It’s the year of superhero showdowns! Daredevil took on The Punisher on Netflix, Batman had a bone to pick with Superman, and now Captain America and Iron Man have divided the Avengers and are at war.
I had a blast watching Captain America: Civil War and I honestly think it’s one of the best Marvel films to date. While it obviously isn’t perfect (honestly, which movie is?), there are so many things the movie gets right that I decided to make a spoiler-free list out of all its positives. Marvel’s latest offering is huge in scale, heavy with an ensemble of characters, and loosely tackles one of the most defining arcs in Marvel’s long and illustrious comic book history. For what it’s worth and for all the shortcomings of not having every Marvel superhero under their banner, I think the Russo brothers, Kevin Feige, and the entire team behind Civil War did an amazing job.
With the Marvel Cinematic Universe now entering its third phase and well on its way to the ultimate culmination of the franchise, Captain America: Civil War does a great job at raising the stakes, escalating the storyline, and giving our heroes more depth and character as they head into the defining chapter of this giant arc. Here are the 15 things that Captain America: Civil War did that were absolutely perfect.
15 Steve Rogers – Bucky Barnes Relationship
14 Introducing Black Panther
It’s hard work introducing a new character into an already packed ensemble. But when you have a powerhouse actor like Chadwick Boseman playing the warrior T'Challa (aka Black Panther), things get a little less difficult. Boseman captivates with his charismatic on-screen presence from the moment he shows up, but when things get rough and he debuts the Black Panther in full gear, you’re bound to go “Woah, now that’s badass!”
13 Consequences of War
The biggest problem on DC’s side of things is the collateral damage caused by Superman’s destructive way of handling business. Warner Bros and Zack Snyder tried to address this glaring issue in Batman v Superman but seemingly only made things worse. At the risk of sounding like a Marvel fanboy, I dare say that Captain America: Civil War addresses the consequences of superhuman showdowns perfectly.
12 Humanizing The Vision
The Vision, played by the unbelievably talented Paul Bettany, was a polarizing figure in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. While I liked what he could do, I felt as though his character was too sudden and distracted us from the story. However, he’s back in Civil War and the Russo brothers manage to give him some much-needed depth and personality within his first few minutes of screen time.
11 The Bond Between The Avengers
9 Style and Substance
While the cinematography isn’t as pretty as Age Of Ultron, the Russo brothers do a fine job at keeping the third installment in the Captain America franchise tonally consistent with their previous film, The Winter Soldier. The movie once again feels like a multi-layered political thriller. Sometimes it feels a lot like one of the Bourne movies. Nevertheless, it’s a good style, but what’s more impressive is the story behind the visuals. The script isn’t simple and neither are the characters. Instead of a one-track ‘hero versus villain’ plot, Civil War is both complex and easy to follow at the same time.
8 Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man
Okay, the moment everyone has been waiting for. Spider-Man is handled perfectly in Civil War. There, I said it. Some will love this new interpretation of Spider-Man, and others might complain about him being too young, but I personally think Marvel handled the character in remarkable fashion. Not only do they have to reintroduce this character to us for the third time in about a decade, but they do it with so much tact that the audience instantly warms up to their new Peter Parker and everything is smooth sailing from there. Tom Holland is funny, positively awkward, and has great comedic timing…which is pivotal to any interpretation of Spider-Man.
7 Sense of Humor
Ever since The Dark Knight blew box-office records to oblivion, superhero movies have tried to be grittier and darker in an effort to replicate the same kind of success. Marvel have done a great job of balancing grit and humor in most of their movies, and Civil War is no different. While it’s arguably the darkest of the Marvel bunch, which doesn’t mean it’s too dark at all, it’s also infused with a good amount of humor. It isn’t annoying humor like the type we get from Kat Dennings' character in the Thor series, but rather more in the vein of witty one liners, smart banter, and clever dialogue.
6 Fleshed-Out Characters
What I love most about Captain America: Civil War is how much time each character is given to tell a story. No one seems rushed, and not one character exists in the film for no reason. It’s all very cleverly fleshed out and the result is a clean and coherent movie that’s easy to follow albeit being complex in nature.
5 Tony Stark’s Past
4 The Threat Is Real
Finally, a real threat! One major issue I’ve had with Marvel is their portrayal of villains. With the exception of Loki, all their major villains are hilariously outgunned by the good guys. When is the last time a villain was properly fleshed out in a Marvel film? From the Dark Elves to Ronan the Accuser, Marvel’s villains are basically stereotypical boss-fight baddies who not only lack depth, but never really seem like a threat to the abundantly powerful lineup of heroes Marvel has pitted against them.
3 The Winter Soldier
2 Two Post-Credits Scenes!
1 For Once, It Didn’t Focus On the Future
One of my pet peeves with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is how fixated the movies are on future events. It’s always about Thanos or is somehow driven towards that arc. I get it, Infinity War is the culmination of this gargantuan series and needs to be addressed, but focusing on it too much makes the present seem insignificant. Captain America: Civil War hints at the impending storm to come without distracting the audience at all. We’re all aware that something big is brewing on the horizon, but right now we’re just happy to be focusing on this war between two of our favorite heroes.
There’s so much that these movies have to offer that they don’t have to always hint at Thanos. I like how Civil War keeps things grounded and emphasizes on the problems at hand instead of the catastrophe that is to come. By making those simple choices, the filmmakers allowed us to enjoy the current storyline for what it is, right now, without having to think about the Infinity War too much. Time for that will come, and I wouldn’t mind them hinting at Thanos when necessary, but Captain America: Civil War is amazing enough as a compact, contained film and I’m extremely happy with how it turned out.
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