, and Spider Man, Hawkeye, and Ant Man namely in there for the cool effects, tricks, and one liners. Not that a lot of the later aren’t taken up by Robert Downey Jr.
I like Tony, all of them really, a lot better in this than I did in Age of Ultron. While I do like the film, I feel the characters had some fiddling done to them to make it work (kinda), namely Stark, Romanoff, and Banner. The only one who really got away from that movie scot free in terms of character messing with was Steve. I feel like the characterization was done much better, the writing was much more solid than Ultron, and poor Scarlet Witch actually gets some sympathy points this time around as she’s not a bad guy here. Also, Tony’s NOT completely vilified for a change. So that’s nice. Both Steve and Tony have their reasons for doing what they’re doing, they make sense, and, like I said, are driven mainly by their emotions.
Steve, Bucky, and Tony are the main players in all this and Evans, Stan, and Downey Jr. are still perfect in these roles like just about everyone else is. The acting is solid. Also: I hate General Ross. I hate General Ross. IHATEGENERALF***INGROSS!!!! …That is all. Newcomer Chadwick Boseman plays T’Challa great, even if I don’t actually know all that much about the character he still appears to be pretty much in line with much of his comic counterpart from the little I’ve seen. The story actually gets his origin story out of the way here, making me wonder what his own movie is gonna be about. Yay! Not an origin movie!
But you don’t really care about Cap, Iron Man, or even Black Panther. You wanna know how good the new Spider Man is. Short version: He’s great. Marvel has proven that they can do Spider Man far better than Sony ever could (when Sam Raimi’s not at the helm and/ or at the top of his game) and I’m looking forward to Spider Man: Homecoming. …Also Tony’s in it so that’s a thing.
The big fight scene at the end of act 2 is exactly as awesome as you thought it’d be and all the other fight scenes look great too. That one’s just big and amazing and holy crap was it great to see such a huge superhero fight scene. The special effects, also great. Ant Man and Spider Man’s effects and fights in particular are stand outs. There’s one scene at the beginning I really like where Tony appears as both his present version and a version from 20 years prior and he actually looks like young Robert Downey Jr. It’s not a picture or archive footage either. It’s Downey Jr acting as young Tony Stark under what I assume is makeup and/or CGI. It’s fantastic.
Also, two words from Marvel to Ant Man fans: You’re Welcome.
Civil War is freaking amazing and you should go see it. Even without having watched the other movie, this film blows Batman v Superman out of the water, proceeds to beat it to death with a bloody shield, set of claws, and arrows, and covers it in symbolic spider webbing. (yeah, I went there) It’s the best superhero film this year since Deadpool and definitely the best Marvel movie since Avengers and Winter Soldier. Marvel hasn’t failed us yet and won’t for the foreseeable future. We still got 9 more of these films and who knows how many more tv shows scheduled for us with more on the way. They’re not leaving. Get used to it. Make me a Hulk movie. I’ll also take Iron Man 4.
We’ll be doing this dance again in 6 months when Doctor Strange comes out. Can’t wait! Two Mads Mikkelsen movies within 2 months of each other. This is gonna be fun.
(Photo via Marvel Studios)