So fun fact: I’m a business student in university. The nature of my discipline involves being in teams to do projects, assignments, and things of the sort. Most times, these teams are incredible, but some teams I’ve been a part of were abysmal, to put it nicely. However, I take each bad team I’ve been a part of and analyze what made it that way to begin with. The conclusion is that bad teams stem from having conflicting viewpoints on a subject or situation. This, my friends, is much of the plot that surrounds Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, one of 2016’s best movies.
Much of the first act is dedicated towards two time periods: 1991 and 2016 (the year after Ultron’s demise at the hands of the Avengers). In 1991, we see Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who has been held captive at one of HYDRA’s bases in Siberia. He is granted a surprise release and is tasked with stopping a car full of super-soldier serum. In the present day, Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scar Jo), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) are in Lagos to find a Brock Rumlow and prevent him from stealing a precious bio-hazardous weapon. Unfortunately, the encounter ends in Brock committing suicide and Scarlet Witch killing innocent lives via her telekinesis.
What intrigued me was the duel between the Avengers and Brock. Being an avid fan of action films, I felt that scene took me back to Daniel Craig’s first James Bond film, Casino Royale, in 2006, during the chase in Madagascar. At the time, I couldn’t believe the superfluous action and heart-pounding parkour that encapsulated that scene. These same sentiments were echoed in this chase, and I got to credit Marvel and the Russo brothers for including that in the final cut of this film.
Senator Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) then shows up with the Sokovia Accords, detailing the presence of the UN in regulating the actions of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. This is where the whole dysfunctional team concept I alluded to previously comes into play. We see the viewpoint of Tony Stark/Iron-Man (RDJ), who believes that after his involvement in Ultron’s demise, feels that regulation is something that the team should take into consideration. Another viewpoint is that of Captain America’s, who doesn’t give a damn about the government’s pleas.
At a conference in Vienna to make these rules official, a bombing occurs. Inside the building was Romanoff, T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and his father, King T’Chaka. T’Chaka unfortunately succumbs to his death and puts T’Challa on a pursuit to hunt down the killer. He suspects Bucky is the killer, and another chase reminiscent of Batman and Joker’s chase in The Dark Knight ensues. The timely intervention of Captain America and Falcon ensured that nobody was hurt; however, the quartet are arrested, become unlikely companions, and eventually turn into renegades that challenge Iron Man in the Third Act of this film.
In this scene, I feel the spoils should go to the severely underrated performance of William Hurt. Despite limited screen time, his acting was by no mean forced and I was thoroughly impressed with his line delivery. Maybe a career as a rapper can be something in the works for you, Mr. Hurt 🙂
In this act, we are introduced to Helmut Zemo (runner-up to T’Chaka for best name ever), a person hell-bent on taking down the Avengers. In order for him to get to the Avengers, he found a Hydra soldier that kept records on words that triggered Bucky’s brainwashing. However, another timely intervention from Chris Evans sees the pair leave unharmed. After regaining his senses, Bucky tells the story of how he was framed by Zemo for the bombing, and that the true conspirator behind the attack was none other than Zemo himself.
I really admired the direction of the Russos in humanizing Bucky. We were so accustomed to his cold and calculated motives as a soldier, but we don’t realize that underneath lies a person capable of love and companionship. I was really happy with how the whole relationship between him and Cap started to get better, and I could really tell that it’s really genuine.
The battle we’ve been waiting to see. Civil war finally ensues. Here are the teams: Captain America’s (Cap, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Bucky, Ant-Man, and Hawkeye) and Iron Man’s (Stark, Black Widow, Black Panther, War Machine, Vision, and Spidey). They meet in Leipzig, and they duke it out. Team Iron Man wins and the renegades are captured.
Upon stumbling on evidence suggesting the involvement of Zemo in the bombing, Stark goes and finds the Bucky-Rogers partnership in Siberia. He notices that others like Bucky were killed by Zemo.
I mentioned that this movie has its fair share of moments occurring in 1991. The pinnacle moment was the mysterious death of Starks’ parents. The orchestrator behind that: Bucky Barnes. Not only did this provoke Stark, but it was also revealed that Cap knew about this secret. An enraged Stark blasts off Barnes’ robotic arm and leaves with Cap.
So TL;DR: Zemo’s happy that he distorted the Avengers. Stark has at least some closure for his parents’ murder. And T’Challa is at peace knowing that he knows his father’s killer and has brought him in to the police alive after previously wanting to commit suicide.
Marvel always does a great job with their suspension of disbelief, and I don’t see that stopping for as long as their in business. FYI, really good suspension of disbelief basically means that the movie people successfully engages you into the film world and makes you believe that what you’re seeing is real.
Biggest surprise goes to Chadwick Boseman for his portrayal of T’Challa. He seemed so fitting for the role and to be honest, I don’t think there’ll be another person that can make this character his own. Unless your name is Idris Elba…
Most underrated performer goes to William Hurt, for reasons I have already described.
Best reboot of a character obviously goes to Spidey. Tom Holland reminds me of a mix of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, and I’m looking to Spidey films with him in the future. Also, easter egg alert, but when Stark went into his house, he was wearing a pizza t-shirt. #SpiderMan2
Final score (out of 100): 95.
Until next time folks,