I will start this off by saying I really enjoyed Civil War. It was everything I wanted out of Age of Ultron, but didn’t really get. However, after the focus on character, and relationship, development in The Winter Soldier, I was pretty disappointed with how stagnant the movie felt on that front.
I was excited when Marvel announced that the Russos would be continuing as they directors of Captain America movies after the Winter Soldier. The Winter Soldier is probably my favourite movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I love Ed Brubaker’s Cap comics and I was happy to see that they were creating films inspired by these comics. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Civil War story-line in the comics. I was a good way to shake things up, but ehh. It just didn’t resonate with me. With that in mind I was cautious when they announced that they were doing a Civil War movie. Then as they kept announcing more and more superheroes were going to appear in the film I became less excited about the film. I wanted another Captain America movie, not another Avengers (minus Thor and Hulk). I suppose Marvel was thinking that by movie thirteen it was time for a shake up. But the Civil War movie failed at the one thing I liked about the comics storyline. There was virtually no emotional impact in the film. The lines-in-the-sand the characters drew seemed arbitrary, and at the end of the film we were kind of back where we started. The only difference was that Cap and Tony were fighting from a distance. There was no examination of what it means to be accountable for huge tragedies. No one’s character development moved forward, and nobody we cared about died.
It felt like it should have been a capstone movie for a Marvel Phase. If they had spent a couple of movies working up to it, Civil War could have been excellent. If we’d had a few movies to learn more about the character’s motivations.If they’d been more personally affected by what it means to be a superhero. We might have cared more about what they fighting for. Instead it seems like an unnecessary escalation of the arguments Tony and Steve have been having since they met. This film relied heavily on the audience filling in the blanks for character motivation. It completely ignored all of the emotional build up from the films before it. It didn’t address how Wanda was dealing with the death of her brother (which could have been a great motivator for her). It didn’t address Bucky’s struggle to regain himself, he was just miraculously better, then he wasn’t, then he was again, with no examination of the toll it must have taken on him. Tony uses the accords so that he doesn’t have to deal with his own accountability, and they spend about thirty seconds on the deterioration of his relationship with Pepper. The only person who seemed to have a genuine character arc was T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman was excellent), and I am very much excited to his character develop further in the Black Panther movie. However, he wasn’t a necessary part of this film. If you want to be brutally honest neither were Antman, Spiderman, Crossbones, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Vision, or War Machine. If some of these characters had been taken out, or at least scaled back we could have had some more of that character development I was hoping for. Oh well. Maybe next time.