Captain America: Civil War (Five Years Later!)
Wow! It has been five years already since the release of Captain America Civil War made its debut in theaters and with it, polarizing receptions from the highly acclaimed to very disappointing depending on who you talk to. Out of all the MCU films, the Captain America trilogy were the most well received even beating out The Avengers-and this is good because I’ve been a fan of the iconic Superhero ever since I could read comics! Now, if anyone would ask: “Hey Stalks, out of all the Superheroes from Marvel, why Captain America?” And in turn, I would easily respond with this;
•He is an accomplished martial artist, acrobat, and a brilliant tactician who despite not acquiring special powers like his teammates, Cap is more than capable of holding his own even against hopeless situations. Not to mention, that he is worthy of welding Thor’s hammer Mjolnir!
•The very first comic character with an African-American partner who is not some “sidekick”.
•Cap is the pinnacle of perfection regarding strength, speed, and stamina.
•Then there is that iconic uniform with his mighty Shield.
•Although he was not a founding member of the Avengers, not only did Cap quickly assumed the role as team leader, but also, he trained Ironman, Hawkeye, and many others in hand-to-hand combat. An exceptional strategist, Captain America leads the charge with the infamous battle cry: "Avengers Assemble!"
But above all the other reasons, I would easily say that it is his courage of conviction and a conscientious objector that motivates him to either question authority (i.e., Turning in his uniform and shield when the Government demanded that he should work for their best "interests".) or taking personal initiative, whenever he believes it’s the best course of action. “He fights for the right when the due is due...!”
And in the case of the latter, Steven Rogers aka Captain America, is forced to go against the United States Government, and even worse, half of the World's Mightiest Heroes led by his former friend and Avengers teammate Anthony Stark!
In Captain America: Civil War, the third and final installment of the Marvel series and loosely based on Mark Millar's divisive graphic novel, lines have been drawn when Cap and what left of the Avengers try to stop Helmut Zemo’s plans from hatching while protecting Steve’s bff James Buchanan Barnes, who was falsely accused of a terrorist attack. But at what costs and consequences when going up against your friends turned enemies? This sequel begins with Hydra Mercenary, Crossbones acquiring an experimental biological weapon but unfortunately, things go south real fast after Wanda indirectly causes collateral damage killing many nearby and following the backlash via media and public outcry, the Avengers are now seen as irresponsible. (Sound familiar?) In steps former General, now Secretary of State Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross holding court with " Earth's Mightiest Heroes” for all their past activities, suggesting that it is within their best interest to comply with this "Sorvia Accords", a legislation mandate enforcing accountability with the government and of course, Cap does not like the idea of the Avengers being under Ross’ leash.
However, the real lynchpin to what sets the stage is Winter Soldier. It seems that Cap's best friend Bucky must atone for his past acts of terrorism. Rogers is forced not only to go against those who are in favor of cooperating with the government but for the most part, protecting his friend Bucky from being assassinated let alone captured and therein lies the dilemma.Unpopular opinion, Captain America Civil War is by far the best third chapter of the Marvel Superhero films.
It begs to question our very own moral compass regardless of what side you root for and to what lengths will our heroes go through. Unlike the Comic adaptation, there simply is no cut and dry as I often found myself empathizing with both Stark and Rogers especially during the 3rd act with a Machiavellian resolution.
Marvel spared no punches when making this sequel and it shows! The fight choreography is among the best of what I have seen from any comic-based film. If you were impressed by what you have seen in 2014's The Winter Soldier, you will not walk away disappointed. The story deviates from not only the comics but in the case of Zemo, the villains’ motives.
“My father lived outside the city. I thought we would be safe there. My son was excited. He could see the Iron Man from the car window. I told my wife "Don't worry. They're fighting in the city. We're miles from harm". And the dust cleared... and the screaming stopped... it took me two days until I found their bodies. My father... still holding my wife and son in his arms... and the Avengers? They went home.”
Zemo’s motive as extreme as they were, are understandable. Despite the Avengers saving lives, they inadvertently have cost innocent lives as well. Stark’s hubris has come back to haunt him especially after the shocking revelation of who really killed his parents, and this is when we reach an impactful crescendo as an enraged Stark faces off with the sentinel of liberty and a Winter Soldier!
Aside from these highlights, the biggest and most welcomed takeaways go to Black Panther and Spiderman’s introduction within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, respectively! Tom Holland’s portrayal of the iconic Web Slinger was the best since Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman, be it his naiveté, the trademark snappy banter during combat and of course his infamous quotes: “You have a metal arm?? That’s awesome!” After what I have seen its more than evident that Marvel should take over the franchise from Sony who stubbornly continues to hold onto the intellectual properties’ rights.
I remember my friends and I cheering loudly when first laying eyes on the Black Panther when he made a dramatic appearance as the very first Black superhero of all comicdom and the fact that Tchalla is Marvel’s answer to Batman, had given me more reason to be excited and guess what, it paid off! The late, great Chadwick Boseman was fantastic as BP and his motivations for choosing Ironman’s side, is obvious.
Throughout the film, I witnessed shifting allegiances with a few well implemented surprises. One, that caught me off guard. It was a great Birthday present for me as the sequel premiered during May 6th.
Aside from the outstanding performances of both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr, I got to give it up to the supporting cast members; Daniel Bruhl, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd and especially Chadwick Boseman whose T’challa a fierce warrior Prince fixated on vengeance only to realize his methods were wrong. The dialogue between Bucky and Falcon solo project had me hoping for a Falcon and Winter Soldier series..oh, wait..!!. With great moments such as Scott Lang’s admiration of Captain America to the banter between Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the Russo Brothers delivered a great balance of comedy within a dramatic themed action film. This movie and prior to that, The Winter Soldier helped to further springboard the Russos’ careers concluding with Avengers Infinity War and Endgame.
Divided, we fall!
Captain America: Civil War without any doubt, was the best Superhero film of 2016 which pushed the envelope between the power dynamics of two important protagonists with a war that in the end, were no winners.
The irony of Civil War was how the real Civil War began during 2016, the same year this movie debuted of course, the election and presidential win of Donald J Trump, was more polarizing than armchair critics debating over a superhero film! Friends became sudden enemies and family members were estranged instantly. Even though trump’s hour year reign is now over, some wounds will never be healed.So, whose side were you on?