CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
Genre: Comic Book Action
Running Time: 146 mins.
Premise: In the wake of the latest round of casualties during an Avengers mission, the team are confronted with the UN-sanctioned “Sokovia Accords” which places restrictions on where and when they can go to save people. Iron Man wants to sign it. Captain America resists. When Cap’s old pal, Bucky (a/k/a The Winter Soldier), reappears in connection with a bombing, it ignites a civil war among the Avengers.
Behind-the-Scenes: Writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have scripted all three Captain America films. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo previously helmed Winter Soldier. After the relative failure of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony had no choice but to partner with Marvel on the character, which allowed Spidey to come home to the Marvel Studios stable and appear here.
The Good: This is Marvel’s crowning achievement. It builds on the character relationships and dramatic arcs of the other 12 Marvel films that have come before it, and succeeds because of that continuity, rather than in spite of it. The script is strong, and gives every character (and there are a ton of them) a moment to shine. The rift between Cap (Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) plays out in a believable fashion, with each side having a valid point of view. I ultimately sided with Team Cap, but maybe that’s why this is a Captain America movie in name. The action sequences are frequent and spectacular. There is an airport battle between all the superheroes late in the film that may just be the greatest superhero fight on screen ever. It’s fun, kinetic, a pure joy to behold, and it left me grinning ear to ear (especially Ant-Man). The introductions of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) are expertly handled – they make a hell of an impression and we immediately want to see more of them. The main villain (Daniel Bruhl) is rather low-key, and has a compelling reason to tear apart the Avengers, so instead of relying on the power-hungry theatricality of a third-party, the filmmakers allow our core heroes to be their own worst enemies.
The Bad: The pacing of the movie sometimes lags in the first half as the script tries to cram in exposition and juggle all the characters. Elizabeth Olsen’s Russian accent (as Scarlet Witch) is spotty.
Should You See It?: Well, I’ve already seen it 3 times now, so the answer is YES. If Marvel keeps making movies as good as Captain America Civil War, superhero fatigue will never set in!
Star Rating: ***** out of 5 stars.
Better Than: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Worse Than: The Dark Knight
On Par With: Captain America: Winter Soldier
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