Chaos gives way to conscience in Marvel’s latest chapter
You’d be forgiven for rolling your eyes at the release of yet another Marvel movie. It’s easy to lose count of how many there are now or get confused entirely as to what is part of the Marvel universe in the recent barrage of superhero movies. But, there’s something refreshingly different about the third instalment of the Captain America franchise that sets it apart from its predecessors – our heroes are finally held accountable for their actions.
Echoing the premise of Batman v Superman, Civil War focuses on the repercussions their misconduct has in a world where the people they are trying to protect fear them. Following on from the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, which saw the (fictional) country of Sokovia largely destroyed by our superheroes, the United Nations decide to take action. They slap a restraining order on them in the form of the ‘Sokovia Accords’, which puts them at the beck and call of the government, rather than being left to their own chaotic devices. Our heroes have a choice – sign it or ‘retire’.
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) champions the deal, believing they need to be kept in check to put an end to the collateral damage that always seems to go unpunished. Captain America (Chris Evans), on the other hand, is reluctant to relinquish their freedom and trust an organisation that may have an agenda, reminiscent of S.H.I.E.L.D – or worse, Hydra. The tension divides the group and pits our favourite superheroes against each other for the first time, leading to an epic clash that asks us to choose a side.
What sets Civil War apart from the pack is that it doesn’t rely on over-the-top action scenes to propel the movie. Instead, it focuses on our characters, their feelings and their relationships with one another, giving this instalment a heavy dose of heart that makes it so likeable. With the return of Steve Rogers’ former best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan), it was inevitable that this film would focus more on allegiances, given Rogers’ defiance to protect his friend above all else. His undying loyalty to Bucky intensifies the animosity between his comrades, particularly as Bucky is believed to be responsible for a terrorist attack that claims more innocent lives.
With such an emphasis on characters, Civil War is the perfect moment to introduce a few new heroes to the fold. We meet T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a noble Prince whose father was killed in the attack Bucky is blamed for, as Black Panther. Suited head-to-toe in black, complete with ears and razor-sharp claws, he definitely wins the award for best costume. His fighting style is appropriately agile and he moves as though he knows exactly what he’s doing. On the other hand, we have someone who doesn’t quite know how to be a superhero yet – Peter Parker (Tom Holland), or Spider-Man as he’s more commonly known. We meet the legendary character as a teenager, recruited by Iron-Man to join his team. His abilities are still relatively new to him, which makes him the prime candidate for comic relief throughout the film. We also get to see Paul Bettany’s Vision get more screen time than ever before, who is still unsure of the full extent of his powers.
That doesn’t mean Civil War is short on action. On the contrary, it features one of the most memorable brawls in the history of the Marvel cinematic universe. Superfans couldn’t have asked for more from the battle we’ve all been waiting for – our heroes duelling for the very first time. There’s so much about this scene that transcends every other action sequence we’ve seen so far, from the motivation behind it to the way it’s shot to the host of characters involved. We see Iron Man take on Captain America; Black Panther tackle The Winter Soldier; War Machine (Don Cheadle) battle The Falcon (Sam Wilson)… The scene manages to cram all the stars of the movie into it, without losing track of a single one.
Despite the adrenaline-filled, emotionally-charged overtones of the fight, Civil War injects much-needed humour into a scene that could have been disheartening. Much of this comes from the running commentary of young novice, Spider-Man, who can’t quite believe he’s there the entire time. Combine this with Ant-Man’s (Paul Rudd) quips and newfound ability to turn into a giant, the scene is packed with side-splitting moments that put the usual one-liners to shame. The humour distracts the audience, making the shock at the end of the fight all the more heart-stopping.
The Avengers will never be the same after the battle, which is solidified when Tony and Steve clash at the climax of the film. It leaves us at an impasse, wondering where our heroes will go from here and if we’ll ever see them fully reunited again. That’s enough to make me come back for more – I don’t know about you?