If you’re looking for a really good Avengers sequel, Captain America: Civil War fits the bill nicely. It’s a dramatic payoff for the past eight years of character development in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and feels like a natural progression for their stories. However, if you were hoping for another really strong, unique Captain America film, well, Civil War falls a bit short in that category. While Cap is definitely at the story’s core, he almost gets lost in his own movie. Almost. Overall, Civil War does a good job of not letting its title character get overshadowed, but there are times where it’s easy to forget this was supposed to be a Captain America movie, and not another Avengers movie; especially when a certain webhead shows up.
Yes, Spider-Man is in the movie and finally in the MCU (no spoiler there, he showed up in the trailers). And yes, when he’s on screen, Spidey really is one of the best parts of the film. Newcomer Tom Holland not only perfectly embodies the idea of a younger, more inexperienced Spidey, but he also nails the whole “Spider-Man vibe,” from his quick quips to the web-slinging action. Oh yes, he definitely goes into action in this movie, and it just leaves you wanting more…until you remember this is supposed to be a Captain America film.
Blank Panther gets his introduction in this movie as well, and you really have to hand it to the film, because it handles the introduction of these two major characters really well. Chadwick Boseman is fantastic as T’Challa, the burdened king of Wakanda and heir to the mantle of the Black Panther warrior. Again, he often steals the spotlight when he’s on screen, and again, it all just whets your appetite for when he’ll finally get his own movie to star in; which Captain America was trying to do here, but kept getting upstaged by guest appearances.
So yeah, back to Captain America being in his third Captain America film filled with Avengers. Despite teetering dangerously close to becoming an all-out Avengers movie, Civil does manage to keep the overall focus on Cap and the difficult journey he’s going through; not only struggling with a strong difference of opinion about what role the Avengers should play in the world at large, but also what to do about his dear friend Bucky, a.k.a. the lethal Winter Soldier. Sure, there are a lot of other heroes who get a moment to shine in this movie, but in the end, this is all about Caps journey to continue what he’s always been compelled to do; what’s right.
In fact, much of Civil War focuses on this issue choice. Do we choose to do the right thing when it’s the unpopular thing? Do we choose to do the right thing when we know we can do something about what’s wrong? When the option to choose is taken from us, does that change what’s right and wrong? In short, there are a lot of choices made, and a lot of discussion about the choice that have been made or will be made, in Civil War. That may sound dull, but it is one of the more compelling elements of the movie; just how important is the right to choose? What should we do with that power; the power of choice? Truth is, there’s probably no greater power available to us than the power to choose. The fact is, eternity can be altered by our choice. God himself has presented us with a choice; a choice between life and death, blessing and curse, and he even tells us which choice he’d prefer us to make; choose life. God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, so that we could make that choice. He paid for all of our mistakes and rebellion, he paid the price we owe due to the many wrong choices we’ve made, and he offers us a fresh start, a new life, a chance to choose life. I hear so often people complain and lament the fact that the Bible is so narrow in how it says Jesus is the only choice we have for eternal life. Really? Well, I’m actually kind of glad we have any choice, because before Jesus, before the cross, we didn’t have the option to choose. Our fate was sealed, our doom was assured, and then God in in loving kindness and mercy did something about that, and gave us a choice where we once had none. It’s one of the greatest kindnesses to ever be extended to the human race; the chance to choose. The question still remains; what will we do with that choice?
Captain America: Civil War is the best of everything one expects from the familiar Marvel movie formula. It has fantastic action (the airport battle between the two teams exceeds every giddy expectation), it has great humor, and it even has a fair amount of heart. Things are a bit more dramatic at times, but never at the cost of what Marvel movies have always excelled at; being a whole lot of fun. While there’s a lot going on, and a lot of character to balance, ultimately, this is one Avengers movie…er…one Marvel movie that doesn’t lose sight of that.