Death of the Critic

Captain America: Civil War - A Belated Review

Written by: Tom Blaich


I really wish that I had seen this movie in theaters. It took me a few months, but I finally managed to watch it now that it is out on DVD, having dodged spoilers since May, and some of the magic was lost for me. The climactic fight between the two sides felt strangely small and restrained, hidden behind the idea of superhero friends fighting each other. Carried by the threat of the villain, the MCU take on Baron Zemo. I feel like they missed their chance to expand upon some of the main heroes and their motivations. Why does Captain America so fervently believe that he is right? Iron Man’s motivations felt shallow and unfulfilling.

This is not to say that I did not enjoy the movie, because I really did, but I found myself wishing for something more. You can feel hints of it poking through in places of the movie, but instead of diving into these ideas that could turn into powerful moments of character building, they instead deliver another superhero brawler place firmly on the back of the charisma of Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. Even if it is a good superhero movie, it is something that we have seen before.

Tony Stark felt guilty. Cap and Scarlett Witch accidentally killed a dozen innocent people. The government decides they need to step in, with the cartoonish-ly dick-ish General “Thunderbolt” Ross at the helm of the new watchdog group behind The Avengers. It’s engineered to move out of the gray area and leave one of the two heroes right. Why should the government be concerned if they are all incompetent? It’s all about Stark and Cap and their conflict.

You can see how they have responded to criticism to some of the conflicts in earlier MCU movies and BvS and worked it into the story of Civil War. The big battles have been scaled down from city destroying affairs to what appear to be deserted airports and military bases. Innocent civilians are no longer a factor after the opening scene. And the only real casualties are soldiers, acceptable losses in the eyes of the audience. The most daring move was to injure "Rhodey" Rhodes in a tragic blast of friendly fire that is glossed over after a few lines of dialogue.

My biggest problem however, is with Bucky, The Winter Soldier. They use brain washing as an excuse to wash away every bad thing he’s done in the last two films and they expect us to immediately forgive him, even after we are shown that the wrong string of phrases will cause him to kill innocent people. Cap stands beside him because he is an old friend, ignoring his new ones who, coincidentally, don’t kill innocent people. If Iron Man could stop being an asshole, it would be easy to root for him. Bucky needs to be detained, at least for a little while until they can fix what is wrong with him.

Even with these complaints, I still found myself enjoying the movie. It is not like I completely hate it. Spiderman and Ant Man both are fantastic, with the new Peter Parker being an interesting character for once. Scarlett Witch is allowed to spread her wings a bit, playing a bigger role as well, looking at her role in the new Avengers. Yet my favorite character had to be Baron Zemo. He is a psychological villain in a land full of physical threats, and it is an amazing change of pace for the genre. He builds an interesting, if convoluted and impossible plan for the heroes to battle against. He exposes their vulnerabilities in a way that no one else has. He breaks the Avengers more effectively than Bane even broke the Bat.

The end of the movie paints an interesting picture for how things will move forward. They have written themselves an out if they care to ignore the conflict and bring the team back together, but it gives me hope that they will explore this conflict further in later films. I just hope they have more Hulk.

This title was reviewed before the inception of our current review system and as such is not scored. We still stand by the content of our old reviews.

Our review code can be found here for information on how we write and score our reviews. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns, please contact us at


Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

You Might Also Like:
Suicide Squad - Review

The Man from U.N.C.L.E - A Belated Review

Death Doesn't Matter Anymore

blog comments powered by Disqus