By Adam Guy
Directed: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo.
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd.
At the very beginning of the process, there’s two reasons to want to make a film. Either you have a story you want to tell that you think people will want to hear, or you want to make money. Hollywood is obviously not run by charities. Every film that it churns out is designed to turn a profit. But there’s a difference between creating something because you want to and doing it because you think it’ll be profitable.
In the last decade or so, Marvel have gone from being a successful cult comic book company to one of the largest and most profitable film makers on the planet. Despite their alternative routes, Marvel characters are now the definition of mainstream. Liking the current crop of Marvel superhero films doesn’t make you a geeky outsider any more than liking The Big Bang Theory means you’re smart. These are deeply formulaic films designed to reach as large an audience as possible. They are totally functional but utterly soulless. Captain America: Civil War exists because Disney, the owners of Marvel Studios, needed to make another film and because there’s a comic book with vaguely similar themes to act as justification.
That’s not to say there’s aren’t any good ideas in Civil War. The notion of a UN treaty to stop the Avengers fucking the whole planet up seems believable, and them having some level of internal disagreement as to how they should respond to this is a potentially interesting concept. But the eventual “Civil War” and motivation for why each person decides which side they’re on feels so forced that it has zero weight, and knowing the studio wouldn’t let any of the main characters get mortally wounded doesn’t help with the lack of emotional investment in the conflict. Consequently, watching them all run around throwing each other into exploding buildings as they unintentional cause millions of dollars worth of damage just made me want to see Team America again.
Captain America: Civil War has everything it’s supposed to; a shit ton of action, cheesy one-liners, an unnecessary extra scene after the credits and all the in-references and fan service you could hope for. If you liked the last few Marvel films then you’ll almost certainly enjoy this. If you didn’t then this will not be the film to change your mind.