When I wrote about the marketing for Captain America: Civil War, I thought (as did most others) that it was being sold not so much as the third Captain America flick as it was an Avengers movie that simply lacked that moniker.
The story follows Cap and the Avengers as a mission they’re on is successful but with unintended consequences and civilian casualties. That, on the heels of other tragedies (seen in previous movies), brings increased scrutiny from the United Nations, who want to govern the team’s actions. While Tony Stark is on-board with this plan, Cap is very much opposed and so goes on the run from the rest of the team and others. All that is happening at the same time as – and in part because of – the resurfacing of The Winter Soldier, Cap’s old sidekick Bucky. While there are actual villainous machinations at play it all results in a lot of super heroes punching each other instead of reasonably talking through their differences.
There’s a lot to pack into the story, part of why the movie is two-and-a-half hours. And while there are some moments that drag out a bit here and there, as a whole it clips along at a good pace for much of it, thanks largely to the lively direction of the Russo Brothers, returning from their gig directing The Winter Soldier and before taking the helm of the next actual Avengers movie. That’s no small task considering the amount of characters that needed to be fit in, from main ones like Cap and Iron Man to extended cameos from Hawkeye and Vision to the introduction of Spider-Man and Black Panther. It’s impressive.
And to a great extent the campaign sold all of that. Of course many of the plot twists and story points that happen in the third act weren’t spoiled, but for the most part what we saw in the trailers and the rest of the marketing is what was delivered on-screen. I had thought while watching the trailers that maybe Robert Downey Jr.’s role as Stark was going to be less than what was sold but that’s very much not the case. He’s in almost as much of the movie as Chris Evans, who plays the title character. Indeed for as wide-ranging a cast, everyone was presented in the campaign more or less proportionally accurately, with minor characters having minor roles in the marketing and major characters major roles. You could say that each one of them receiving their own poster was overdoing it a bit, but that’s a minor quibble about a minor part of the marketing.
For the most part, the campaign was accurate when measured against the finished movie. That kind of accuracy is important to the continuation of Marvel’s movie series since the minute it starts pulling the wool over the audience’s eyes, the rug gets pulled out from under this whole operation.