If you eat too much of anything, however much you may enjoy it, you’ll eventually become bloated. 2016 could be the serving of one superhero film feast too many. To make matters worse, here is a review for another that sees good guys face good guys. Can Captain America: Civil War add energy to Marvel’s concept and make us forget the market is oversaturated?
I’ll save you reading 500 words and give you the answer now: It’s a big, fat, No!
Now I’ll humbly explain why.
It starts with so much promise. Captain America and his team (Black Widow, Falcon, Scarlet Witch) are heading an espionage mission in Africa. At this point I found myself applauding the Captain’s films. I like how they blend superhero with spy movie. Had this remained the case – indeed, remained a Captain America film – we wouldn’t have had a problem.
The problem came when Scarlet Witch, by accident, threw a baddie into a building full of innocents.
Cue the morale debate about should superheroes be allowed to go around without anyone giving them orders. A little bit like the Superman subplot in Batman v Superman but without any of the meat on the tired old bones.
Rather than it be an area of worthy exploration, it becomes nothing more than a plot device. And what a dire plot. Captain’s buddy, Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier, appears to blow up the UN when all The Avengers minus Captain America sign a new treaty, placing them under the control of men rather than being outside of the law.
Obviously, Captain America has to defend a guy he shared double-billing with on the last solo movie poster and Iron Man has to stick to the letter of the (new) law and treat him as a criminal. Also pretty obvious, is how it’s all been a set-up to make Bucky look bad. The motivations and the main bad guy an extraneous excuse to see our heroes have a fight.
Once the action starts, you may ask, surely it masks the poor plot?
Nah, not really. Ant-Man steals the show in the main battle, which is more like handbags at ten paces. And proving that Marvel fanboys make the most noise but the least sense, I can now confirm the new Spider-Man is the worst incarnation seen on the big screen.
Andrew Garfield must be wondering how on Earth Marvel couldn’t have shoehorned his version into the movie instead of this lame replacement. The teabag I squeezed out of my cup ten minutes ago has more screen presence than Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. As Spider-Man, things do improve, but Garfield was more wisecracking and it felt more natural.
While I will never deny the beauty of Marisa Tomei, is it really progressive to have her as Aunt May? The moral compass of a young hero that still looks like the lap dancer from The Wrestler? Yeah, that’ll work, Marvel.
The flaws in the films message and the bad guy’s main intention fall apart in the final scenes because it is plain stupid. His idea could never have worked and there’d always be some version of The Avengers regardless of infighting.
Sadly, due to overeager reviewers and the fanboys, there’ll always be Marvel movies like this.
It isn’t the worst ever (it can thank Iron Man 2 for that) but it isn’t far behind. It seems unfair Marvel can be applauded for another misfire while DC struggle for any type of credit from mainstream critics.
If things don’t vastly improve in the MCU, sooner or later others will speak up, and 2018’s Infinity War may forever be in pre-production.
5/10 (It would have been 4/10, if not for the opening Captain America elements.)