If the first two Captain America films are any indication, I’ve learned not to watch them with any expectations good or bad. Like most of the Marvel Phase One films, I found First Avenger to be a yawn and filler for the payoff that was the first Avengers movie. Winter Soldier blindsided me and years later I’m still trying to process how amazing that film is.

As much as I love Winter Soldier (it along with Avengers and Age of Ultron rank as my favorite Marvel flicks), and even though I knew I would finally get the Black Panther in this film, I still watched with no expectation.

Synopsis: Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side.

The verdict: By no mean is it the worst Marvel film by any stretch. It was brilliant in some parts and a mess in others. Better than First Avenger but a major letdown from Winter Soldier. I kept checking my watch so many times, one would’ve thought my name was William Tockman.

One of Marvel/Disney’s biggest cinematic sins is that they go to the proverbial well to often for the same setup that may have been a hit in a previous chapter. For example: one of the most popular scenes in season one of Daredevil is the hallway scene that’s a throwback to Oldboy. So they recreate the same scenario in the stairwell scene in season 2. Hulk pummeling Loki senselessly during the first Avengers film was reiterated with the gamma radiated behemoth doing the same to Ultron in the sequel. The opening of Civil War was a throwback to the first 10 minutes of Winter Soldier. It’s a reflection of Marvel resting on their laurels and not a good look.

Given that Ross was responsible for the destruction of Harlem in The Incredible Hulk, and Stark was the big bad of Age of Ultron, one can imagine my disgust at the blatant hypocrisy when neither get called out when they began pointing fingers and demanding laws be passed.

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Also the constant conflation of legality and morality warranted multiple side-eyes from this queer nerd of color.

The other issue with this film is that it doesn’t remember its own continuity. Ross mentions that the Avengers have been running around without answering to anyone when in fact the Avengers Initiative was a product of S.H.I.E.L.D. (and by extension Hydra) and ultimately answered to the World Security Council.

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Speaking of continuity issues, Alfre Woodard makes a cameo and it looks like it may not be connected to Luke Cage. I’d reveal more, but spoilers.

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The final fight was anti climactic and while the directors, the Brothers Russo, were trying to break type, applaud them for the effort, the setup and the execution was a bit of letdown.

So was the film a complete bust? Actually no. In fact, the film has a few bonuses that I was skeptical of, among them, Spider-Man.

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Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland have amazing chemistry and their scenes were comedy gold. For someone who does not want to see another Spidey flick, their scenes make a compelling argument that I might reconsider when the film comes to DVD.

Holland proves to be capable of portraying the dual personas of Peter Parker and Spidey superbly.

The fact that the 19 year old Holland is easy on the eyes doesn’t hurt either.

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Suddenly my spider sense is tingling.

But the real MVP of this film is without question Chadwick Boseman who portrays Wakandan Warrior King T’Challa known by his subjects as the Black Panther. Boseman delivered a most commanding presence in his performance. The Dora Milaje did not disappoint either.

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Much like Spidey we get a brief origin story with BP in the film to tease for the upcoming solo films. And to think it’ll be a decade after the MCU debut before we finally get a nonwhite superhero on the big screen.

And to answer the $64 million question: why would Black Panther side with Iron Man.

The setup was actually very well thought out and plausible. T’Challa’s agenda (which was a justified one) coincided with Stark’s.

The Black Panther wasn’t so much Team Iron Man as he was Team I’m Gonna F*** Bucky Up When I Catch Him On The Streets And Lay Claws On Him.

The conclusion of the Civil War established something else noteworthy, T’Challa has replaced Rogers as the MCU’s moral compass in a very profound way. I’d explain more but you know….

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Grade: B

As in B for Black Panther, the film’s saving grace. I’ll say this much, it’s light years better than the comic miniseries. Not saying much but then again, the less said about bigoted hack Mark Millar, the better.

Your mileage may vary.

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17 thoughts on “A Non Spoiler Review of Captain America: Civil War

  1. Great review. Thank you. After this, no more reviews for me, though, as
    I still plan on seeing it this weekend, but I’ve had enough Spider-Man to last me for a while. I’m not paying any more money. I have reached peak Spider-Man, I think. I’ll rent it, or catch it on cable, or something.
    I very much suspected BP was in this to kick Buckys butt, not to choose a side. (lol!)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I had no idea the Dora Milaje were in the film. I’m glad to hear that. Also glad to know that Boseman’s performance is noteworthy!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ok, so I saw Captain America: Civil War this afternoon and while I thought it was good it didn’t soar—it should have been an Avengers movie, not a Captain America movie. I just wanted MORE and I agree that the opening was a bit lazybones from the writing ranks.

    I will always love Captain America: The First Avenger because that was Steve Rogers’ origin story, but out of the three, CA: The Winter Soldier remains my favorite, which was slick, taut, and intriguingly eerie. It really brought home the point about bloated governments run amok including its minions. I missed The Winter Soldier mystique in this movie but I bet somehow Tony Stark will eventually assist with bringin’ it back based on you know what. Tiny will come around eventually.

    I really liked T’Challa/Black Panther and her was regal and I agree, seemingly the heir apparent to the MCU’s moral and ethical center. I WANT TO SEE MORE!

    I missed Nick Fury.

    I thought, Vision was kind wasted in terms of how they wrote him.

    I thought with exception to Steve’s kiss with Sharon, Agent 13 (there was also a nice SURPRISE about her!) and , this movie had a noticeable albeit underlying bromantic theme. (pun intended.) Steve and Bucky left together and Steve ultimately put Tony Stark down for his old friend from yore, Bucky Barnes. I realize that Bucky represents Steve’s only link to his past and much of the dialogue between them supports that theme, but still–I noticed a bromance. Very interesting, indeed. It seems the Black Widow will remain a “widow” of sorts when it comes to Steve Rogers….unrequited ….lust.

    Since, I still think this shoulda been an Avenger movie, I missed The (errant) Hulk and Thor.

    Spider Man was ok, but I almost felt like he had no place in this film. I welcome seeing his own stand alone film though and Tom Holland did better than I thought. It made sense how Tony Stark would help Peter Parker reach the next level, given that Tiny IS the premier TECH MASTER. “May” is too hip for my taste. LOL And, the whole deal that was reminiscent of “The Bat Communicator” really was laughable. (eye roll) But, in a good way.

    The fight scenes were great but there was something missing…I cannot quite put my finger on it.

    War Machine….Awwwwwwwww!

    I too, rate Civil War a solid B. I look forward to Infinity War.

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  4. I was very disappointed with Civil War. They could have saved this storyline for an Avengers film and focused more on Steve’s life and his connections with Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, Sharon Carter and HYDRA. Steve’s romance with Sharon was wasted. His reconnection with Bucky was wasted. The only real in-depth conversation they had was about the Winter Soldier program. The opportunity for Sam and Bucky to connect was wasted and their so-called rivalry for Steve’s friendship was treated as a running joke. HYDRA in the form of Brock Rumlow aka Crossbones was really wasted.

    Worse, I had to deal with Tony Stark’s background and man pain in this film. I had to watch a five-to-ten minute segment in which Tony recruited Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, yet the movie failed to really explain why Clint Barton aka Hawkeye and Scott Lang aka Ant-Man had decided to help Steve.

    A waste of my fucking time. And this is disappointing to me, considering that I really liked the other two Captain America movies.

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