The Captain America films have without a doubt shown to be the mini-franchise within the MCU that has shown the greatest sense of progression and impact; with each film pushing Marvel to innovate in how they employ their action sequences or how they form character interactions.
Captain America: Civil War continues the story of Steve Rogers, as the government issues a controversial accords that will prevent the Avengers from acting as a rogue agency and instead following the governments directive. In this conflict, the Avengers remain divided and must choose whether to agree to this or refuse and face imprisonment.
This film stands as Captain America’s story though the conflict and complex confrontations are shared equally with Iron Man; this film stands as a turning point for both characters as they come to terms with where their morals and best interests lie. This film mixes what the Russo Brothers did so masterfully in their previous film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a sense of political importance and gravity within the MCU; making the world feel far more grounded and complex. The focus on character building is this film’s greatest strength, conflicts arise between characters and a looming feeling draws nearer, each hero is forced to pick a side and stick to it. Both the heroes in the story and the audience feel a distinct divide and no side is clearly the right one.
While this was Evan’s film, Robert Downey Jr. steals the show, providing his best performance as Iron Man; he raises the intensity in this film to an all time high as Tony Stark’s emotional conflict boils over into eventual fury as he discovers unsettling truths about his past and friends he thought he had. Chris Evans provides a performance where finally the morals of Captain America are put into question. Much of the other cast slide mostly unnoticed apart from Chadwick Boseman’s and Tom Holland’s well received introduction as new standalone characters.
Where this film stands strong in character building it performs shockingly poorly in overall visual design. From the flat, dull, lifeless color grading spattered throughout a film which had no need to be drained of life, to the oddly bad choices of filming locations such as the airport. I also have moments where Iron Man’s suit looks digitally cropped onto Downey’s body. Admittedly the battle sequences and hand to hand combat were fantastic and managed to make up for much of the odd design choices.
Civil War is character writing and conflict at its near best in the MCU, properly playing with emotion and making the conflicts feel believable were paramount in this films success. Wrapped in tension, heartache, and intense character building – Captain America: Civil War works determinedly at building a divide between the heroes we’ve come to respect and splitting morals and values for the audience to bare witness.