Yes! Proudly we can welcome the Russo brothers and comic fans everywhere can feel safe about the Russo brothers. They know how to tell a title character story while balancing a complicated many different people and plot points within a given narrative. This movie took Age of Ultron and blew it out of the water. Beware of Spoilers!
It’s no secret that I am a huge Marvel girl and while I found Age of Ultron to be entertaining it was not without significant problems. The Russo brothers knew exactly what not to do when it came to telling the story of Captain America and this Civil War. Well actually, that’s not entirely accurate because this movie isn’t so much about the Civil War as it is about Steve and Bucky and their friendship, combined with more Winter Soldier secrets, friends battling friends, and the United Nations being more of a thorn than a force of good.
The film opens with a flashback of the Winter Soldier being sent on a mission in 1991. We do not know the target, only that the brainwashed soldier retrieves some blue serum from the trunk of the car. The following scene is one that we’ve scene in the trailers, with Rumlow (the asshat Hydra agent from the Winter Soldier movie), now Crossbones and his gang doing something they shouldn’t be and the Avengers trying to stop them. The resulting battle ends in an explosion, not to spoil too much. The repercussion comes with the arrival of my least favorite MCU character, General….now Secretary of State, Ross. Yes, the guy who chased after the Hulk before the first Iron Man movie. He presents them with the Sokovia Accords, which if signed, gave the authority of operation at the hands of the United Nations. Yup, the United Nations would be the ones to deploy a group of super powered people on their missions…or not deploy them. What could possibly go wrong?
Steve is against the act, partially because after SHIELD and Hydra, and the World Security Counsel, he’s a little distrustful of people. This would be the conservative response since Government in charge of anything is bad, and the UN having the equivalent of a few nukes, is horrifying. Tony Stark meanwhile does what Tony Stark tends to do in Civil Wars, react more out of emotion and guilt than logic, which is what makes him so attached to the idea of oversight. Then the search for the Winter Soldier intensifies, and suddenly Captain America is a criminal.
So we have Team Accords and Team Government Bad. Team Accords stands with Vision, War Machine, Iron Man, Black Widow, the Black Panther, and Spider-Man. Team Government Bad consists of Falcon, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Hawkeye, Bucky, and Ant-Man. The airport scene in particular is absolutely spectacular with really cool fights and witty banter befitting the characters that use it. The fighting is very well done, with different angles and and powerful emotion that leaves us anxious because we do not want to see them fight and we’re not sure if anyone should be fighting, let alone winning. We’ve seen their friendship and most of these guys working side by side.
So there, I set the premise without spoiling too much. The film sets the stage for a Black Panther movie and a Spider-Man movie. So let’s talk about the new characters.
Black Panther, the son of the King of Wakands T’Chaka, T’Challa, is a warrior, headstrong, stoic and his fighting style is amazing, his character is treated with respect and class that befalls a person of his status. He has a journey in the movie as well. There are great hints at Wakanda and several cracks about Vibranium. If you weren’t pumped for the Black Panther movie, you should be. He plays an important role in the film and has the stealth and amazingness of a King and of a panther.
Spider-Man, and don’t anyone dare roll their eyes. This! This is Peter Parker, this is Spider-Man. The Spider-Man we needed, the Spider-Man that should have existed all along. He’s a kid, an actual kid, in high school, with homework and money problems because his Aunt is a single parent. Tom Holland brought something new and something that was seriously missing from the character. His scenes are incredible and he steals the show. His interactions with the other characters are great. The perfect combination of teen hero, troubled kid, and snarky superhero, and fanboy.
This movie does some great things that harken back to the previous films in a tasteful way, keeping everything relevant and interconnected. There is also one solid line taken directly from the Civil War comic. Trust me, it’s the good one. The Russos managed to keep the story balanced enough that all characters are treated equally, but the story is still about Captain America…well Captain America and Bucky, with twists and turns and all the excitement of what a great Marvel movie should be. It’s a fun ride throughout it’s 2.5 hours, so much so that you wish for it to be longer. There is a lot more story to tell here and I just want more. More of Spider-Man, more Black Panther, more Scarlet Witch using her powers, more Vision trying to understand humans. Just more…of everything.
So while this movie did not make me doubt my allegiance, not even for a second, it did have that effect on other people. A few said, “Well they were both sort of right.” Viewers walked out in awe, and with smiles on their faces, excited and entertained by it’s sheer wonder. It did what Age of Ultron couldn’t. It focused on the Avengers and not on the bad guy.
Captain’s Grade: A