Most of our readers already know where I’m coming from going into Captain America: Civil War. I’m a comic-book fan, and I’m a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But more than that, Captain America was one of the first comic book characters I explored back in my first year of college in 1991 (not including the Transformers and G.I. Joe comics I read as a kid in the 80’s).
To this day, I still don’t know exactly why I found Captain America and that roster of The Avengers of interest. In later years, I migrated over to the X-Men and left the Avengers behind, but I’ve always had an appreciation for those characters.
Needless to say, going into Captain America: Civil War, I was predisposed toward liking the film. And despite my attempts otherwise, my expectations were incredibly high.
Fortunately, my expectations were exceeded.
The Avengers, Part 3
As many have already pointed out, this film could easily be referred to as the third Avengers film. The entire team is unusually prominent throughout this single-character-titled film. They’re each represented with a good amount of screen time (with Ant-Man getting the least) and sufficient character development on an individual level.
Still, Captain America is clearly the protagonist in this film. Even though the story is careful not to declare one side or the other as the “correct” side, the film’s primary focus is Steve Rogers’ battle against government oversight and its hunt for Bucky.
Though based on the comic book “Civil War” series, the film’s story deviates from its source in several areas, though given the already-established differences between the cinematic universe and the comics, this is wholly predictable.
Fortunately, the storyline fits the film even better than it does the comics. Character motivations are fleshed out more thoroughly, and even when the characters are at odds, it’s clear none of them really want to be fighting one another.
Fortunately, the film never devolves into the one staple of this sort of comic book story—heroes battling each other until they identify the “real” enemy, then seeing the error of their ways and joining together. In this film, characters make their decisions with good reason, and—for the most part—they stick to their guns (so to speak).
There’s not much to nit-pick about in this film. Good story, good pacing, good character development… One could argue that the only flaw is the lack of a good villain, but is that really a flaw? Though there was no “big bad” villain this time around, there certainly was conflict. And that’s what drives an interesting story.