‘Captain America: Civil War’ lives up to Marvel’s track record

Brice Vestal, Contributing Writer

With 12 movies and over nine billion dollars in worldwide gross, the Marvel universe cannot be stopped.

It’s been eight years since the first Iron Man film was released to the world. With Marvel’s latest flick around the corner, there’s one question that needs to be asked: does Marvel still have the magic touch? The short answer: without a doubt.

“Captain America: Civil War” is the third film in the Captain America franchise and is helmed by directing duo Anthony and Joe Russo. The story revolves around world governments deciding that superheroes need official oversight after an Avengers mission causes substantial collateral damage. This government legislature splits The Avengers team in half, with Captain America leading one side and Iron Man leading the other. The audience is now presented with an extremely emotional conflict that steadily builds throughout the film.

The Russo Brothers had no easy task when tackling this film — adapting a larger-than-life story with over a dozen feature characters, meanwhile keeping the narrative grounded in its respective reality. Coming from a comedy background, the Russos do a stellar job giving the film depth and heart, yet at the same, injecting the plot with unbelievable action set pieces (The airport fight scene is truly one of the best action sequences I’ve ever seen on film). Their confidence with the project is clear, and their vision and understanding of the characters show in each and every scene.

Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who also wrote the first two Captain America films, wrote the screenplay, and it is just as pristine as their previous work. Lead by the actors’ excellent performances, the script feels organic and guides the movie’s brisk pacing consistently through three very solid acts. The script tonally possesses the seriousness of a psychological thriller, yet simultaneously includes beats of humor when needed.

One of the many strengths of the Marvel cinematic universe is that we’ve been with these characters for years, so we’ve been able to watch them grow and develop into what they are today. This also means that at this point, the actors have their respective characters down to a tee. Chris Evans’ portrayal of Steve Rogers/Captain America is as great as we’ve seen it so far. Strong, commanding and charming, Evans plays Cap with a control that shows that he was made to play this role.

Similarly, Robert Downey Jr. plays Tony Stark/Iron Man with such a masterful poise that it’s very hard to see him in any other character. However, don’t go into Civil War expecting a snarky, sarcastic Stark that we’ve all grown accustomed to. Downey Jr. plays him with a tenderness that serves the movie well and makes the character complex and even more captivating to watch.

Despite Civil War’s triumphs, it’s not perfect and is marked by minute, yet forgivable, flaws. Marvel has had a pretty solid track record in the visual effects department, yet this movie fails in making every shot immaculate. There are a few times where the CGI was noticeably average, taking me out of the experience for a split second. Some characters looked phony, and other times the green screen behind the actors was obviously a green screen.

Overall, the visuals for the most part were very nice and were never bad enough to distract me from the film, but holistically, they weren’t perfect. On a similar note, the movie’s score wasn’t particularly memorable or awe-inspiring. The music does its job in the movie, but if I’m being honest, I couldn’t hum it from memory if I tried.

At the end of the day, “Captain America: Civil War” thrives off of the direction of the Russo Brothers, the history of the established characters in the franchise and the emotional impact the narrative has on the audience. Civil War knows exactly what it is. It never tries to be anything else, and that’s the beauty of the film. It gives the people what they want, and at the same time, services itself by telling an intimate story with incredibly personal stakes. If this movie is any indication of what we can be expecting from future Marvel films, we’re all in for a truly wonderful time.