Let’s cut to the chase: this a spoiler-tastic post, aimed at analysing the majority of the developments within Captain America: Civil War.
I’m assuming the majority of you out there will know a certain amount about the comic series on which Civil War is based. But in case you don’t, I can give you a very brief description of it: superhero registration bill is introduced, Iron Man is for it, Cap is against it, they fight, folk die.
The comic series arguably became infamous for it’s unfaltering ability to kill off certain superheroes. The very cover of the series is Iron Man and Captain America battling it out atop the corpses of their fellow superheroes.
And yet for some reason, Marvel still won’t commit to actually killing off any of their characters. I remember back when I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and I nearly applauded during the screening when it appeared as though Marvel had actually killed off Nick Fury.
Was I being naive? Possibly, but nevertheless I was incredibly disappointed to discover that Fury was actually alive and well. I felt this exact same way again during Civil War, when I realised just how unwilling Marvel were to kill of any characters, despite the fact that this is a film adapted from a comic series infamous for doing just that.
At a later point in the film, the cover image for the comic series shown below is replicated during a fight sequence, with the camera even pausing for a brief moment to show off the iconic image to the audience.
However if there’s something missing from the replication of the image, it’s the bodies of all the fallen superheroes around them. The replication of the iconic cover actually served to remind me of the lack of any consequence for any of the characters featured within Civil War, particularly Captain America.
When a rumor was doing the rounds during the middle of last year suggesting that ‘The Death of Captain America’ was being adapted for inclusion within Civil War, I was dead certain that Cap would finally meet his end during the film. In particular, this seemed to align with reports that actor Chris Evans had grown tired of his role as Cap, and was asking Marvel to be let go of.
Although these were merely rumors, it would’ve given the film an entirely new edge had the protagonist himself met his end. But perhaps we need to temper these expectations, given the fact that it’s far easier for Marvel to kill off a character in a comic than it is on the big screen.
But where I was fairly certain that Captain America would meet his end during Civil War, I was absolutely convinced that Marvel would at least kill off one of their heroes. But alas, barely a single character was harmed during the film, with the most damage being dealt to Colonel James Rhodes’ leg.
If it isn’t a problem right now, Marvel’s inability to kill any of it’s characters is undoubtedly going to hurt them in the future. If they refuse to kill any characters in an adaptation of a comic infamous for doing just that, how do they expect us to fear for the safety of any characters in the future?
While Marvel still won’t kill off any characters, it would also appear the company is allergic to producing good villains who aren’t named Loki. The considerable talents of Daniel Brühl are utterly wasted on Baron Zemo, and the great comic book character is reduced to merely acting as a catalyst for Iron Man, Captain America and Bucky Barnes to begin fighting.
Speaking of villains being used to set up the heroes, Frank Grillo’s Crossbones is yet another villain who unfortunately gets sacrificed for this agenda. Grillo was electrifying as Brock Rumlow in The Winter Soldier, and is literally sacrificed during the opening scenes of Civil War in order to bring about the Superhero Registration Bill.
Moving on to the subject of the divisive Superhero Registration Bill, the film does an extremely poor job at presenting the arguments of Iron Man for signing the bill, and Captain America resisting the bill.
There’s a scene fairly early on in the film, which is entirely devoted to both sides talking out the reasons for and against signing the bill. Although it’s nice to see the characters in a debate like this, both Cap and Iron Man are uncharacteristically quiet during the scene, which Black Widow at one stage literally points out.
There are actually some very good arguments presented by both sides, and the debate scene even made me question my unwavering allegiance to Team Cap for a brief moment. However this debate is completely lost in the latter part of the film, and the bill isn’t even mentioned during the second half of Civil War.
Instead, we get the airport fight scene, which is arguably the climax of the two warring sides. The fight itself is incredibly well designed, with each and every character being able to showcase their skills and talents, and this is where Tom Holland as the newly-introduced Peter Parker really gets to shine.
But there’s literally no reason for both sides to be fighting there. Upon hearing that the airport was being evacuated, Team Cap could’ve at least attempted to sneak out of the vicinity and away from Team Iron man, but both sides instead rush headlong into battle with barely a seconds hesitation.
And when you consider the actual battle, and how much damage is inflicted on the airport itself, it’s almost as if Iron Man temporarily forgot his stance on superheroes needing to be reigned in for the damage that they’re causing. There’s an instance in which Captain America is attempting to flee the battleground, and rather than overtake him and cut off his escape route, Stark instead chooses to blow up several planes surrounding him.
Captain America: Civil War is obviously an action film at it’s core, but it also had everything set up for it to be an action film with brains, that mediated a debate on whether or not superheroes are actually good for the average citizen.
Unfortunately, the film completely forgets this debate, instead merely using it as a catalyst to get the fists flying, and then tosses it aside. I’m very disappointed by Captain America: Civil War, particularly when considering how groundbreaking The Winter Soldier was.