by: S. Scott Stanikmas – Senior Staff Writer
Summer Blockbuster Season is upon us! But it might as well be over as well because what might prove to be one of the year’s best movies has been released and that film is Captain America: Civil War. I know we still have eight months left in the year but Marvel Studios has just raised the bar for not only their own films but comic book films in general.
In a loose adaptation of the 2006-07 Marvel Comics storyline by writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven, Civil War finally brings the MCU to the inevitable point that we all saw coming – superheroes being called to cost for the damage that gets inflicted when they save the world. The straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back is when a delegation from Wakanada ( a peaceful but reclusive African nation) gets killed in an errant explosion during an Avengers mission to apprehend Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo returning from Captain America: The Winter Soldier) aka Crossbones.
The Sokovia Accords – a treaty signed by 117 United Nations representatives – would have the Avengers become an entity unto the U.N. and only go on sanctioned missions instead of where they feel they are needed most. This divides Earth’s Mightiest Heroes into two camps – those for registration (led by Tony Stark) and those against it (led by Captain America).
Meanwhile the search for the Winter Soldier is still on. While Captain America and Falcon never really stopped looking, their search gets stepped up by the fact that everyone else is hunting for Bucky as well after he bombs the U.N. proceedings for the Sokovia Accords. Now Bucky has both sides of the registration act hunting him down as well as newcomer Black Panther (who has his own reasons for wanting to see the Winter Soldier go down).
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely manage to tell what feels like three different stories and juggle about a dozen different characters in a film that doesn’t feel rushed or have any points that drag. Every action builds upon itself until we get to a satisfying end that sets up what should be a truly different MCU in Phase Three.
What truly made this story stand out was the fact that every person had their reasons for doing what they did and believed that they were in the right. You could see the merit in both sides of the argument and I know I sat there hoping for an end where everyone would come together and compromise – but this was a tale of change and evolution and you will most definitely see the repercussions from this film ripple through the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While this may have been a Captain America film I was thoroughly impressed with the evolution of Tony Stark and how we finally get to see his true colors. If you watch from Iron Man up through Civil War you can almost see the familial battle between Shellhead and Cap. As I watched Civil War Tony came off more and more like a petulant child whose father favored his “older brother” (Captain America) more. You can hear it in Tony’s voice the last time he tries to get Cap to sign the Accords and you most assuredly sense it in the climax of the film where Iron Man and Captain America go toe-to-toe in an epic battle.
And even though this film already had plenty of established characters to work with, the filmmakers decided to get ambitious and bring aboard Black Panther and the fan favorite Spider-Man. While both could have felt tacked on and without purpose it’s a testament to everyone involved that these two ended up almost stealing the show. I’m actually really bummed out that we have to wait almost two years (!!!) for the solo Black Panther film.
While there were nitpicky moments they truly were few and far between. The Russos and McFeely and Markus have proven why they are the go-to team for balls-to-the-wall action that also tells a compelling story or three. The start of Marvel’s Phase Three has gotten off to a fantastic start that will hopefully only get better with each subsequent installment – and seeing as how this is the team that is going to take on the next Avengers films I’d say that we can expect Phase Three to end on just as high a note.
Oh and in case you were wondering…I was #TeamCap all the way.