In 2008, a billionaire mogul became an armor-clad superhero. The following year, everyone’s favorite rage monster smashed onto the big screen. In 2010, Iron Man returned, this time with a military veteran armed with his own armored suit and a woman creeping out of a secret defense organization. In 2011, gods rained from the sky to bring their fight to Earth. Later that year, we returned to 1942, to watch our “Star Spangled Banner” being honored by a man who fought against the people who sought to destroy us. And in 2012, these heroes united to fight a foe that they couldn’t defeat alone.
In the following years, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and others fought against their own demons – gods who sought to bend reality, a sinister parasite/mole within their government, and a sentient being focused on their destruction. All these events led to this: a civil war between the Avengers.
“Captain America: Civil War,” directed by the Russo Brothers (of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” fame), follows Cap (Chris Evans) and the Avengers, as they protect the world, only to find themselves responsible for destruction and cataclysm.
After a horrible catastrophe in Lagos, the Avengers are presented with the Sokovia Accords, a government document relegating command of the Avengers to the government itself. This creates a rift between the heroes, as Captain America takes a stand against the Accords, while Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) reluctantly agrees to it. The rest take sides, starting a battle for who really is the leader of earth’s mightiest heroes.
Further fueling the fire is the reemergence of Cap’s old war friend (turned brainwashed assassin) Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). His past comes into question as a mysterious man, Zemo (Daniel Brühl), starts pulling the strings of the Avengers, and an advanced nation starts to tail them too.
The hype surrounding this movie was massive. The thought of seeing our greatest heroes fight each other is the stuff of dreams. And it plays out exactly as you’d like it to. The cast, as usual, hits it out of the park. Standouts include Downey as the dark, broken Tony Stark, and Evans, who gives the Captain an emotional side. Also, Stan, Elizabeth Olsen (as Scarlet Witch), Paul Bettany (as Vision), Paul Rudd (as Ant-Man), and Brühl turn in great performances. But the two best characters are both new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU): Chadwick Boseman nails it as T’Challa, a diplomat/prince/warrior who moonlights as the Black Panther. Additionally, Spider-Man is introduced in his new form by Tom Holland. I can’t wait to see more from these two.
The plot is stellar, dealing with the fallout of previous movies while also spinning a great story with twists and surprises. The emotional depth this movie achieves is amazing. The action, as usual, is great, with the Tarmac battle and the ending fight being my personal favorites in the MCU to date.
This movie at times can feel overstuffed and not like a Captain America story. Nevertheless, it is my favorite MCU movie, and favorite film of 2016. 10/10
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.