Director: Anthony Russo & Jon Russo
Writers: Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely
Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlet Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Daniel Bruhl
I have been anticipating this movie since I heard rumors of its making. What with US elections upon us, a movie of two drastic political views has come at the opportune time. I was very nervous about how they were going to handle the two sides of freedom and security. It’s a subject that’s caused many a Facebook debate. Both sides have good intentions and both believe to be right. Marvel takes Civil War to a much deeper emotional level, because it isn’t about defeating a big ugly super villain this time, it’s about the characters’ core morality and dealing with consequences.
Violence/Scary Images: There is a good deal of violence in this film, mostly between heroes. They punch, kick, claw, shoot, and cut each other. They fight brutally and sustain severe cuts, contusions, and other hospital-worthy injuries. None of the wounds made me look away though. An assassin murders a man and a woman, the man by banging his head until his skull cracks, and the woman by choking her. The villain Crossbones takes off his helmet and reveals his horribly scarred face; Russians use painful electrotherapy on Bucky; and a villain tortures another villain by drowning him. These instances could be disturbing to young children and more sensitive adults.
Language/Crude Humor: The characters didn’t swear a lot, but there was some notable language near the end of the film, including a few usages of godd***, sh**, and a**.
Spiritual Content: Wanda Maximoff’s superhero name is Scarlet Witch and her abilities resemble magic. T’Challa relates a story to Natasha about his culture’s afterlife.
Sexual Content: There’s one kissing scene.
Drug/Alcohol Reference: You’d think with Tony Stark around there would be, but there wasn’t.
Other Negative Content: This movie presents a lot of complex theological concepts that may bring up hard questions among younger viewers. I could see a kid being confused about why the good guys are fighting each other, and what it means for a team to be torn apart from the inside out.
Positive Content: There are so many good themes in Civil War. I could write a post about them alone. Since this film is about our star-spangled man with a plan I’m going to focus on him. Captain America shows two great virtues in this movie: unconditional love and resolution in his ideals. No matter if other people hate Bucky, no matter if Bucky hurts Cap, Steve shows his best friend Christ-like love. My favorite scene in the movie was when Bucky was brainwashed and Cap grabbed the helicopter as Bucky tried to escape in it. Muscles bulging, sweat rolling down his face, wearing a grimace, he struggled to pull this massive machine back to the launch pad. His eyes revealed his true intentions. They clearly said, “I love you, and I’m not going to let you go.” This was such a Christ-like picture of how Jesus endures our ill behavior and even when we screw up he is still holding onto us, because he believes we can be saved.
The second point I’d like to bring up is about being resolute about our ideals. As Christians, we are bombarded with so many different moral viewpoints. We’re pulled this way and that way about what’s wrong and what’s right. People have tried to bully us into acquiescing to their notions. I think this quote from the film and comics embodies how Captain America feels about what is truly right:
Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — “No, you move.”
I‘ve posted this quote on my Facebook page on the 4th of July. It carries so much weight and power. This quote is something we need to keep in mind nowadays with the shifting of our culture‘s morality. We need to stay planted next to the river of truth, next to our faith, next to the Living Word, next to our God.
After civilian casualties during an Avengers mission accidentally by Wanda’s hand, the UN has decided that the Avengers need more regulation. While Tony jumps to sign the Sokovia Accords because of his guilt and fear from past experiences, Steve disagrees on the principle it could hinder the Avenger’s effectiveness and even jeopardize the team’s ethics. This splits the Avengers and other siding parties in two. To make matters worse, when Bucky Barnes is prime suspect in the bombing of the UN during the signing of Sokovia Accords, the Avengers are pitted against each other in their manhunt for the Winter Soldier as Tony is ordered to shoot on sight and Steve wants to defend his longtime best friend. Can they mend their broken relationships or are the Avengers finished?
I’ve seen every Marvel movie up to date and Civil War is unlike any of them. This film sheds most of its characteristic humor and goes to a deep theological and emotional level. Team Captain America and Team Iron Man both have righteous intentions. On one hand, Tony truly believes that tightening the leash on the Avengers will prevent the accidental deaths of civilians. This alludes much to standpoints such as gun control. On the other hand, Steve believes that having such an involved overseer could prevent the Avengers from going places they should and send them places where they shouldn’t be. This alludes to standpoints such as freedom to bear arms.
To be honest because of the liberal political climate, I thought Marvel would cast Captain America as the villain despite the film’s name, but the Russos handled this concept delicately. They presented both points of view in earnest and let you as the viewer decide which was wrong and which was right.
Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. play their roles as Captain America and Iron Man excellently as usual. We also welcome back Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson), The Winter Soldier (Sebastien Stan), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Falcon (Anthony Mackie). New coming to the scene are Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Tom Holland as Spider-Man. This is a truly epic cast of superheros. They are diverse and they compliment each other perfectly. We also see some fantastic character arcs, particularly in Wanda, Bucky, and T’Challa.
Their battle sequences were something to behold. They were mind-blowing. I smiled in sheer delight at their amazing feats of super abilities. The effects were so seamless I forgot for two hours that this all wasn’t real. Though the first battle between the two sides was more fun and lighthearted, the ending battle definitely accentuated the devastating impact of broken relationships. Iron Man and Captain America’s final fight is brutal and heart-wrenching. It feels unreal to see two friends tearing each other apart. Prepare for your heart to hurt when you watch this film.
The settings are amazing and unique as we travel from Lagos, Nigeria to Berlin, Germany to London, England to Siberia, Russian. We witness an array terrain with a moving score in the background. In this film, we see new gadgest and new moves from our superheroes, and they encounter new and exciting obstacles.
Captain America: Civil War is not for the faint of heart. It is an intense movie both in the battle sequences and the emotional tension between characters. Tough subjects are explored. Beautiful character development is displayed. This is a truly moving and amazing superhero film.
+ Well-Handled Theological Concepts + EPIC battles + Excellent Cast + Moving Score + Great Plot Twists
- Some Shaky Camerawork - I Wish the Ending Was A Little Less Bittersweet
The Bottom Line
Captain America: Civil War is a very heavy film, both in plot, characters, and themes. The film presents some great moral questions and handles them beautifully. This is one of the best superhero films I've ever seen.