Captain America: Civil War is a film about Comic Con turning into a mass brawl. When two nerds dressed as Captain America and Iron Man disagree over the representation of the characters in Mark Millar’s comic book, they resort to bashing each other with their replica weapons and forcing their friends to choose sides.
The argument starts when the convention attendees are asked to join two separate lines, one in favour of The Avengers being regulated by the UN and the other opposed. Iron Man joins the former, having witnessed the destruction of many comic book stools at last year’s event and feeling overwhelmed with shame. Captain America on the other hand, believes that being thorough and ruthless is the best way to obtain signatures from people like Warwick Davis and Worf from Star Trek.
“Captain America would never be so inconsiderate of innocent lives!” shouts Iron Man. And then War Machine throws a foam missile at his head. All hell breaks loose as the nerds quickly take sides and begin to attack each other with toys while remaining in character and quoting lines from 1960s graphic novels. Blank Panther repeatedly scratches the Winter Soldier, one of the most destructive individuals at last year’s Comic Con, prompting his best friend, Captain America, to come to his defence.
Just when Cap and the Winter Soldier start to look outnumbered, the Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Ant-Man and Hawkeye all come to their aid. It seems like a bit of a weak team in comparison to Iron Man’s: The Vision, Spider-Man, War Machine and Black Widow, but since none of it is actually real I suppose it doesn’t matter.
The motives of each character are carefully drawn out, though, which is a stark contrast to the romantic comedy Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, where the bad guy’s only reason for being a psychopath is his daddy spanking him when he was a kid. In Civil War we have political differences and personal relationships deteriorating because they can’t agree on which version of Spider-Man looks better.
In a way, it’s quite realistic; no need for too many special effects, no outlandish superpowers on display (with one or two exceptions) and a considerably modern tone. Come to think of it, it’s a bit drab. At least BvS strived to be something stylistically different, placing its characters in darker surroundings, testing their sociopathic boundaries and playing on their obvious attraction to each other. Civil War is just a cosplay event that’s got out of hand.
But it’s probably the best Marvel film yet. The argument over which line to join is one that caused me to change my mind several times throughout. There’s no arguing with the effectiveness of Captain America’s method of obtaining autographs, but maybe if he just cooperated with Iron Man, he’d get what he wants anyway: Jennifer Lawrence to sign his helmet.