Please don’t read this and expect that it will be a well thought out and well-reasoned review. It definitely won’t be. Also it will be full of spoilers, you’ve been warned.
I saw a screening of Captain America Civil War today and I loved it, and because it’s been so long since I really honestly enjoyed a film enough to want to blog about it, I thought I’d at least write up a few words today. I used to be up to date with the MCU, but that hasn’t been true since around when The Winter Soldier came out. Despite that, aside from a couple of the TV shows, Captain America is the one MCU franchise I’ve stuck with. I picked the right one.
I bring you know some bullet points to show you how I felt about this film:
- Let’s just get it out of the way: this film worked for me at least 70% because I adore the Steve and Bucky friendship. It’s what made me go from being moderately interested in The First Avenger to absolutely loving The Winter Solider to then really appreciating The First Avenger upon second watch. I tend to actively avoid basing my enjoyment of a story on a ship, so Steve/Bucky has never been a divisive element to me, but man do I love that the crux of Steve’s whole story is his love and devotion to his childhood friend. Romantic or not, they’re clearly each other’s number one person, and I love a devoted friendship more than most things in fiction.
- So then it makes sense that I really loved how the central conflict in Civil War, the reason why Steve doesn’t sign the accords, is that Bucky is being falsely accused of crimes he didn’t commit. Steve’s unwavering commitment to protect Bucky was the best part about this story.
- That said I did like the story of its own merit as well. Exploring the consequences and fallout of superhero business makes for compelling storytelling, and while I did side quite adamantly on Team Cap aka Team Buck, I was able to understand the reasoning of the Stark side of things.
- The one who probably had the most level headed perspective on things was likely Natasha, who continues to be amazing. While I didn’t really appreciate Tony’s snarky comment about her still playing the double agent, he was right about the fact that she was able to understand both sides and know when to stand down and let Steve make his decisions.
- I love that the whole story opened on Bucky. I remember hearing about the casting of this film and worrying that there wouldn’t really be enough exploration of his past and his rehabilitation, much of which was expelled by his extensive presence throughout the trailers, but seeing the whole film open on his past really made it clear how much of a focal point he was. I did not catch that his prologue scene was tied together with Tony’s parents dying until a second before it was revealed, which was great. When that happened I truly had no idea how things would be resolved in any way by the end of the film.
- I knew that Cap’s repetition of ‘I could do this all day’ would be a highlight, but man did I underestimate how emotionally impactful it would be. Basically that entire last fight scene between Cap, Bucky and Tony was just perfection. How smoothly Cap and Bucky shared the shield, even after years of separation, and then at the end when Steve just drops his shield and leaves with Bucky.
- I fully expected Steve to die at the end, but I’m quite happy he didn’t. Not sure what to make of the fact that Bucky goes back into cryo, but at least he’s out of harm’s way for now.
- Last point about Bucky; his fighting choreography is beautiful. I never thought I would say that. I don’t really care for violence, but there’s something weirdly enigmatic about the way the Winter Soldier fights, and it looked pretty magnificent on screen to see everyone go up against him.
- Speaking of enigmatic fighters, I loved Black Panther. I kept telling myself I shouldn’t,’ considering how he kept trying to kill Bucky, but by the end I felt really happy I never stopped. He was one of the best parts of the film, and I especially loved how he just let go of his need for revenge at the end and helped out Bucky.
- I haven’t watched Ant Man or Avengers: Age of Ultron, so a few of the characters in this film were new to me, but I really enjoyed them all, Wanda especially.
- Spider Man was fine, good even at times, but felt a bit shoe horned in for my tastes. The scene where Tony goes to talk to him at home was the only time the film felt like it dragged a bit, and I think it was because it felt too much like a way to introduce Spider Man back into the MCU, and not enough as if it was important to the story.
- Another minor criticism: it didn’t have nearly enough female characters. There weren’t many, and they barely interacted. It’s just a little underwhelming in a two and a half hour long film with pretty much everyone in the MCU on the cast list. Just saying.
- I have some thoughts about the whole Sharon/Steve moment, but I’m not sure how to articulate it properly, nor sure that I’m not basing my opinion too much off of Tumblr narratives, so I’ll leave it out. I will say that I laughed out loud at Sam and Bucky sat in the car watching them. And at Sam and Bucky interacting in general.
I can’t think of anything else right now so I’ll leave it there. I’ll end by saying that my love for Sebastian Stan is still going strong, the rest of the cast is also great, and I have so much appreciation for the Russo brothers’ vision within the MCU.