Marvel's Captain America: Civil War(2016)
- RatedPG /GenreAction, Adventure
“Can you move your seat up?”
That innocuous line (ad-libbed, we’re told), said at the most unexpected moment is what makes superhero movies – particularly the ones from Marvel – so different from its counterparts.
Levity, self-referential humour and a dash of wit – it is all in there, breaking the tension in an otherwise serious film, with weighty themes.
Yes, Marvel’s latest blockbuster tent-pole ‘Captain America: Civil War’ does deal with profoundly powerful issues – namely the consequences of their actions.
It is an issue other films have tried to tread but in ‘Civil War’, the filmmakers successfully tamped down the sobriety with something relatable, funny and very engaging.
Our heroes, after years of saving the planet from aliens, an evil organisation and rampaging robots suddenly feel guilty for the wanton death and destruction they’ve caused.
The collateral damage is just too enormous to ignore and the powers that be are proposing that the Avengers go under UN control.
Their leader, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) makes a stand for autonomy, with Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) standing behind him.
But Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) supports it, along with War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Vision (Paul Bettany).
Then their tensions turn into full-on conflict when Rogers’ buddy-turned-assassin Bucky (Sebastian Stan) resurfaces.
When the film version of the Avengers slip into pop-culture’s consciousness four years ago, it was a grand spectacle, a culmination of world-building featuring their major four characters. It was a massive feat no thanks to Joss Whedon whose geek-credentials allowed him to balance such an ensemble cast with finesse.
The latter movies, however, particularly ‘Age of Ultron’ doesn’t seem to possess the same brio as its predeccessor. Not until the Russo Brothers came into the picture.
The Russo Brothers – Joe and Anthony – have assembled the most epic, if not, the best 'Avengers' movie so far, even though ‘Civil War’ is not an actual 'Avengers' movie.
With a pedigree in television comedies like ‘Community’, ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘Happy Endings’, the directors mine their collective experiences to make our heroes more… human.
Their last Captain America effort, 'The Winter Soldier' took the genre into uncharted territory; a superhero movie will all the trappings of political and spy thriller. And the same goes for 'Civil War'.
Peel away the leather, spandex and powers, this movie is essentially a family drama and a study of friendship.
In between the dizzying battles, the Jason Bourne-styled fisticuffs, politicking and an evil plot by a shadowy villain, the schism between Cap and Tony stays in focus.
Conflict is everywhere here, and it is the central issue that plagues Evans’ character the most – it is his character’s movie after all. Cap is beset with his most difficult moral journey to choose his best friend or the people whose ideals he agrees with. And it is Cap’s decisions that propels the movie.
Among all the actors in Marvel’s stable, Sebastian Stan has the best gig. His Bucky Barnes has undergone such a complexed evolution since we first saw him in ‘The First Avenger’.
War hero, villain and now an anti-hero of sorts, Stan’s Bucky/Winter Soldier is the lynchpin of this movie.
The movie also features the impressive introductions of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), an African prince with an axe to grind, and a new Spider-Man played by Tom Holland, who nails the role of the friendly neighbourhood wallcrawler down pat.
Screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have brilliantly crafted a movie that is filled with narrative gold as well as fabulous dialogue that allows for playful character interactions in between all the seriousness.
If there are ever any worries that Marvel comic-book movies are getting too formulaic, there is no sign of that in ‘Civil War’.
‘Captain America: Civil War’ opens 28 April 2016