Robert Downey Jr.
reviewed by Tom-Tom
This is one of the film events I have been waiting for. It was one of the most innovative turns in the Marvel Universe. You have all of these superheroes running around unchecked and for many years, they only did good with no problems or hurt civilians, well, save for Gwen Stacy. So, in a realistic move, after a youngster filled superhero team’s attempt to catch Nitro, a super-villain whose explosive power roasts bus-fulls of New England school children alive as well as lesser heroes all while being filmed by reality TV, legislation moved towards superhero registration. Each superhero would have to register his/her secret identity and powers, receive training to best use said superpowers, and earn a stipend from the government for their services. Sounds great, right? The downside is that they would no longer be able to act alone when they see a crime but have to get permission first and that any super-villain hacker could get access to the secret identity info and use it as leverage or threat against any hero registered. Plus, the overseeing committee would be Congressional which means their motivation would be as malleable as the greatest campaign contributor taking away from the purity of classic heroism. Tony Stark, having experienced an encounter with one of parents of the victims of the Nitro incident (she slaps and spits on him), sides with registration. Captain America, always the advocate of pure heroism, is against registration despite his own identity being well known. Both are stubbornly fixed to their own causes. Slowly, various heroes side with either flagship and eventually the Civil War begins.
This isn’t precisely what happens here in the film version. Which is fine, as the comics had several titles and months with which to flesh out the various stories, characters, and plots. The events which transpire here are the results of years of MCU films and TV shows. We got a glimpse of in-fighting among Avengers in every single film they took part in so far. Hawkeye vs. Widow, Thor vs. Iron Man, Cap vs. Thor, Hulk vs. everyone, really. Recount the battle before the birth of the Vision. The schism in the Avengers has been building for a while and though it doesn’t occur the way it did in the comics, that shouldn’t dissuade comic fans from enjoying it. The break happens organically with remnants of camaraderie hanging on even during the conflict.
The Russo Brothers, whose previous Cap film Winter Soldier brought a sense of realism to the MCU with less use of CGI and more practical, aggressive martial arts which were less showy and more geared at downing baddies quickly (and non lethally) mostly achieve the same here. The Winter Soldier himself was a total badass who didn’t miss when shooting and had his own array of deadly weapons in addition to his bionic arm. He didn’t toy with his intended victims, he simply killed them or regrouped to where he could better kill them. It is possible to watch Winter Soldier several times and still feel the suspense, the immediacy of the danger in close quarters without the dramatic posturing that so defines many comic book films.