By Joanna Cosgrove
United, we stand; divided, we fall. In our universe and outside, the law applies but what captivates us is how it’s pulled off. When it’s the man with the money against the enhanced soldier, we shall place our bets cautiously. This is no mere battle, dear friends. This is war.
What can be said about a war among colleagues? It’s a trope many superhero franchises love to pull off: A slings insults to B, B fights against A, and who truly wins in the end can be confusing to many. War rarely ends with an overall win, because things can break and die: people, possessions, and trusting bonds. I wish not to tell too much, but Marvel’s latest flick shows how broad the terms of war can be when there are equalised teams.
Not too far from the graphic novel, Civil War brings together most of Earth’s known heroes that we are aware of thus far (barring Thor and Hulk – the war would be far more brutal with their involvement), and introduces some fresh faces to our eyes; including Peter “On-The-Young-Side” Parker (Tom Holland, Billy Elliot: The Musical), pursuing his teenage superhero dreams with the help of some shocking grant money, and Wakandan native T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman, Gods of Egypt), who seems like such a welcome – and sudden – addition to our team.
Through twists and Government interference, we see Earth’s mightiest divide on two labelled teams: the team of justice, fronted by Tony Stark and his willingness to allow the Avengers to become controlled by the United Nations; and the team of freedom, fronted by Steve Rogers who defies the preference of being controlled and would rather risk hundreds or thousands to save millions and billions.
As the movie begins, we find out – on screen – who is Captain America’s inspiration to keep the Avengers a free-fighting force: one James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes. Since 2011, we have seen that the Cap’s long-time friend holds a special place in his heart; but as years passed and Bucky returned, there has been conflict. Bucky is no longer the soldier Steve once knew, completely, but we are seeing more and more of himself here. It was tough to see this chatty charismatic warrior as the manipulated criminal we first met in the solo predecessor (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), but as it progresses, we can see that Bucky is still Bucky and it becomes believable that his crimes of the past were not his per se.
Besides the title character, Bucky was definitely a stand-out: he speaks out as an anti-hero rarely has before. He can redeem, or attempt to; Bucky brings to me at least the idea that when in an entranced state, it’s more the body causing action than the mind – and a body is not a person. The Winter Soldier was more a body, trapping an innocent soul inside; and this movie outlines how there is an easy divide. Forget the civil war among heroes; there is a civil war among Bucky and the Winter Soldier – with no winner.
I’ll lighten up on the Steve and Bucky of it all, and just say that this movie was mind-blowing.
How everyone had someone to fight, it spoke out that there was never going to be a win or loss; that’s what makes the Avengers the strongest force Earth’s got. They cannot be defeated or overtaken. If they cannot beat themselves, what chance does anyone else have? And whilst we would all walk into the cinema knowing the answer, we would all also walk out amazed, astounded by what really carried on. Never in the MCU has there been such a scene as the scene we shall call “The War”: where from corner to corner, we were seeing combat and weaponry and teamwork – even some surprising events we had never witnessed on the big screen prior – and despite it only lasting probably fifteen minutes, it felt like a lifetime.
Breakout characters in this film, beside the team leaders and the Winter Soldier, I would definitely include Scarlet Witch herself Wanda Maximoff. I might be acting biased, being a supporter of Team Cap, but Wanda was a lifesaver repeatedly in this flick; she puts her strength and determination in her powers to help her teammates. To prevent spoilers, I will not highlight how she acts against Tony’s teammates, but trust me when I say you will think of her as the defence no one wanted but everyone needed.
Overall, this is now my favourite movie in the cinematic universe, and I cannot wait to see what that star-spangled man has in store for us next time he appears.
Whenever he appears. However he appears. I shall wait patiently.