Captain America: Civil War – Movie Review (no spoilers)

Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo

I’m not even going to list the characters because there are way too many. 
After a year and a half of anticipation, Captain America: Civil War is finally here, and it is absolutely phenomenal. 
After directing this movie’s predecessor, the Russo brothers are back, and they’re back to prove that they know exactly how to make a comic book movie.
I am going to talk about this movie based on the characters in it, because really, that’s how the story is shaped too. 
This is first and foremost a Captain America movie, and a sequel to The Winter Soldier. That beautifully complements the overall story and establishes Steve Rogers as a character. However, to talk about Steve Rogers, one really needs to consider two other characters, because these three characters really blend well to develop an overall arc.
James Barnes, or The Winter Soldier, makes his return from the previous film and is pivotal to the plot, and he has grown as a character. He is split, he is constantly at war with himself, he isn’t sure what he knows and doesn’t know… You can really feel for him. He makes Captain America in this movie because one of Rogers’ main viewpoints concerns him, and that inevitably makes the movie what it is.
Tony Stark is the second character I am talking about, because his view contradicts Rogers’ in the scenario that they are presented with. But, and I cannot stress this enough, I felt like Tony Stark was a better character. I have never liked Tony Stark before in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline as much as I do now, and I love Tony Stark. I would have renamed this movie Iron Man: Civil War. Don’t get me wrong, Captain America was a brilliant character in this movie as well, but Tony Stark’s character and especially the way his character goes in the third act was simply brilliant.
Something happens involving both Carters in this movie, that seems a bit out of place, but if you see it with a more keen eye, that scene is something that is essential to the emotional weight of this movie.
Now, this movie has so many characters that it could have been a mess and some of the characters could have just been there for the sake of being there. That was not the case for any of the main characters. Not a single one. Scarlett Witch’s powers in this movie are expanded (not quite to her comic book scale yet) and she has her own, very important arc in this movie. She is very important indeed, and Elizabeth Olsen’s performance was much better than her part in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Paralleling her in some ways is Vision, who, like in the comic world, seems to be developing a very strong connection with Scarlett Witch, and in a literal sense, he is much more humanised than he previously was. Falcon and War Machine serve the same purpose on either side, but they are the best right hand men anyone could ask for. Ant-Man comes in very late, but something happens that blew his character out of proportions and gave him a very special moment. Black Widow is really in the background for this movie, but with good purpose. She could be argued as the most important character of the lot. Hawkeye also comes in late, and he is probably the weakest of the characters. That isn’t a bad thing though, because that is in comparison. He is still a good character. 
Marvel had to debut two new characters in this movie, and they did it with perfection. Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, or Black Panther, actually had much more screen time than I expected, and was handled in a way that I didn’t think was possible. The very motivation for the character stems from the plot itself, and interwoven things like that highlight the cohesiveness and wit of this movie. The iteration of the character was fantastic, and he was handled in a way that reminded me of Wonder Woman’s treatment in Batman v Superman, in the way that she had her own music when she appeared. Black Panther also had that, and it made him feel like a presence, and really gave the character what he is due. Black Panther, being the last movie before Avengers: Infinity Wars Part 1, has immense potential.
The second new character isn’t really new, but he is to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it is safe to say that this is the best Spider-Man we have ever seen on screen. I heard a lot of people saying that before I watched the movie, and I thought that was partly based on the prejudice that this is done by Marvel and the previous were done by Sony, but it isn’t. At all. Tom Holland’s Peter Parker and Spider-Man combined both Tobey Maguire’s and Andrew Garfield’s, and gave us a character that was ripped straight from the source material. The way he’s brought into the movie is great too, and Robert Downey Junior’s confirmed appearance in Spider-Man: Homecoming only excites me more for that movie.
I’ll be making quite a few comparisons to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, not to blindly say one is better than the other, but to provide context. 
Captain America: Civil War, much like Batman v Superman, is a film that is essentially made for comic book fans at heart. That’s just a fact. Casual fans are likely not to view this film as great as hardcore fans would. But other than that, someone who doesn’t have a wide eyes can also critique the movie in a few ways, but you really need to read between the lines in a few instances.
A lot of people are going to say that Crossbones is wasted, but in essence, and if you really think about it, Crossbones kick-started the plot for the entire movie and tore The Avengers apart. I won’t spoil how, but if you look at it that way, Crossbones is a very important character. The main villain, Zemo (who is Baron Zemo, just very different from the source material), is one of my favourite Marvel villains (even though that isn’t really saying much), and I truly believe that people are exaggerating when they say he isn’t good. He isn’t in the forefront a lot, but he had motivations, and he had a very detailed plan that was also key to the whole movie. And his character was interesting as well. Unlike usual, the reasons for his doings are very slowly hinted at and built up, and I respect that. By the end, one can truly feel for him and understand him. Those are the best kind of villains. Plus, he initiated the final sequence, which I will get to later. The thing about this villain is that he did something that no previous Marvel villain has done before, and for that too, you need to look beyond the screen and think. I won’t say what it is because it’s a spoiler, but Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo really is one of my favourite Marvel villains there have been.
Now, to talk about this movie as a movie. From beginning to end, I was endlessly engaged, and each act was brilliantly balanced. There was so much action in this movie that it becomes quite hard to believe the amount of heart, emotion and weight that it packs. I’ll compare it to Batman v Superman and say that this movie has more meaning to it. It has more substance. Characters’ views and reasons were much clearer, and that is one thing that is so spectacular with this movie. I walked into this film neutral, but both views of the main characters’ completely had me divided through the whole movie. Both had strong arguments, and they were both right! Nobody was an antagonist here – both sides were actually right. And that made the movie a roller coaster, psychologically.
Acts one, two and three of this movie are great in their own way, and the action in the second act is some of the best action ever put to film. Everyone has a moment, everyone is important, everything looks spectacular, there’s bits of humour thrown in there, it felt exceptionally real, and the way people shuffled between each other was smart and fluid. That one sequence makes this movie special. It’s truly magnificent.
However, I was skeptical that this wasn’t the last act of the movie, and a little bit disappointed… Until the last act actually happened. If the movie at this point was a 10/10, then the final act made it 11/10, because everything that happens really gets to you. Pieces fit together, things get much darker and the movie just becomes something much, much bigger than I thought it would ever be.  Now look, I don’t mean to make this comparison as to say that Batman v Superman is a bad film (I still stick to my full rating), but if you compare this to the last act of that, there is a clear winner. In all honestly, the last act of Dawn of Justice was a bit of a mess and felt like the editing for it wasn’t completely done. The last act of this movie feels, quite simply, perfect. And, as I mentioned earlier, Tony Stark in the last act really pulls your heart strings.
The way the movie would end was something I kept speculating about for months, and the way it did end was really good. It couldn’t have been done much better. You might not like it when it happens, but upon thought it becomes clearer. It, like most of the movie, hit me where it matters and adds an intriguing beginning to the Infinity Wars/Gauntlet story. That, however, is two years away. 
Sadly, the theatre I went to stopped the movie when the credits came on, so I didn’t get to see the post-credits scenes. 
Overall, Captain America: Civil War was everything I wanted it to be, and much more. Marvel just put out arguably their best movie yet, and the fact that the Russo brothers are directing Infinity Wars is great news too. 
On a scale where M is the lowest, and R is the highest possible rating, with the highlighted letter being the rating:

Captain America: Civil War: MIHIR

If there was a rating higher, I’d give it. But I don’t. And I’m not cheating like I did on my Daredevil season one review. So just consider it a rating higher than my highest.
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