Is Captain America: Civil War any good? You bet it is!
Is it a perfect film? Nope.
Is there lots of fighting? Oh yes. And then some.
How’s Spider Man? Well . . . He needs some practice.
Does the film leave the door open for future movies? I think you know the answer to that one.
So who wins the Civil War? Uh . . . I’m not going to tell you that. Why are you asking me?
Feel better? No? Okay, then let’s review the film (with minor spoilers, if that).
If you’ve been under a rock for the last few years, Marvel Studios has been building a comic book-based empire on the strength of The Avengers, Iron Man, and Captain America. Captain America: Civil War adds to and builds on the previous movies, offering moviegoers a rollicking, fast-paced thrill ride that may take more than one viewing to adequately enjoy.
The story begins with the Avengers attempting to ward off a potential crisis in Nigeria. However, something goes awry and innocent lives are lost. This seems to be a theme of past films (New York and Sokovia, for example), so the governments of the world have decided it’s time for those with superpowers to have limits. Thus, the Sokovia Accords are drafted, giving the Avengers a choice: submit to governmental control or retire.
If you’re a fan of the comics, you know there will be disagreements as to what should be done. Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) feels that limits will only breed more limits and make their jobs more difficult. Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) says that without limitations, they’re “no better than the bad guys.” Both are stubborn and won’t budge on their positions, gathering various Avengers to their separate points of view. Your favorite characters are all here: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johnasson), Vision (Paul Bettany), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Ant-Man (Paul Ruud), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and War Machine (Don Cheadle). The addition of Black Panther/T’Challa (Chad Boseman) makes the situation more difficult (but man, is he an incredible character to watch on screen).
Meanwhile, the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is dealing with a lot of things that spin the other part of the plot in motion. Captain America has a tie to him and this comes into play as the film advances to an inevitable clash held at the airport in Berlin. There’s lots of fighting, lots of gadgetry, and a few surprises along the way. But as Vision notes, “Conflict breeds catastrophe.” The question is whether the Avengers, Captain America, and Iron Man will figure this out before it’s too late.
Oh yeah, and there’s Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland). He has a role in the fight in Berlin, but seems more in awe of the others than anything. He’s also learning about his superpowers—with mixed results. One part of the film that irked me involved Aunt May (Marisa Tomei)—don’t go in expecting her to be old like in the comics. In fact, guys might even be smitten by her.
In the end, the themes of vengeance, love, family, and loyalty come into play, though I’ll leave it to you to figure out how and in what manner it happens. Suffice it to say that the words of Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 mean something in Civil War.
The film is nearly 2 ½ hours long, but it doesn’t feel that way due to the hyperkinetic pacing by directors Anthony and Joe Russo. Fight sequences are everywhere, surprises abound, and details are peppered throughout that help drive the plot forward. I do wish the villain (played by Martin Freeman) had been fleshed out a little bit more, but that’s nitpicking when events are unfolding so rapidly. The music isn’t overpowering but adds little to the whole scheme of affairs. You’re there for the action, so that’s what you’re going to get.
And you’re going to like it.
(PS – Stay for the credits, as there are not one but two additional scenes that will leave you talking on the way out of the theater.)