Is anyone else getting bored of superhero films? Nope? Just me then. We’re not even halfway through 2016 and there have been three of them. In February, there was Deadpool, a film that despite all the odds, turned out to be smashing – despite its generic finale.
Then, DC tried to compete with Marvel in March with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It was fine, if far too long and lacking in any real drama. Now, Marvel is back with Captain America: Civil War. But can it break the superhero tedium that has started to settle in?
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is back and he is not happy. The titular hero, and the rest of our beloved Avengers clan, are asked to sign up to a UN treaty, designed to reign in their unsupervised power after a dramatic and deadly battle against terrorists in Nigeria. It turns out the Avengers lost the PR war and countries across the globe want blood – well them to back off a little at least.
Most of the fan favourites return in Civil War, with Robert Downey Jr proving once again why he was cast as Tony Stark/Iron Man all those years ago. He is a commanding presence and brings to the table some of the best one-liners outside a fully-fledged Iron Man film.
Elsewhere, Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch) and Paul Bettany (Vision) all return and despite the increasing number of characters all make their presence felt throughout the course of the film – something Avengers: Age of Ultron failed to do.
However, the film belongs to the characters that join the film and the Marvel Universe. Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man makes a truly exceptional appearance and features in Civil War’s most memorable scene – a brilliantly choreographed battle between two sides in a deserted airport.
And, the long-awaited “homecoming” of Spider-Man to the MCU is thankfully worth the wait. He’s been teased in the trailers and I’m pleased to say his screen-time is far greater than anyone could have imagined. Young Tom Holland’s portrayal of Peter Parker may need some time to settle in, we have a Spider-Man reboot to look forward to in 2018, but he makes a cracking first impression.
So, with all those characters it’s fair to say that Civil War should be renamed “Mini Avengers Assemble” as there’s far more at stake here than a simple Captain America movie. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have created the film that Age of Ultron should have been and it’s a slight disservice to their incredible work that the film isn’t labelled as a full Avengers feature, despite the lack of Thor and Hulk.
The action is beautifully filmed and the locations are fabulous. From Africa to America and from Germany to London, nearly every inch of the world is touched upon in some way – yet it doesn’t feel disjointed.
But what makes Civil War stand out from all the rest is its human side. This isn’t a superhero movie that ends in a climactic battle against a faceless army, it explores the human impact of our characters’ actions and the emotion radiates from its heart.
Yes, it’s 20 minutes too long but apart from that, I can’t think of a bad word to say. It has reinvigorated a genre that was starting to turn a little stale. Bringing together a set of characters that against all the odds gel together so well makes it feel as fresh as Iron Man did way back in 2008.
If this is the magic the Russo brothers can work at Marvel, Avengers: Infinity War should be something truly special indeed. X-Men: Apocalypse, you have your work cut out.
Captain America: Civil War rating: 9/10
An avid lover of all things film, Adam Brannon has grown up with a huge passion for cinema that can be traced right back to his favourite childhood movie, Steven Spielberg's smash hit, Jurassic Park. After graduating from the University of Lincoln with a degree in journalism, he now writes film reviews for his own website, Movie Metropolis and for the Press Association.