So, I’ve been a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man first arrived on the big screen. With the exception of the Hulk movies, which aren’t really a part of this Universe, I’ve seen every release and I think that Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America 2 are superb movies. Except for Iron Man 2, which is terrible, every other Marvel movie has been at least good and often much better than that. So I am very sad to say that I found Captain America: Civil War to be a huge disappointment. Now, before I go any further, I am going to talk about the events in this movie so SPOILER WARNING! If you do not wish to know what happens then please do not read any further. If you’ve either seen it or don’t care about spoilers then please continue…
Before we get to why I disliked this movie I should run through the events that occur. After a brief prelude involving the Winter Soldier eliminating a target and retrieving a highly suspicious package, Captain America: Civil War opens with a rather spectacular sequence where the Avengers try to prevent a miscreant from stealing a biological agent. This fight ends with an unfortunate number of civilian casualties, opening the way for the registration arguments to be made. From there, the bombing of UN headquarters and the death of the King of Wakanda leads to the introduction of the Black Panther and the Winter Soldier being flushed out into the open. Following Bucky’s capture, the principle villain of the piece, Baron Zemo, frees him, leading to Cap and Bucky attempting to pursue Zemo, while the Avengers try to stop them. People take sides, there’s an impressive battle where no one actually gets hurt, and then Cap and Bucky leave to continue their pursuit. There’s a lovely reveal that really should’ve lead to the actual battle between the opposing sides and then the movie ends. I don’t know if there were post credit sequences as I didn’t stay to find out.
So, my biggest issue with this film is that it seems to be composed of several separate stories that should’ve been movies in their own right but instead have been forced together so that Marvel can move onto the next phase of its plans more quickly than they otherwise could. I think this was a mistake and that the two stories should’ve remained separate. You have the Captain America and Bucky thread where they pursue Zemo and try to prevent the activation of more Winter Soldiers, which is a solid Brubakeresque story that deserved to be the central plot of the film and given time to breathe. And then you have the Civil War silliness which also should also have been its own film, probably Avengers 3, but then I guess Marvel didn’t want to wait that long and so decided to combine the two together.
On the Civil War side, videos are played for the benefit of both audience and Avengers that highlight the battles of recent years and the civilian casualties that clearly must have been incurred, something that I wish the previous movies had been more overt about showing. Marvel clearly want a younger audience and so have avoided actually showing any carnage. I also have significant issues with the handling of the Civil War argument as, when we hear the case for registration, no one enunciates that, without our heroes to save New York in Avengers and Sokovia in Age of Ulton, the world would have been conquered or destroyed many times over. This point of contention is glossed over as if were incidental and not central to the arguments being discussed. This is also a problem.
The biggest issue that I have with this movie is that it is not a Captain America movie; it’s an Avengers movie. There are far too many characters, all of whom need screen time, and others who need an introduction so that we care about them because they have upcoming movies that Marvel want us to go see. Two separate movies would’ve allowed space to explore Cap and Bucky’s rekindled friendship but instead the film sidelines these two for the sake of spending time with everyone else. Cap 2 didn’t get to the heart of Bucky and Cap’s relationship nearly enough and in Cap 3 the problem is even worse. Were this an Avengers movie, I would have no issue. But as it is, the film avoids everything that I wanted it to focus on. Oh, and the introduction of Spider-Man, entertaining as it was, should never have happened here. The scene between Stark and Parker eats time that would’ve been better spent pursuing Cap and Bucky’s relationship. Put it in Avengers 3: Civil War and it would’ve been fine but in this film it is simply wasting time.
Finally, Rhodey should have also died, not only because his fall would’ve clearly killed him but because this movie really needed a character death at the end. Mark Millar understood this when he penned the comic and Marvel should’ve known that all of this silly fighting over nothing should’ve had consequences. Otherwise what was the point. Sure, Rhode’s won’t be War Machine again but it’s not enough for a movie like this. There will likely be more fallout in subsequent movies but, given that Avengers 3 and 4 won’t be out for many years to come, I have no idea when we’ll get the chance to see what Cap and Bucky’s actions in breaking out their comrades, none of whom can return to their lives anytime soon, will incur. Hawkeye should’ve stayed retired, eh?
To me, Cap 3 feels like a massive misstep, I am thoroughly disappointed and this is possibly the first serious mistake that Marvel have made since launching their cinematic Universe. Well, besides the god awful Iron Man 2. Perhaps they are feeling the pressure from DC and feel that they must compete but given that they are at least a decade ahead this is something that really shouldn’t be worrying about. I have seen every Marvel release since Iron Man and bought most of these movies on either DVD or Blu-Ray but I won’t be buying Captain America: Civil War and I’m not even sure that I will go and see any other Marvel movies in the cinema unless the reviews are particularly good. Dr Strange looks interesting and, as a stand-alone story, maybe it will avoid the problems of Civil War. But I am far less interested in the upcoming Avengers movies and that’s a problem for someone who’s been a fan of these movies for so long. What a damn shame!
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