If there’s one franchise which always entertains, it’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe – its movies always seem to have the perfect blend of action and humour. Even so, the last couple of films have seen the franchise’s crowd-pleasing formula become increasingly stale. Thankfully, the latest MCU film has given the series the boost it so desperately needed.
The superhero squad known as the Avengers is in strife after one of their recent missions saw the inadvertent deaths of a number of civilians. This event, combined with the team’s other destructive activities, has led to a backlash from both governments and the public – Tony “Iron Man” Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is even confronted by a woman whose son was killed in an Avengers battle.
In order to keep the superheroes inline, the United Nations puts forward a document called the Sokovia Accords (a reference to Avengers: Age of Ultron) which will see the Avengers act only at the request of the UN. Stark is supportive of the idea, but Steve “Captain America” Rogers (Chris Evans) has his doubts about the Accord, as do several other members of the team.
Fractures in the group begin to grow after Steve’s old friend “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is supposedly framed as the mastermind behind a terrorist attack in Vienna. Captain Rogers must now make the toughest decision of his life: abandon the cause which he has always strived for, or let his oldest friend be captured and potentially killed.
This is the sort of conflict that the Marvel movies have been crying out for. What directors Joe and Anthony Russo have cleverly done with Civil War is showcase a battle of ideals, rather than one of brute strength. To emphasise this point, the film’s central villain, Colonel Zemo (Daniel Brühl) doesn’t even lay a finger on our heroes. And yet, despite all its seriousness, the film is a lot of fun.
There are some spectacular action scenes, the best of which sees Iron Man’s allies face off against Cap’s allies in an international airport. The battle is obviously designed to be the film’s showstopper, as it should be – the fight is inventive, well shot and, most importantly, very entertaining. By contrast, some of the earlier fight sequences are difficult to follow, due to the shaky camerawork and rapid editing.
It’s also worth noting that two of the members of Iron Man’s team are newcomers to the Avengers universe: Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland), whose character was previously owned by Columbia Pictures. While both heroes could have been little more than gratuitous cameos, their characters are well-written and actually serve purpose to the story.
Captain America: Civil War is a bold feature, but nonetheless a fun one. It provides the MCU with a breath of fresh air, while not forgetting the formula which makes the franchise so enjoyable.
This review was originally published by YO Bendigo on May 10th, 2016.