So, the premise of Civil War begins with a mission in Nigeria that goes sideways and wipes out some civilians. The UN sees this as a good excuse to shackle the Avengers to their whims. US Secretary of State General (ret) Thunderbolt Ross is in charge of the arm twisting.
Meanwhile, a little grey man named Zemo is manipulating things from behind the scenes. First, Zemo attacks the UN conference for the Avengers agreement, framing Bucky "Winter Soldier" Barnes for the attack, making the world a suddenly much smaller place for him to hide.
And then, we're off to the races.
Now let's look at this for a moment, shall we?
This isn't even everybody. There were twelve characters on screen. And, much to my surprise, each and every one of them had a character moment. They had screen time that made their appearance worthwhile. Some of these people were only on screen for about 5-15 minutes (sorry I'm vague about the time, but I didn't look at my watch once during the entire 2:30 running time).
And keep in mind, they introduced two new heroes. We'll get into both of them in a moment, but think about how much work had to be done here. This wasn't a Captain America film, this was an Avenger movie. And the best part is, there was no SHIELD, no Infinity Gems. And the bad guy was more of a MacGuffin than an antagonist.
The Russo brothers proved that they can take over for Joss Whedon's seat as the directors of Phase 3 of the Marvel universe.
About the villain: I am surprised that they changed the character of Zemo from the comics. He was not at all affiliated with Hydra. I was thrown by it. I was also thrown by the fact that, after a bombing, he did very little in this movie. It was all about thinking, and chess, and playing people. And people were played very well. It almost makes me wonder if he planned the opening scene as well, just to set the events in motion. He was a spymaster. Just a grey little man with nothing special except a plan. It was like George Smiley versus the Avengers, and he almost won.
Also, notice, this had Ant-Man. I even liked Ant-Man. There was some good bits of business with him which boil down to spoilers. So moving on.
By the way, remember in Winter Soldier when Peggy Carter brought all the feels? She kinda does that again.
Meet prince T'Challa of Wakanda. He made his introduction into the MCU with this movie, and he was done surprisingly well. When he is brought into the situation, he is driven by vengeance, and he's also obviously royalty. He carries himself like a king, and you will respect him like one, or he will rip your throat out.
Interestingly enough, at the end of the day, he was the sanest one on the battlefield. I look forward to him having his own movie.
Of course, the other one people talk about is ....
Yup. Back to Spider-Man. Sony and Marvel studios came to an accord after they badly mishandled Amazing Spider Man 2.
However, I can say with all honesty, I like this one. Especially scenes where he's bantering with Tony Stark.
Marissa Tomei as Aunt May is probably more realistic (consider the ages for a moment, you'll see what I mean. Aunt May should be 46, watching after a 16 year old. Not much older. Rosemary Harris, while accurate to the comic, was probably older than she should have been).
Also, this exchange.
Parker: You know that really old movie, The Empire Strikes Back?I'll take it.
War Machine: How old is this kid Tony?
Stark: I don't know. I didn't carbon date him!
At the end of the day, this was a totally character-driven film. There's plot, but this one relies heavily on the characters. It is the end result of multiple movies coming to fruition. And it never slowed down. And I never looked at my watch once.
Best Marvel film to date. Hands down.
And props for making certain that this image was in the film.
Now, a few things: Last time I had this conversation, after Age of Ultron, I called a few things. Some things weren't that hard to guess. That they brought up Bucky killing Stark's father is not a surprise. I didn't even believe that they made it a "twist" in the film. Was anybody surprised by that?
Blowback happened from the Hulk's rampage in Age of Ultron. Also not surprising.
And of course, the Disassembling of the Avengers. Called it. But then again, not surprising either.
Tell me that last note to Stark wasn't a note from Chris Evans to Marvel fans. "If you need me, call"? Pretty much what Evans said about retiring ... except for Marvel films.