‘Captain America: Civil War’ an amusing letdown

Isaac Owens, Broadcasting Manager

“He’s not gonna stop.”

This resigned assessment, repeated by many characters in Marvel’s latest cinematic bash, calls in to question Captain America’s tenacity:  is he the embodiment of “good”, or just blindly stubborn? The same thing can be said of Marvel Studios… do we really need the endless stream of capes?

After nine years of developing tensions amongst the members of the Avengers, this, MCU’s 13th installment into its juggernaut of a franchise, finally brings to the screen the tonally inept, epic smackdown we have all been waiting for.

Beginning with a mostly solid action sequence, Civil War kicks off in a very similar way as The Winter Soldier, the previous Captain America movie. With Cap’s team by his side, we are shown a much more aggressive version of the all-American hero. This new, realistic style of action, carried out by the Avengers, paves way for the confrontations ahead.

Tracing back to the first Avengers film, the super team is now forced to reflect on their past destructions by the U.N., who is seeking to have a guiding hand over the group’s affairs. Out of concern that the Avengers may have too much unchecked power, the world’s governing bodies create the Sakovia Accords, an international treatise that will limit the reach of superhero involvement in criminal affairs.

In disagreement with the Accords, Captain America and members who side with him break ties with those Avengers who have agreed to go comply. All said and done, this gives the movie a story that sounds perfect, in theory. Brothers in arms going head to head, a divide in cinema’s greatest superhero organization; if all had gone according to plan, the movie should have been an unparalleled success.

While Civil War was, overall, amusing enough to be on parr with most of Marvel’s other movies, it fell short of greatness with its out of place tone. With friends like Iron Man and Captain America facing off, the stakes should have felt higher. Instead of the emotionally driven battle we should have seen, the Team Cap vs Team Iron Man face-off feels like a benign and friendly tussle, cluttered with slapstick comedy and one liners that cloud the importance of the fight.

Looking past the out of place humor, the action itself was rarely, if not ever, impressive. When there is an edit for each punch thrown and almost no actual stunts taking place, it is nearly impossible to become invested. The action sequences are always entertaining in Civil War, but they are never thrilling, as they should be.

Along with lackluster action, the continuation of The Winter Soldier’s plot was hardly interesting. Throughout, the movie deviates into its lesser story arch, which is affiliated with the fictitious Nazi organization Hydra. It is essential to Civil War’s progression, but its execution keeps you waiting for a return to the title story line.

Civil War is surely lacking in too many places, but it does get some things right. The movie does a credible job in furthering the development of the relationships amongst the Avengers by letting the pot boil over on long brewing conflicts. The torn alliances were the backbone of the movie, and if they were not as well delivered as they were, it may have been a total flop.

The most notably redeemable part of Civil War is its introduction of new superheroes. A first movie appearance of Black Panther and the third incarnation of Spider-Man give a needed rehash to the MCU’s mostly consistent roster. Aside from some cringe inducing flaws in the script, the new Spider-Man, played by nineteen year old Tom Holland, gives the movie a refreshing youthfulness. As Peter Parker and as Spider-Man, Holland shows a great deal of promise for the upcoming Spider-Man reboot.

Overall, Captain America: Civil War falls somewhere in the middle of the rankings of the rest of Marvel Studios’ films. It keeps you focused and amused but never amazed. To put it bluntly, some of the directorial decisions are just flat out stupid. If you are able to forgive those moments, the movie is a fine installment. But do we need anymore fine installments?

The takeaway from the movie, above everything else, is that it did not entirely feel necessary.

While providing an entertaining-enough ride, Captain America: Civil War  leaves us with the question, do we really need this many Marvel films being churned out, year after year? The studio is an unstoppable train, and it is continuing to create tedious ventures that will be rather hard to remember.