The Russo Brothers
Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr., Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Olsen, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland… etc. etc.
May 16, 2016 (US Premiere)
Summary for Moms:
Following the Avengers avoiding an extinction level event in Age of Ultron, the team continues to operate as they see fit. However, based on Sokovia’s collateral damage, the absence of SHIELD, and a disastrous operation in Lagos, the team’s political capital is running dangerously low. The global community proposes a set of laws restricting the Avengers’ operations to government-sanctioned police actions. Devastated by his guilt, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) supports these measures. However, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) believes they’re unreasonably restrictive. Following the reappearance of Steve’s friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) and a terrorist attack linked to him, the Avengers take sides while a conspiracy to disassemble them plays out in the shadows. With the help of newcomers Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and the amazing Spider-Man (Tom Holland), will the Avengers survive this struggle or tear themselves apart trying?
Captain America: Civil War starts off Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a film that is just as much a Captain America movie as it is an Avengers movie. The draw of the movie, of course, is that every single MCU hero (with some newbies subbing in for others) is in conflict with one another, having drawn a line in the sand over the ‘Sokovia Accords’. Those supporting government registration side with Pro-Accountability technocrat Tony Stark on Team Iron Man, and those against side with Sentinel of Individual Liberty Steve Rogers on Team Cap. Overall, this makes for a fairly philosophical underpinning for the movie’s lavish and indulgent superhero fightfest.
My mom enjoyed the film, but she has never been as taken with the Captain America films as she has other movies. Regardless, she became invested in the film just as it started moving. The insidious undercurrent plot to destroy the Avengers orchestrated by understated villain Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) really spoke to her, and she lamented (often) about “how people can be drawn into conflict when they don’t tell the truth”. She was surprised when it was eventually revealed that Bucky assassinated Tony’s parents and intently followed the final fight scene that resulted.
Moving backwards a bit, while the final fight was intense and enrapturing, the highlight of Civil War is the mid-movie airport fight spectacular where all the players come together for the first time. It’s an entirely delightful sequence with great moments that my mom really enjoyed, especially the bickering between Bucky and the Falcon, as well as all the other bits of interspersed humor. Ant-Man’s sudden appearance didn’t get as much of a reaction out of her as I’d hoped, but she really enjoyed the additions of the Black Panther and Tom Holland’s new Spider-Man, who she loved, especially since he’s “the one that goes to Bronx Science”.
Civil War is a brilliantly put together film that manages to take a basic arc from the comic books, scale it down (in terms of participants) and still produce an emotional impact greater than that of the source material through the use of a subtle background puppetmaster. While it may not have been my mom’s favorite movie, it got her invested enough for her to shout “Oh no!” just before Captain America was about to slam his shield down on Iron Man during the final battle. So, I’d say that counts as a success.
- In case you’re wondering, my mom is Team Cap.
- She was surprised when the Black Panther revealed himself to be T’Challa. I suppose she wasn’t paying that much attention before that.
- “Oh! He’s the one who becomes the Spider-Man!”
- She didn’t recognize Martin Freeman until the end when she got a clearer look at his face: “Oh… is that Watson from the Sherlock?”
- She still didn’t recognize Marissa Tomei, but I’m sure she’ll pick it up when we watch Homecoming.
- She’s amazed at how well-planned out the MCU is, specifically in terms of seeding Black Panther in early for a later movie.
- I had to explain to her the concept of Wakanda, and that they are setting up for a soon to be released Black Panther movie. She was amazed by the amount of advanced planning they put into the MCU.
- She is also interested in Peter Parker’s return in Spider-Man.