There’s been so much hype leading up to this incredible film and here’s my take on it, as usual, there may be minuscule spoilers but I’ll keep this as spoiler-free as possible (I wouldn’t want Arlen to kill me because he hasn’t seen it yet).
First, I’ll begin with the characters, everyone had their usual wit and fun as well as being suitably emotional when the time calls for it but there were multiple standout performances.Firstly Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) actually becomes more of a character in this film and you get more of an insight into her as a character and the affect her ‘enhancement’ has had on her life. You also begin to truly see how powerful she actually is as she does some major damage in the film (and I’ll leave it at that). Next, I’ll talk about the two new additions to the MCU- Black Panther and Spiderman, Tom Holland is the best Spiderman yet, he’s funny in a way that isn’t annoying and the parts of the movie that he’s in are really brightened by his presence. The younger aunt May makes for a funny scene and actually makes sense within the context of the movie as it distinguishes her from other Aunt Mays. Black Panther is badass and Wakanda isn’t some sort of strange caricature of an African nation, the few Wakandans we get to see actually reflect the modern take on them in the comic books. Finally, the ‘villain’ was pretty great though it was difficult to tell whether he’s meant to be the character from the comics or if his name was just a reference to the comics.
Now onto the three characters that the film focuses on, Iron Man, Bucky/Winter Soldier and Captain America, the way that these people act seems organic and their arguments and fighting feels justified. You get to see behind the veil of Tony Stark’s playboy persona and see who he truly is inside, his trauma from the death of his parents is fleshed out in a way that it really isn’t in the Iron Man movies. There’s a brilliant scene where Tony is wrestling with his conscience and it gives a great insight into why this is all happening. Captain America is just typical (but still amazing) Cap, the uncompromising ‘protector of freedom’. With Bucky, you get to see the exact effect that his conditioning has had and still has on him to this day. These characters all work so well and as the film gets more tragic they adapt more and more to the situations they’re in and become much darker characters which is reflected in the fights getting continuously grittier.
Now (in very loose terms) I’m going to talk about the story, the movie manages to make the trigger for the film make sense and then uses the unseen mass deaths in the previous movies to their advantage in this one. It basically does what BvS tried to do but several times better. It’s written in a way that means that you actually feel sad for the people who’ve died and the people who remain. When the characters do fight it feels organic as it’s a slow descent into the fights being more and more meaningful until it climaxes in the last fight of the movie and you get a sinking feeling inside as you know that they’re going to fight but you’re scared as to what the effects will be. As a side note, all the fight scenes in the movie are absolutely incredible so I applaud the choreographers for that, especially with the airport scene being the most visually stunning scene of the movie (but not my favourite). Throughout the movie, you could justify the actions of everyone in the movie which is something that I think is incredibly difficult in a movie like this. Finally, my favourite part of the movie is that there was no big bad, there was some degree of a villain (and he kind of gets his way) but there was no Doomsday-esque villain to bring them together, it just boils down to a group of bereaved and manipulated people fighting for what they think is right. When the film ends there are actually lasting consequences for the MCU and some characters undergo some interesting changes.As much as I gush over this movie it’s by no means perfect, some elements of the movie felt rushed and there were some plot holes.
Verdict: an incredible film that actually stayed closer to the source material than I originally thought that it would and raises genuine moral questions as well as managing to be heartwrenching whilst maintaining that typical Marvel wit.
(Also, stay for both end credit scenes-they’re awesome)