This year marks 75 years of an icon: Captain America. Creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby felt the need to create a hero who could inspire hope, freedom and liberty during the Second World War. In 1941, the first comic book featuring Captain America was published and the First Avenger was cemented in history.
Now, 75 years later, Marvel Studios has released the third Captain America film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe titled Captain America: Civil War. Following an international incident, governments around the world demand that the Avengers, led by Captain America (Chris Evans), be held accountable for their actions. Tony Stark/ Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) agrees to this demand, while Captain America believes the Avengers should hold themselves accountable for their actions, leading to a personal confrontation between the two heroes.
Chris Evans nails his portrayal of a determined yet frustrated Captain America who feels the need to help others but doesn’t want to be bound by government rules and political agendas. The character of Steve Rogers (Captain America) can be difficult to understand because he can easily become one-dimensional with no goals besides doing the right thing. Fortunately, the film’s story expands on his connection to his best friend Bucky Barnes.
Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark, who feels conflicted following his last battle with the Avengers in which there were numerous casualties. Feeling a need to prevent such an incident from happening again, Stark makes a strong plea to the Avengers to address this concern. Downey Jr. excellently rewards the audience with a new take on his character in a way that makes him seem more genuine and remorseful than usual.
Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman, makes his first live-action appearance during his 50th anniversary. For general viewers unfamiliar with the character, T’Challa, the Black Panther, is the king of the African nation Wakanda with martial arts skills and a brilliant mind to match! His role in the film is seeking vengeance after an attack during a conference.
Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) addresses the conflict between Stark and Rogers in a unique way. Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) seeks absolution following his crimes as the Winter Soldier. Other heroes like War Machine and Falcon play a role in the story as well. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), one of the film’s most humorous characters, relieves some of Civil War’s tension. However, he’s not the only witty hero on display.
Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the first time. Following legal negotiations with rights owner Sony Pictures, Marvel Studios was finally able to use the playful hero in one of their films. He’s a fun and interesting addition to an exciting battle between Team Iron Man and Team Captain America.
Overall, directors Joe and Anthony Russo crafted one of the best films of 2016, with a compelling story pitting fellow Avengers, Iron Man and Captain America, against each other. It’s not perfect, due to some characters with limited roles and a shared focus on Captain America as well as other heroes. Despite some issues, the film is grounded with emotion and compelling arguments about freedom. Captain America: Civil War honours the character’s 75th anniversary!
– Gervaise Branch-Allen
Image from Comic Book