Captain America: Civil War (2016)

An interesting film, certainly different from the standard Marvel fare in some ways, and all too similar in others. Rather than waste our time with another bland, unmemorable, poorly-written villain, “Captain America: Civil War” gives us dual protagonists working as antagonists for each other. Captain America and Iron Man are developed enough that the conflict, the “villains” of the film (being each other), are compelling. What’s more, the “real” villain behind the scenes, is easily my favourite of all the Marvel villains yet – someone with a very relatable and real purpose to their villainous actions, and portrayed in a surprisingly nuanced performance by Daniel Brühl.

The film’s a bit odd structurally, with a sojourn in the second act to Queens for the Spider-Man subplot. While enjoyable, and well-acted by all involved, the Spider-Man component of the film feels really unnecessary. You could very easily excise it and nothing of import would be lost. Still, I liked all the scenes, and the characters and actors involved in them. They just felt superfluous. But that’s kind of to be expected with these films now; they’re more ongoing series than works in their own right, so odd structural decisions to set up further films is to be expected, for better or worse. Funnily enough, there’s another new superhero and subplot in the film (Black Panther) that’s executed really well, and absolutely vital to the story of the film.

I found most of the action to be poorly directed, very haphazardly shot and choreographed. However, the big third act action setpiece is absolutely excellent. It’s funny, thrilling, full of good character moments, and is just a total blast. I suppose my only real criticism of it is it feels at times a bit tonally incongruous with the more serious main story of the film, but I’m used to inconsistent tone in these films by now.

The story loses its way a bit at the very end, with rivalries evaporating and the focus moving over to setting a new status quo rather than resolving any of the idealogical disputes set up earlier in the film.

I give the film three orange slices, and (finally) a good villain.

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