Captain America: Civil War
Length: 147 minutes / 2.45 hours
When it comes to sequels, I fell very few film franchises do their predecessors justice. In my opinion, a great sequel requires a simple formula: cause and effect. The “cause” should be in the form of the first (or in this case, previous) movie(s). Whatever happens before a sequel should drive the plot of the following movie. This is the “effect.” While it wasn’t nearly as good as this effort, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) followed the same formula. Cause: Superman destroying most of Metropolis in Man of Steel (2013). Effect: Batman and Lex Luthor wanting to hold Superman accountable. See? Simple as that.
What perhaps makes Captain America: Civil War such a great film is the amount of “cause” that led to its “effect.” The driving plot of this film was in direct response to the destruction and mayhem brought about by the Avengers trying to save the world. Because of this, the difference in opinions on how to cut back on the collateral damage splits the Avengers in to two factions. Practically every superhero fan will tell you that the best fights are the ones between allies, and this film certainly delivers on that premise.
But Captain America: Civil War isn’t just about having a great balance between cause and effect, it’s about the deep struggles we find inside ourselves. In a film with no true villain, the struggles we find in each of the heroes are struggles we all have. Anger. Pride. Fear. These are just the main elements of the conflict inside everyone, brought about by realizations of weakness, helplessness, and loss. Each of the different characters is given ample time to reveal the reasons why they fight, without bogging the film down in unnecessary exposition. If anything, the pacing on this nearly 3-hour film is nothing short of brilliant. Plus, not only does the audience get to see a hero-on-hero free-for-all melee (with practically all the film’s best comedic bits mixed in), but they get to experience a rematch where the raw emotions of the title characters are on display.
Another expertly made piece in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that makes me excited for any follow-on films in “Phase 3”, I give Captain America: Civil War 4.5 stars out of 5.