As you guys know, we're pretty committed to NOT being the ones that ruin something for you, so as we hit week 3 of Civil War being in theaters, I think it's now safe to come out and offer an opinion. This one will be served up by our resident super nerd Nick, enjoy!
One more time let's make this clear, this is a SPOILER filled review, so if you still haven't seen this wonderful piece of fiction from Marvel & The Russo Brothers, go watch it, and come back later.
This was a great movie! I did have a couple of complaints about a few small things, but first let's start with what was right about the movie, which was a lot!
The cast was fantastic. I know I'm going to be the 1,000,000th person to say this, but Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. were literally BORN to play Cap & Iron Man. Their on screen chemistry is totally believable and it is incredibly easy to suspend disbelief as you're watching them go toe to toe all movie long.
This movie finds the Avengers in a bit of a pickle. We open on the team that was constructed at the end of "Age Of Ultron" as their tearing through Africa looking to stop Crossbones from stealing and releasing a chemical weapon (Agents of Shield fans, sound familiar?)
Crossbones eventually tries to blows himself up to avoid capture, and the Scarlet Witch notices what he's doing at the last second and tries to displace the blast into the sky with her telekinesis to avoid major casualties to the innocent people on the ground.
Unfortunately she's not able to get the blast high enough before it goes off and it destroys a nearby building, killing a number of Wakandan humanitarian workers and innocent people.
At the team's headquarters, Thunderbolt Ross, AKA William Hurt informs the Avengers that the UN is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish a UN panel to oversee and control the Avengers and powered people in general.
Tony Stark supports oversight because he feels responsible for Ultron's creation and Sokovia's destruction, while Cap has more faith in his own judgement than the government. So after a few debates back and forth, The Avengers who agree to the bill go to the UN summit to sign the bill.
While King T'Chaka of Wakanda is speaking at the UN summit, a bomb goes off killing several people at the summit, including King T'Chaka. His son, T'Challa, the Black Panther, is in attendance and is now faced with the reality that he is now the king of Wakanda.
We learn that the bomb was placed and set off by none other than good guy/bad guy, Bucky Barnes, AKA the Winter Soldier. When Cap learns that Bucky is suspected, he and the Falcon attempt to track him down before the government or other Avengers can find him.
They find Bucky in his hideout in Bucharest, but the Black Panther and "cape killer soldiers" are not far behind. A wild chase scene ensues with War Machine and dozens of soldiers eventually cutting off the 4 costumed heroes (cap, bucky, falcon, panther) and placing them all either under arrest or into protective custody.
Meanwhile, a seemingly unrelated backstory has been developing as a man, we'll later learn is Zemo, is going around trying to find out what happened on a particular mission of the Winter Soldiers. He's not able to get Bucky's former Russian handler to tell him what happened, but he is able to obtain the notebook with Bucky's trigger / brainwash words. He hopes to use this to control Bucky as his own weapon. For what purpose? We don't know yet.
Zemo is able to infiltrate the facility where Barnes is being held after his capture by War Machine and the other soldiers. He impersonates the psychologist that is on call and brainwashes Bucky with the trigger words he has from the notebook. Zemo also releases Bucky into the base.
After a massive fight scene that is remarkably well shot, Cap is finally able to stop Bucky and escape with him. When Barnes regains his senses after the effect of the trigger words wears off, he explains to Cap & the Falcon that Zemo is the real bomber that killed King T'Chaka and that he wanted the location of the Siberian Hydra base, where other brainwashed super-soldiers like Bucky are kept in cryogenic stasis.
Captain America realizes that this is the real threat, and the "registration" is only clouding everyone's vision to what is really going on. Cap sets up his own Avengers team with Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, and Ant-Man. They set out to take down Zemo before he can release 5 more Bucky's on the world and clear Bucky's name in the process.
But it wouldn't be much of a movie if Cap and the gang are just allowed to run off and stop the bad guy now would it. Iron Man confronts "team Cap" at the airport where they are to steal a quinjet. Tony brings his team of War Machine, Vision, Black Panther, Black Widow and we're also treated to a special appearance of our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.
What ensues next is easily the best super-hero fight scene committed to film, words won't really do it justice, so I'll leave this to the imagination. As the dust settles, Cap and Bucky are able to escape to hunt down Zemo.
Tony finally realizes that Cap was trying to stop the real bad-guy, Zemo, and that Bucky had been framed, so he goes to Siberia to meet up with Cap & Bucky to strike a truce and help them take down Zemo.
When the 3 new allies discover the other super soldiers, they find them already killed by Zemo. Zemo appears and begins a long dialogue about what motivates him, and that all he's really ever wanted to do was destroy the Avengers as payback for what happened to him.
Zemo plays a tape of archive footage from the mission that he had been desperately trying to track down. The footage reveals that it was Tony Stark's parents whom Barnes killed on that fateful mission. Tony seems beside himself at the revelation, as he sees a brainwashed Bucky strangle his mother.
Making matters worse, Tony learns that Cap had already known that it was Bucky that had committed these murders and that he'd kept this from him, what ensues is another phenomenal fight scene between our 3 main characters. Their 3 way battle puts any BVS fight scene to shame.
Tony beats Bucky, Cap Beats Tony, and Cap takes off with Bucky leaving Tony injured in Siberia.
Meanwhile, satisfied that he has avenged his family's death by irreparably fracturing the Avengers, Zemo attempts suicide, but T'Challa (who has followed Tony to Siberia) stops him and brings him into custody.
In the aftermath, Steve Rogers breaks his captured allies (falcon, ant-man, witch) out of the Raft, and flees with Barnes to Wakanda, where T'Challa grants them asylum. Barnes chooses to return to a cryogenic sleep until a cure is found for his brainwashing.
I'll say it again, this movie was great. It had incredible action scenes, perfect comedic timing, and another batch of "I never thought I'd see that on screen" moments. In my opinion, Tom Holland's Spider-Man & Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther steal the movie. Maybe it's just that they're the new fresh faces, or maybe it's because they're just so darn good, but they took the movie to another level.
My only real complaint was the villian(s). Once again I feel like the MCU doesn't put much effort into helping us to understand the motivations of the villains. I understand why Zemo did it, but it felt like his plans were too dependent on coincidence and a bit of a stretch to think he would be able to split the Avengers apart forever.
Don't get me wrong, I think Zemo is a great villain, but we got a Zemo origin story here, not a full on portrayal of the villain. As for the supporting villain, Crossbones, well he didn't even make it out of the opening sequence. I really didn't think he was a "throw away" villain, but I guess so. I would have liked to see him stay in the movie longer, but oh well.
Lastly, you can't do a review of this movie without doing a slight comparison to the source material. I thought the Russo brothers did an admirable job of taking the parts of the comics series that they could legitimately use and making them play into this movie. The set up was obviously different from the movie universe to the comics universe. And all of the same characters aren't usable as were used in the comics series, but I could tell that they were making an effort to pay homage, and I thought they did very well.
So there you have it, a nice long review of the movie. I hope everyone had a chance to see the film & enjoyed the review.
Until next time
-Nick "The Know-It-All"