FILM REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War

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Marvel, Disney
Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (screenplay), Mark Millar (story), Jack Kirby, Stan Lee (characters)
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jnr., Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Daniel Bruhl, Frank Grillo, Martin Freeman, Emily VanCamp, William Hurt (and breathe)
Released: 29th April 2016

“We fight”

After a mission turns into another international disaster the UN tell the Avengers that they must now be regulated by the powers that be. Battle lines are drawn when Iron Man, who supports the action, goes toe-to-to with Captain America, who resists the government he’s sworn to fight for, and bring him in. Events are complicated when Cap’s best friend, Bucky – The Winter Soldier – re-emerges and enters the fray.

In 2006/7 Marvel Comics writer Mark Millar and illustrator Steve McNiven brought the MU to its knees when a group of young heroes inadvertently set in motion a series of events that split the heroes down the middle. The government forces them to either give up their identity and register to a new law or be captured and sent to prison. Cap disobeys S.H.I.E.L.D. and the government to go the run, forming his own secret Avengers team. Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic and Yellowjacket attempt to take them down while spawning new teams of their own under the control of the leaders. The battle went for over a year and led to the demise of several heroes and villains, destroying the Avengers friendship and once unified mission objective.

After the runaway success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier the Russo brothers knew that their follow up had a lot to live up to. Each Marvel movie maybe shared by a common thread that branches outward-in to a bigger/grander story but they are each separated by differing genres that are not supposed to work together. They somehow all segue from one into the next, blissfully introducing the viewers to a new theme and narrative. The Winter Soldier delivered us a mature perspective to heroism inside a story that focused on a political conspiracy with disturbing motivations. New additions to the MCU Robert Redford, Anthony Mackie, Frank Grillo and Emily VanCamp all deliver strong performances in a well-developed story.

The story sets off with quick pace and interest, letting us see how far this new team of Avengers have come since the events of Age of Ultron. When the mission turns into a catastrophe all eyes fall on the mighty heroes to change their ways and become sanctioned by their leaders or retire their suits. If the pace slows or feels less dramatic it’s because it has to in order to build up tension among the ranks. The action soon rises when Cap goes rogue to protect his childhood friend, Bucky, the Winter Soldier himself, for his part in a deadly attack. From here on the story and action doesn’t let up and you feel the whirring energies of a big bout mounting. The scene at the airport, as the trailers already posit, is the stand out moment of the movie and will leave you gagging for more. That is all we can say on the matter.

Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely must have some seriously big cojones to break the mould and idea of what makes a hero. Making Cap question who the enemy really is, letting him take the side of a mass murdering assassin, and disobeying the officers who made him. Childhood friend or not that’s an action that goes beyond audacious and brash. There are of two sides to every argument and Tony’s is so personal that it blinds him from the truth.

The climax of the movie will take your breath away, as we see one solid and powerful attack and fight after the next culminating in a schism between friends and allies they won’t come back from any time soon.

With a cast stretching over sixteen actors, this movie’s biggest task was giving them all equal screen time and screen value as Cap and Bucky drive the story along in both dramatic, emotional and clinically designed action scenes. Everybody has a note-worthy moment to remember, from Spidey’s cheeky spins and swings to Falcon’s upgraded tech, Scarlet Witch and Vision’s personal story to Ant-Man and Hawkeye’s arrow-based shenanigans and War Machine’s buddy-up melee attacks with Tony. The list goes on but it’s newcomer Chadwick Boseman’s performance as the Black Panther that impresses us most with his feline prowess and skill set.

It’s a testament to Millar and Marvel’s tireless nigh-ten year run of successful crossovers to see their hard work and well-spun stories be translated to the big screen on such a grand and panoramic scale. Was their storytelling designed to be cinematic; that they knew that if one day these stories were to be optioned it could be transferred over with ease?


There was a time when, as kids and adults, we watched movies over and over again, never tiring of the spectacle and drama, the excitement and dialogue. That experience is seldom seen in modern movies. Avengers (Assemble) was the last time we went goo-goo-ga-ga for good ol’ fashioned popcorn entertainment. Yet, Civil War delivers that wild fever for us once again, reaching for the upper echelons of quality writing.
There are so many twists, turns and heart-thumping moments you’ll forget to breathe but when you do you’ll regret it and beg for the next scene-stealing visual to take you again.
The Russo’s, the talented company of actors and many crew members must take all the applause for taking on such an ambitious task to unite everybody together and deliver another incredible story filled with so much passion and drama.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Written by: Chris Starks

Chris Starks is a professional screenwriter of nearly two decades and Editor-in-Chief for MachinimaSBOC. As a keen comic collector, film and TV fanatic, enthusiastic about theatre and a proud Spartan you can find him at most London-based conventions hovering around various stalls hunting down bargains and having a larf.

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