Short review: Captain America: Civil War is fantastic and you should go watch it now.
Long review: Captain America: Civil War is a movie that is a result of combining great characters with great writing. This is what Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice should have been, but wasn’t.
I am going to use Dawn of Justice for comparison, because there are a lot of similarities here, other than just the fact that they both came out the same year. For starters, both start off roughly the same way, where people are unsure about the usefulness of the Avengers, or more precisely, wondering if they are more harm than good. UN decides that the Avengers can no longer operate privately, something half the team members agree with, and the rest don’t. And there we have our movie.
The broader story arc is Tony Stark, who is for the government having full control over the actions of the Avengers, trying to convince Steve Rogers, who thinks they are better off acting on their own. But the movie also skilfully incorporates the Winter Soldier story arc, with Bucky Barnes making a reappearance.
But what we all really wanted to see was the Avengers going off against each other, and boy do we get to see that. In one, gloriously long sequence, we see some of the best characters of the Marvel universe (or comic book universe, in general) kick the shit out of each other. It’s no secret anymore that Spider-Man is also in this movie, and I swear to Stan Lee this is possibly the best version of Spider-Man that has ever graced the big screen, even though he’s in the movie for just about fifteen minutes during the fight sequence. And while this sequence is great enough on its own, the money shot is Iron Man and Captain America trading some hard hitting punches in a Soviet base later on in the movie.
This is where the Dawn of Justice comparison comes back in. We all were looking forward to the Batman vs Superman fight, which we did get, for all of the disappointingly short five minutes. But the bigger crime the movie did was boring the shit out of you for the first hour and a half, that made the fight seem even less worth the wait. Civil War, on the other hand, is absolutely enthralling from start to finish, with a great build up and linear progression, which leaves no doubt in your mind why two close friends, who fought side by side, would want to hurt each other so bad in the end. True to Marvel format, the movie is also lighthearted where it can be, with some incredibly well timed and absolutely hilarious lines throughout the runtime of two and a half hours (you don’t even realize how the time passes), which in no way take away from the seriousness of the movie but at the same times prevents it from being dark and broody, and gives it some heart.
In the end, Captain America: Civil War turned out to be an incredible piece of entertainment, with really fantastic set of characters, and writing that does justice to each of them. It’s exciting, it’s funny, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable. It does not just make a spectacle out of the fight between its two main characters, but rather chooses to show it as a natural progression that happens organically within the story arc. And it ends on a note that makes you look forward to the next one, but in more of a “I want more of this”, rather than “this was shit, I hope the next one is better.”
If you haven’t booked the tickets already, go do it. And watch in IMAX.