Spoilers will be below the break. Don’t pass that point if you don’t want them.
So, I literally, just now walked in the door from my showing of Captain America: Civil War. So, as this is above the break, here’s my spoiler-free thoughts.
First, the movie was great. If you liked the last few films from Marvel, and in particular The Winter Soldier (Cap’s last solo outing), you’ll like this one too. Especially if you liked Winter Soldier. That knife’s edge it walked, of tension, humor, lightheartedness and seriousness? Civil War walks it as well. Even better, personally.
Cinematography was great, especially for the fights. Yes, there was a little shaky-cam in the opening that had me a little worried, but it turns out to be a stylistic choice only for that portion of the movie. The rest of the film is clear and concise with its camera work. The music? Also pretty good. It didn’t do a great job sticking in my head the way Winter Soldier‘s theme did, but at the same time there was nothing dead about it either. It complimented the on-screen visuals and emotions pretty well.
The film honestly does a great job with its storytelling—better, in fact, than the last Avengers film (Age of Ultron). Ultron had its moments, and it was grand, but there was a faint sense that things were moving to fast, that parts of the story were whizzing along at a pace that was just a little to much for the rest of the film. Which, to be fair, isn’t hard to understand. Ultron dealt with what, almost a dozen characters and plotlines, bringing them together into one big collision?
Well, Civil War shows that Marvel has taken lessons from what did and didn’t work with Ultron, and the results are excellent. This is actually a complicated story—moreso than the trailers would ever lead you to believe, but I never got the sense that anything was being rushed. Instead, the story flowed from point to point incredibly organically. Maybe it’s just that the movie clicked with my storytelling style, but Marvel did a great job taking a bunch of different plot threads and weaving them together tighter and tighter until you go “Aha! So that’s what’s going on!” And there were several such moments in the film, judging by the noise from the audience. Marvel’s learned from Ultron, and what it did wrong, Civil War does right
But with that … there are a few caveats. First is that for a Captain America film … it’s really Avengers 3. Some might disagree with me, but for a film that’s under the name of Cap himself … a lot of time is spent on all the other members of the team.
Is this a bad thing? Well, no, and like I said, they handle it masterfully. But by about fifteen minutes into the movie, I did find myself wondering “Is this a Captain America movie? Or an Iron Man movie? Oh wait, maybe it’s Avengers.”
You still get a lot of Cap, don’t get me wrong. And like I said, the movie isn’t bad. But don’t expect to just see Cap’s angle of this story. In fact, I’ll be curious to see what the results are when someone breaks down the screentime of each character.
And that plays into my other caveat: Marvel’s films should not be digested standalone, and Civil War is moreso that than any other film so far. Seeing Civil War without watching the rest of the Marvel film mythos at this point would be like watching Return of the Jedi first: you’d be left with a lot of character development and plot threads being tied up that you didn’t even get.
Watching Civil War at this point without having watched the prior films would be similar. You’d be out in the cold on a lot of what’s come before. Sure, you’ll enjoy the fights and the spectacle, but a lot of the interaction between characters would be empty without those prior experiences. If you’re not the type who has watched the rest of the Marvel cinematic universe, either wait until Civil War is out on DVD or go catch up. Otherwise, you’re going to walk out of the movie thinking that it was all action and no real story or character. That, or be that person in the audience who asks everyone around them questions most of the audience already knows because they did see the other films.
Right, that’s my two cents. Awesome, but definitely deeply into the Marvel lore. Now, for spoilers.
Oh, one last note. Despite what the internet claims (at least as of my showing), there is an after-the-credits scene, so stay in your seat, okay? Wait until the very end.
Spoiler thoughts below the break: