Marvel does what DC tried and failed to do just a month ago. Building on the universe they’ve already established, lending the stakes a heavier weight, the film brings a number of threads from the previous films, and tying it all together.
In fact, they are dealing with the fallout from their actions in all the previous films, the cost of civilian lives leads Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), Captain America and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Iron Man to find themselves on opposing sides of a legislation that would give the United Nations oversight of the Avengers. The events of The Avengers, Winter Soldier, and Age of Ultron come back to haunt our heroes, as they are held accountable, especially when a disastrous explosion calls their judgement and actions into question.
Stark thinks they need to be kept in check, and that this legislation will do that. Rogers believes that losing their independence and choice, will give someone else the ability to tell them where they go, and where they can’t, telling them what conflicts they can involve themselves in, and Rogers fears that could lead to a misuse of them and power.
Characters from all over the Marvel Cinematic Universe are drawn into the conflict and choose their sides. At the heart of it all is Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), the Winter Soldier and a secret that could tear the Avengers apart if the legislation doesn’t do it first.
Joining in on the fight, are Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Vision (Paul Bettany), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) as well as newcomers Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and a scene-stealing Spider-Man (Tom Holland). They find themselves squaring off against each other, while behind the scenes Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), a man who carries a very recognizable pain, attempts to ensure that they tear themselves apart.
While bearing some similarities to the Mark Millar comic mini-series of the same name, the Russos masterfully use a story crafted by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, to comment on modern-day political issues, framing it within Marvel constructs.
But that doesn’t make it a heavy-handed film, there are plenty of action beats, some wonderful fan service moments, and great doses of humor, all of which we have come to expect from this firmly established universe.
All of the story threads introduced in the film, are marked paid by film’s end, while the film’s two post-credit tags set up future events.
Evans still conveys the perfect embodiment of Cap, and the growth of his relationship with all the other characters will continue to define him and the rest of the members of the Avengers team.Their philosophical differences adds to their characters and illustrates that despite having opposing views they can still work together if needed.
However, it is the big, knock-down fight between opposing sides that will most likely be most talked about, and draw comparisons from DC’s Batman v Superman, while it was hard to buy into the motivations of those two titans, it was easy to see yourself on either side of this civil war, but that should come as no surprise. Marvel has taken the time to build their universe, investing it with solid characters and storytelling, and consequently, it pays off in entertainment value, and emotional impact – seeing Tony and Steve fight, knowing everything they’ve been through, is tough, but understandable, and that takes time, character, and development, and more than a little love of the material.
The Russo brothers have done a fantastic job, advancing the Marvel Universe in what is the best film in the MCU to date, and leaves us wanting to see more and more again.
And Spidey… so much fun, ‘Nuff Said.