Marvel has absolutely changed the game when it comes to Hollywood's approach to making a franchise. Now, everyone and their mother is attempting to get a project off the ground where three or four individual movies are made before bringing them together in a single epic film. Thus far, nobody else has succeeded, but Marvel is still going strong, entering Phase Three of their Cinematic Universe.
Review by Crispy
Added: October 01, 2016
It's business as usual for the Avengers; the reformed squad have been traveling around the world taking out terrorist forces. Unfortunately, there's no denying that their actions have considerable collateral damage, resulting in billions of dollars in property damage and thousands of innocent lives lost. Their last fight in Lagos, Nigeria was especially nasty, as the young Wanda Maximoff used her powers to divert an explosion into the sky and inadvertently destroyed the top floors of a skyscraper, killing a group of Wakandan diplomats. The United Nations have decided that they can no longer let The Avengers operate unchecked and the Secretary of State (General Ross) swings by to inform them that the U.N. is establishing a panel that will manage the group's operations. Naturally, they're divided on how to proceed. Steve Rogers is dead set against it, not trusting the governments' self-serving nature. Meanwhile, after being confronted by the mother of a man killed in Sokovia, Tony Stark is racked with guilt and believes one hundred percent that they need supervision. Natasha is of two minds about it: she absolutely agrees with Steve's logic, but realizes that if they try to resist they'll likely be forced to disband altogether. Falcon is naturally going to follow Cap, Vision believes their unchecked strength inherently leads to stronger evils being created to confront them, and Wanda is still too torn up about the explosion to make up her mind just yet.
With the group thoroughly divided, Natasha and Tony are the only ones who attend the U.N. conference, which is promptly bombed; security footage reveals it to be Steve's old pal, Bucky. The pair beg Steve not to involve himself so it doesn't exacerbate their already tarnished image in the eyes of the world. Of course, when it comes to Bucky, Steve has no intention of stepping aside, and, with Falcon's help, confronts his old friend. Protecting the Winter Soldier puts the two heroes on the Most Wanted List, cementing the separation within the Avengers. Meanwhile, also in attendance at the conference was T'Challa, a Wakandan prince who has recently ascended to King due to his father's death in the explosion. In Wakanda, taking on the crown also involves taking on the mantle of the superhero Black Panther and he vows revenge against Bucky, joining Stark's side by default. After each side recruits a few hired hands, the battle lines are set and hero will stand against hero.
Captain America: Civil War certainly doesn't slouch in the plot development. We've got twelve different warriors dividing into two sides, and they've all got their own separate motivations for making their choice. While some of them merely show up as something of a hired gun, the majority of them have very logical, intimate reasons for making the choices they do. It's the force that keeps this movie moving so smoothly and what makes watching these heroes go toe to toe so entertaining. This is Marvel after all; when things get down and dirty, it's balls to the wall. Evening before they squared off against each other, that opening Lagos scene was just as much fun as the franchise can provide.
We're thirteen movies deep into the Universe, and I've raved about the chemistry between the heroes in every review I've written. I'm sure at this point I don't have to dwell on it any longer, and while it's still high, the tension between the split adds a brand new element to things. Robert Downey, Jr. especially brought his A-Game, introducing an angrier, driven Stark than we've seen before. Unfortunately, this tension wasn't quite brought to the levels it should have been. More on that later. We've also got newcomers Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland joining the fold as Black Panther and Spider-Man respectively. I really enjoyed Boseman's performance; in fact, I'm a little upset that I have to wait another two years to see his feature movie. Spider-Man is another story. You see, when Marvel got the character back from Sony, they announced that not only were they rebooting the character again, but were going back to the comic character's roots of a teenager. Trouble is, teenagers are incredibly annoying, and this Spider-Man is no exception. Sure, his fight was entertaining enough. Nothing we haven't seen over the past five movies, but still fun. He just wouldn't shut up.
With all that said, there's a definite problem here. While I'm not exactly into the comic books, I do know a little about them, and I know the Civil War was a long, bitter affair. Blood was spilled, lives were lost. It was certainly more than a single movie involving two fights. I hate that such a unique, fleshed out story has been watered down this badly. It didn't have a chance to reach the full horror of war. Here, I could very well see the sides patching things up and moving on like it never happened. What's the point? They've blatantly pissed away a lot of potential. Truth is, Civil War should have been reserved for after their fight with Thanos and been the focus of the entire Phase Four. I wouldn't even have separated the films into the main heroes' individual flicks, but just name the whole run of films Civil War: Subtitle. Now admittedly, they could very well keep it going further into Phase Three. After all, there's another ten movies to come (yes, Phase Three is only one movie shy of Phases One and Two combined), but they're all either movies for characters either being introduced or were just kind of hired hands here.
I'm of two minds on how to go about scoring this review. On the one hand, it really bothers me how much potential the Civil War story has that's thrown out the window. But then, I do have to admit that while it doesn't seem likely, they could keep things going through the rest of the Phase. Plus, I had an absolute ball with the movie itself, and shouldn't that be the deciding factor? 8/10.