Captain America: Civil War is unlike any other Marvel movie that I have yet seen. It was intensely personal, deeply-thought provoking, and causes you to engage more emotions than any of the previous movies. While it is a roller coaster, it is chock-full of great talking points and discussion starters for your family. For those parents who want a thorough opinion on whether or not this movie is appropriate for their children, I have put together a quick review from the perspective of a pretty cautious movie-watcher. (Warning, some slight spoilers ahead. I have tried mainly to use vague generalities, but in a few cases I have to be more detailed in order to give full information.)
Sex/Nudity – This section is barely applicable. There is one kiss in this movie that never moves beyond sweet. Scarlet Witch’s costume during a fight scene is low, exposing quite a bit of cleavage. There aren’t many moments when you get a full-on view of her, and the ones that do happen are brief.
Violence/Gore- This movie feels a bit more violent than the previous Cap movies because of the extremely personal nature of the battles. It is friend against friend. One battle is less heart-breaking and more comedic, while the second battle between friends is pretty gut-wrenching. I did not feel that they were unnecessary with the gore or violence in this movie. There are a few moments I would classify as,”gory”. One is short scene where we see man’s disfigured face. There is a scene where a man is bound and suspended upside down above a sink that is slowly filling with water. You see the water cover up his nose before the camera pans away. Another scene where the limp hand of a dead man is shown with blood trailing (a frontal view is shown of the body later on a smaller screen). Be prepared for a lot of smashing, crashing, banging, and bruising. There are a few scenes with some screaming in terror and pain. Also, there is one very highly-upsetting murder shown on a screen where someone has their face bashed twice, killing them. You are shown the entire scene for the emotionally devastating effect of it. It is an emotionally charged moment that might be too much for younger viewers. This scene leads to the final fight between friends that is also deeply upsetting, but it doesn’t end poorly.
Language/Profanity- This movie was lighter in many ways in terms of language. According to imdb there are 5 uses of s***, 2 g**d***, 2 s**of a b****, and 1 a**. I do recall more than one a** than mentioned above. There were also many uses of oh my g** and h*** during intense moments.
Heroes and Role Models- Captain America/Steve Rogers has been an admirable role model from the very beginning. His high moral standards, determination to do the right thing, and stubborn fight for freedom make him a hero for the ages. In this film you get to see another dimension of Steve in that he is faced with many difficult choices that bring him into conflict with some of his best friends. Watching Steve navigate these complex issues is amazing as you see him continue to stand firm in his beliefs, while refusing to give into hate or vengeance.
Tony Stark is a more difficult character to watch in this film, as he too is fighting hard for something that he believes in. However, Tony’s foolish actions in both this movie and his previous appearances in Marvel films have caused a lot of heartache and difficulty. Still, he had the desire to be a hero and do the right thing, making him a heart-wrenching and difficult character in this film. Unlike Steve, he approaches much in this movie with unsteady emotions, and sometimes, a hateful vengeance, either for himself or for others.
Talking Points- There are a lot of great discussion starters in this movie. It is complex plot that shows many angles to one question. Beloved allies become foes, and you see all kinds of reactions based out of many human insecurities. This movie may be a bit difficult to mentally wade through for younger viewers, but it could also be a great launching pad for some enriching discussion and conversations with their parents.
- How do you hold yourself accountable? Are you principled enough to hold yourself to a high standard?
- How do you feel about others holding you accountable to a specific set of standards or beliefs?
- Can we trust other people to do our thinking for us? Why or why not?
- Is it a good idea to keep secrets from people we care about?
- How do we deal with grief?
- How do we deal with guilt? Do we let the fear of it drive our future actions?
- What happens when you let a thirst for vengeance drive you? Why could that be a bad thing?
- What should drive our actions?
- Can we learn to forgive ourselves while still taking responsibility for our mistakes?
- What will you do when you are alone in what you believe? How do you stay true to what you know to be right in the face of a majority?
- Can you have the humility to admit when you have been wrong?
- How do you treat others who don’t agree with you?
This is a wonderful movie that Marvel should be very proud of. It is a brilliant story, a wonderful set of characters, and introduces many questions that we can all relate to. I highly recommend it to adults, teens, and families who are comfortable with this content. I hope this review can help you determine whether or not it is appropriate for your family.