Film - Captain America: Civil War

When is a Captain America film NOT a Captain America film? Kraig Taylor-Bryant returns to the Marvel Universe to continue his look at another of the "solo" films of the characters from the upcoming Avengers Infinity War (spoilers)...

Captain America. A character that was introduced to us on the big screen so incredibly with “Captain America, The First Avenger”. So why am I not writing about that film instead of Civil War for the character of Captain America in my run up to Infinity War then you may be asking? Well, to be perfectly honest, I felt like that would be too easy to do and I think there’s personally a lot more to talk about with this film. I also hear this one is also a little more controversial in the sense that, if you have seen the comics, then you are likely to be a little more disappointed with this film.

When I first watched Civil War, I honestly thought it was one of the best AND most ridiculous films that I had ever seen. But now that I rewatch it, I start to wonder, how much of a Captain America film is it? If you think about it, there are so many other things that it could also be. It might not even be much of a Captain America, but it may be an amazing introduction to the character of Black Panther. Of course we do know that the film of Black Panther will be coming out early next year, but we don’t know if this is to be considered an origin film, so what if Civil War were to be the origin? We see the death of his father, we follow his vendetta against The Winter Soldier/Bucky which of course does turn out to be false, but it does sound a lot like it could work for an origin of this character.

And what about Spider-Man? So of course I’m not saying anything bad about this new Spider-Man, he is, in fact my new favourite Spider-Man, as Tom Holland’s Peter is more like a child and more relatable as shown in Spider-Man Homecoming. But, in a way, Civil War seems like it also is an introduction to Spider-Man, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s not like the story revolves around his character and therefore it’s good that we’re not being given a new Peter that we’re supposed to believe in from the start of a film, that’s not even his, just because Disney says he’s Peter Parker. Anyway I’m rambling, in Civil War Spider-Man definitely made the atmosphere that little bit nicer, adding to the atmosphere that Disney Marvel wants their films to be. His personality as more of a fan of them all than an enemy is really what lightens up the conflict between Tony and the Captain and the fact that he references Empire Strikes Back is what really made me smile.

Anyway, let’s actually start talking about Captain America seeing as this is at least meant to be his film. So we first see a hint of a car crashing in the opening of the film, supposedly shown to just establish that Bucky is not in the right state of mind at the moment. This then leads us to see Bucky getting tortured and seems to be remembering some things about his past but is being forced to forget about them. It’s not until the next part of the film is where we actually see Captain America, well actually we see Scarlet Witch, it’s after that we see the Captain spying in a building, leading events to proceed quickly with action sequences from characters such as Falcon, Black Widow and Captain America himself. What I really like about this scene is the fact that this then leads Scarlet Witch to attempt to contain an explosion from one of the men that survived the previous film... hang on this kind of reminds me of the opening to Avengers Age of Ultron? A villain/villains from the previous film being busted by the Avengers/some Avengers seemingly for the purpose of entertaining the audience early on, which of course isn’t a terrible thing to do, but it wouldn’t hurt to make things a little more different. Anyways, so when Scarlet Witch attempts to contain the explosion she ends up killing innocents in a nearby building which really puts the fights that the Avengers are partaking in into perspective, as this leads us to footage of the damage that Hulk was inflicting in New York and the destruction caused in the second Avengers film as well. This could easily sway people to side with Captain America but, at the same time, Captain America makes a good point that it is important to have the freedom of choice and that’s what I think is one of the best things about this film, you can’t really support one side over the other. I mean, sure, you can prefer one character over another, or think that one has a better team than the other. But in terms of their motive, both sides have extremely valid reasons.

And this leads me to the hints at Tony’s past that lead to one of the final scenes, in which Tony finds out that it was Bucky or more like, the Winter Soldier that killed his parents. I personally think that this was a very clever plot twist as this made their dispute a lot more personal and the fact that we were getting slight hints leading up to it is what really made the scene more interesting to watch. Each time it was shown, it was like the writers were hinting that their was something else in the scene that was important but they wanted us to try and figure it out before they told us, which I think is a really clever aspect of staging which I would love to see implemented into future films. What I also thought was especially clever symbolically was that, after the fight, both Captain America and Iron Man are without something that makes them who they are. The arc reactor is no longer a part of Tony any more so one of the more symbolic parts of him being Iron Man would now be the helmet, as it shows Iron Man with Tony’s eyes showing through, and the fact that he is then without it shows that he is no longer worthy to be a hero and, clearly, neither is Steve Rogers, as he went against the government and almost killed his friend, this being the same for Tony. Therefore, it’s also significant that the Steve loses the Captain America shield which symbolises him no longer being a soldier, as there is no one left for him to serve and, of course, he is now seen by the U.S government as a criminal.

Now back into the argument about whether this is actually a Captain America film. On the flip side, in the final sequence, we see the Captain continuously getting up to fight for his friend against Tony. The fact that Steve says “I can do this all day” perfectly mirrors the events of the first Avengers film where, instead of him using this line to defend himself in standing up to a bully, he is using it in order to protect his friend who stood up for him in the first Avengers film in that scene. This really reminds the audience of Steve’s relationship with Bucky and why Steve feels obligated to stand up for his friend and protect him no matter what. So, in the sense that Steve is in a way departing from American laws, it could be a Captain America film in the sense that it’s the end of Captain America. Of course we know that he will need to return to fight Thanos in the Infinity War but it will be more to protect the America than it will be him fighting as a part of it.

In general this film is many things, enjoyable, action packed, symbolic in a lot of ways. In many ways it’s not a Captain America film, but it sets up a lot of things for Infinity War which, in the end, is the most important thing for the franchise at the moment. So in that sense, it's a very good film, but of course it’s hard to match a film when it’s set so many years before the events of this film. I just hope that, if Captain America really dies in Infinity War, then he dies with no regrets and with some reference to the soldier that he used to be, so in a way it is Captain America that’s dying along with Steve Rogers.

Follow Kraig on Twitter @kraigandhismac

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