Movie Review: Captain America - Civil War

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Rated PG-13: For Intense Violence

Running Time: 2 hours and 27 minutes (147 minutes)

Genre/s: Action, Adventure, Adaptation, Fantasy, Superhero, Science Fiction

Released on April 27, 2016 (PH Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Marvel Studios

Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Directors: The Russo Bros. (Joe and Anthony Russo)

  • Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America
  • Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man
  • Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
  • Anthony Mackie as Sam Wilson / Falcon
  • Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
  • Don Cheadle as James Rhodes / War Machine
  • Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye
  • Paul Rudd as Scott Lang / Ant-Man
  • Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
  • Paul Bettany as Vision
  • Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther
  • Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
  • Daniel Brühl as Helmut Zemo

No matter who wins or loses, trouble still comes around, said Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury. This year has been called the time when heroes couldn't get along, but the villains can. Today, I got the chance to see this with three of my friends from school, but sadly most of my "katropa" are not around. But it was still an enjoyable experience, even with just the three of us, and the hundred other people trying to get to the entrance. Is this movie as good as the critics and fans say? Let's find out in Dateline Movies' review for Captain America: Civil War. Also since this movie is yet to come out in other theaters, do note that there are plenty of spoilers in this review! It would be wise to avoid spoilers!

What is the movie about?

The world has never been the same since the destruction of Sokovia, indirectly done by the hands of superhero Iron Man, played by Downey Jr. (Tropic Thunder), who was originally attempting to jump start a peacekeeping program. When people once saw hope soaring through the skies, they now see death and destruction.

To keep the peace in-check, the United Nations have banded together to form the Sokovia Accords, an act which will hopefully keep the superheroes accounted for and to keep collateral damage to a minimum. Captain America, played by Evans (Playing It Cool), completely disagrees with the act, with the Falcon, played by Mackie (Pain & Gain) and the Scarlet Witch, played by Olsen (Oldboy) siding with their comrade. They believe that there is a chance they need to act without supervision. Iron Man, however, supports the act strongly after feeling guilty for the events in Age of Ultron, with War Machine, played by Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda), the Vision, played by Bettany (Margin Call) and the Black Widow, played by Johansson (We Bought A Zoo) standing by his decision.

Tension within the team escalates further after a congressional hearing regarding the Sokovia Accords has been bombed by the Winter Soldier, played by Stan (The Martian). Caught in the crossfire is Wakandan prince T'Challa, also known as the Black Panther, played by Boseman (Message From The King), who joins Iron Man's cause after watching his father die in front of him. Captain America takes it upon himself to investigate Bucky's case, while Iron Man does everything in his power to apprehend Bucky.

To prove Bucky's innocence, the Captain gathers Falcon, Scarlet Witch, a resurfacing Hawkeye, played by Renner (Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation) and the Falcon's requested ally, Ant-Man, played by Rudd (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). Preventing their investigation is Iron Man's team, composed of War Machine, Vision, Black Widow, Black Panther and newcomer Spider-Man, played by Holland (In The Heart of The Sea). The Captain and his allies must race against time to hunt down the mastermind behind the bombing, Helmut Zemo, played by Brühl (Inglorious Basterds), who has a score to settle with the heroes.

What we think of the movie?

Acting = (5/5)

There's a time in every acting career when an actor may start "phoning it in" after reprising the role more than once or twice now. It is true though, just ask Daniel Craig, who really wants to exit his contract. Fortunately, the acting is very far from simply being a presence. Here, the performances are much more intense, brutal, dramatic, and above all emotional.

Chris Evans, who I've heard is really happy with his time as the titular character, delivers a powerhouse performance. I have to agree with the fans here yet again, because Marvel surely does have a keen eye on their actors, and Chris Evans is one of their greatest casting choices so far. He really is the definitive big-screen Captain America. His real-life charm and wits properly reflects the heroic and somewhat hard-headed traits of the protagonist. He really is the star of the show. The friend you could always count on, and a very conflicted character.
Along for the ride is veteran Marvel actor Robert Downey Jr. who, for his sixth film in the franchise (seven if you'll include his cameo in The Incredible Hulk) ditches the cartoonish quips and one-liners from Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron. This time, get ready to see an Iron Man that you loved from the comics translated brilliantly and acted solidly in the movie. He is in pain, and he knows he is partly responsible for it. This is the Iron Man everyone has been looking for. A struggling and imperfect hero, yet he is still a man who wants peace not just for himself, but for the entire world. RDJ is not a man playing Iron Man, he is Iron Man! (Ironically, he did destroy an Iron Man comicbook back at his high school days.)

Chadwick Boseman amazingly portrays Black Panther in the character's first big-budget movie appearance. Not bad for a newbie, eh? Despite his relative and reasonable short screen time, the King of Wakanda makes use of the short minutes he has and spent it all wisely. I can't go any further with his performance though, because I am still waiting for his upcoming solo movie to give me a complete overview of his range. But all I have to say for his performance is that it is superb.

Daniel Brühl is one of my favorite actors. Okay sure, I just saw only two movies (Inglorious Basterds and Rush) that has him in a major role, but you have to admit it, he is one heck of an actor. Well, we've seen bad guys trying to steal technology for profits, stereotypical revenge dudes and the most familiar of all, the cliched would-be world conquerors. Brühl's Zemo may be the revenge guy, but he doesn't have an army, or a world-ending weapon. What he has though are cunning intelligence, and as he puts it "a lot of patience". His performance makes him one of the best villains so far, next to the Kingpin from Daredevil and Kilgrave from Jessica Jones. Besides, his plan is pretty small-scale and personal, which only enhances his strengths. Zemo really is a force to be reckoned with, despite being gone for about half of the movie.

This section is getting too long, so I'll make it quick with this one and summarize the other performances. With the large roster of characters, it is said that the number of heroes would make the movie crowded. Luckily, it wasn't, and all actors were given proper screen time, gave the audience some laughs with their funny jokes, and overall wowed us with their coolness. These heroes were often viewed as "perfect", but here, they are much more human-like. Their performances are relatable and heartfelt.

Even though all performances are kicked into high-gear, the scene-stealer of the entire movie is none other than The Amazing Spider-Man! Tom Holland is worthy of filling-in the gaps Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield left upon their dismissals. He managed to balance the dorky and geeky side of Peter Parker with the traditional heroics and teenage antics one may expect from a hero like Spider-Man. I really can't wait for his first solo movie in next year's Spider-Man: Homecoming!

Also, Stan Lee's cameo was hilarious! You have to wait for quite some time, though.

Production Value and Cinematography = (5/5)

Five Words; Best Airport Fight Scene Ever! Unlike Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Sorry DC fans. Please don't kill us for this. Hey, we still enjoyed that movie!), Civil War makes use of the non-CGI-related stunts to give an action-packed choreography. I have been waiting the entire movie for some Avenger versus Avenger butt whooping, and it truly did impressed me, even beyond my usual expectations. A lot happened in the anticipated Airport Scene, especially with Spider-Man's battle with the Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Each take on every fight that occurred in that scene, it was excellent. Besides, they managed to mix some comedy and drama into it. This was the gem of the whole movie!

However, the one that is equally as thrilling as the Airport Dish-Out is the Breakout Scene. When Zemo brainwashes Bucky into causing chaos in a government facility, it all escalated quickly. The best bit was when Iron Man, Agent 13, played by Emily VanCamp (Revenge), Black Widow and Black Panther pulled punches one-by-one. The fight between Iron Man and Bucky while Iron Man uses a mechanical gauntlet was pretty awesome! Did I also mention Martin Freeman (Sherlock) was here? It was more or less a cameo, but still great nevertheless.

Another important and at the same time intense fight scene was the Highway Chase between the Captain, Winter Soldier and the Black Panther. It reminded me a lot of the brutality Daredevil showed in its prelude with the police trying to capture Bucky. When we finally get to the chase, it was all sorts of fun and excitement. Don't get me started with Bucky using a battering ram to beat-up an officer.

Overall, all of these scenes were well choreographed and splendidly executed, and they put the more practical effects to good use. In addition, I commend giving Hawkeye a redemption here for giving him a chance to show-off his skills against the Vision.

Story, Dialogue and Flow = (5/5)

This section, and the next part, of our review is completely full of spoilers, so if you want to avoid them, now's the best time to leave.

Now, the story is overall spectacular, both in execution and writing. I enjoy how the story completely delved deeper into the emotional sides of our heroes, the parts of most superhero movies that are rarely explored, as they are often sacrificed for computer-generated explosions and flashes. This one actually made me understand what these heroes feel and struggle to accomplish. The theme of government accountability is well explained here, as it explores greatly how sometimes superheroes aren't always here to save the day, especially with the events of Age of Ultron.

How the movie elaborated Zemo's plans with a surprise twist was the cherry on my cake. At first, I thought he was the typical rule-the-world kind of guy, just like what we originally theorized with his "master plans". He kept on mentioning about toppling an empire. It took me two hours to finally make me realize that the motivation behind his evil deeds is to avenge his family, who died in Sokovia. Rarely have I heard a supervillain that is out for avenging rather than the typical ruined-my-reputation kind. It really shows that, as Tony Stark would quote, "we create our own demons". Also, props to Marvel for not killing Zemo! Now, if he could lead the Masters of Evil soon.

People kept on saying this was going to be an Avengers 2.5 movie, because of the grand roster of characters the movie has in store. I myself was a little bothered that the movie might not be able to balance the various story arcs that will be featured. Thankfully, it was well-balanced. Sure, Ant-Man, War Machine Hawkeye and Agent 13 didn't necessarily have proper arcs, especially that the first two did arrive a little late in the movie, but the movie gave them enough screen time to leave an impression.

Ending, Originality and Story Fulfillment = (4/5)

By the time we reached the ending, wherein Zemo ticks Iron Man off by revealing to him that Bucky killed his parents, and to Iron Man's surprise as well, that Captain America knew the entire time, Iron Man became totally angry that the three engaged in a two versus one death match. It was an emotional and a very intriguing sequence in the movie. It shows how much of their friendship, which started when the Avengers formed for the first time, has been shattered by Cap's sympathy towards his best friend, and Iron Man's conscience. It was a very emotional rollercoaster, and it ends with very hopeful and enthusiastic teases for both the Black Panther and Spider-Man, and a little bleak future for the Avengers, now that half of the members are fugitives from the United Nations. In addition, the mid-credits scenes also shows how Black Panther realized his rage consumed him to the point that he wanted to murder Bucky, and eventually having him mend fences with the Captain.

The only thing that I was disappointed on was that the movie wasn't that reliable to the source material, or in general, live-up to everyone's expectations. I was expecting a little bit more screentime for Hawkeye and Ant-Man, same with Agent 13. Then again it was for the better to divert a little from the source material. It really was crowded to begin with. Also, I might have been over hyped with all the clips. Also, killing-off Crossbones was a little bit disappointing. And not seeing the Iron-Spider armor was also a little letdown. In all honesty, this was still a great movie!

Overall Evaluation = (5/5)

The movie is a remarkably paced and choreographed superhero thriller that expands the envelope for Marvel's growing potential for their Phase 3, and it looks like a very good audition for the Russos to helm the next Avengers films.

TOTAL = 24/25 (Masterpiece)

Opening Phase 3 with a bang, Captain America: Civil War showcases less of the blinding flashes and more of the traditional action, mixed with amazing performances and a thought-provoking story, and what seems like the start of something new for Marvel!

Whew! That was such an awesome movie! I wish that we could get enough money to watch it again, but this time with my family! Besides, it's too good for just one viewing! Are you excited for Civil War? Let us know in the comments! Also, help yourself to a weird version of the Civil War trailers.