The first two Captain America movies were among the best of Marvel’s solo movies and the ones most closely tied into the larger Marvel universe. In a lot of ways the first Cap movie was a prelude to the Avengers (It even had “Avenger” in the title) and the second Winter Soldier, aside from being the best Marvel superhero movie to date, was the bridge between the first and second movies. That connection is even stronger in Civil War, which is more Avengers 3 than Captain America 3. Captain America Civil War is everything that Age of Ultron should have been, even if it doesn’t quite nail the landing on the Captain America part of its story.
The bad first. I don’t think the movie fully sells its villain’s plot or the gives enough time to the ideological split that ignites the conflict. Time that could have been spent having Steve and Tony actually express their points of view rather than have them assumed by the other party was used instead to introduce new characters like Black Panther and Spider-Man, the latter of which has an especially small role in this film. Also, there is little resolution at the end of the movie; instead the characters all reach the end of this movie’s journey by the mid-point and the rest just kind of plays out with little consequence.
Those are my complaints with the movie; aside from some other inconsequential ones (I did like the location titles). Otherwise, it was pretty great. The Russo’s did great work with Winter Soldier and this continues that. What it might fail at from a plot perspective, it nails from a character one. Civil War is a movie with a lot of characters and nearly all of them are portrayed well. The newcomers, including Ant-Man, all shine and bring a lot of fun to the film. This movie does more to let viewers into the head of Scarlet Witch and Vision than Age of Ultron ever even attempted to, while still giving viewers good moments with Falcon and Rhodey and Black Widow and Hawkeye. The character’s journeys, as short as then end up being, are mostly well done.
While I found its last act anti-climactic and didn’t completely buy the confrontation in it, the big fight scene in at the airport is pretty much perfection. It is everything I want in a superhero fight, with a dozen heroes duking it out in a variety of combinations. Somehow it remains coherent while juggling all of these characters and letting each one show off their powers and personality. Most time these sort of extended, consequence free fight scenes end up being a drag, but Civil War’s airport scene keeps through new wrinkles on often enough to keep things interesting.
Civil War is, like the last Avengers movie, completely overstuffed. That this movie is trying to pass itself off as a Captain America movie is disingenuous, but that doesn’t make it unenjoyable. The perfect casting of each of the heroes really helps them find their voices and the sides they take feel like natural outgrowths of their characters, even if the conflict comes about absurdly quickly. This might not be the best Marvel movie (I would put it below Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy at the very least) but it is still highly entertaining.