REVIEW: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ delivers more than just war

Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Chris Evans and Sebastian Stan star in the new summer blockbuster (Marvel Studios 2016).

History would indicate that at this point in the Marvel series, the appeal should be starting to wear thin and audiences should be tired, uninterested and instead invested in the more recent blockbuster franchise. Instead, the intricate universe sewing that has gone on for almost a decade now has come together seamlessly and still left multiple threads hanging for the future.

“Captain America: Civil War” is admittedly deceptive in it’s title as the film does not focus too intensely on the Chris Evans-portayed super patriot, but rather receives its highlights from a politically-charged brawl between most of the characters that Marvel has introduced over the years, along with a couple highly memorable new ones.

This movie features a deep roster of superheroes that could have easily cluttered the movie and made it claustrophobic. Yet the well managed pacing and writing not only do justice to everyone involved, but also tell a coherent, engaging narrative.

The movie has a tone of solemnity that had not been explored in previous Marvel movies, giving it a refreshing edge. Even though it is ultimately a popcorn flick, it still brings up undertones of moral responsibility and philosophical disagreement. Because of this, seeing strong allies turn on each other over the course of one movie feels believable and earned.

Still, “Civil War” manages to pack in their traditional humor and quips, the most memorable coming from the recently introduced Ant Man. For the limited screen time that he has, Paul Rudd absolutely steals the show.

Along with Ant Man, the two other standouts in this film were new inductees into the Marvel universe in the forms of Black Panther, and the immensely anticipated Spiderman. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) oozes badassery from his sleek costume, to his electrifying action scenes, to his vengeful motives. Spiderman (Tom Holland), on the other hand, shows up to do little more than just be himself and it is a blast to witness.

Both characters are scheduled to have their own solo films in the future and this movie served as a hell of a teaser for each one.

Robert Downey Jr. returns as the career-defining role of Tony Stark/Iron Man. This time around the more serious atmosphere forces him to tone his snarky wit slightly, but in return we get a mature arc that develops his character immensely.

As good of an action film as this was, there were moments where the actual action could have been better. The beginning comes to mind where the fighting and chasing was accompanied by shaky camerawork and frequent cuts. This is not only visually unpleasing, but it borders on headache inducing. Fortunately the camera becomes steadier and less prone to jump around as the movie progresses.

It is also worth discussing that Captain America got somewhat overshadowed in his own film. “Civil War” features so many characters and spectacles that the sequences he’s involved in simply aren’t the most memorable.

On the other hand, the movie does not forget that he’s still the protagonist. At the film’s core it features themes of unconditional friendship and refusal to back down that tie in with the other two Captain America installments.

The grand showdown between heroes is the clear selling point, but “Captain America: Civil War” also sheds a more mature light on the characters that fans love so dearly and it does it so well that it will probably make them love these characters even more.

There are many things to appreciate about this film and very few that hold it back. It is possibly the best film that Marvel has made and probably the best blockbuster of the summer.