It’s superhero vs, superhero in the latest Marvel concoction, Captain America: Civil War — an apt title, though “Avengers” should be in there somewhere. The film from directors Anthony and Joe Russo is another comic book all-star gathering, even including none other than Spider-Man, who is borrowed from Sony’s top franchise for this fun effort. Although, as I say in my video review (click the link above to watch), I don’t think Civil War quite soars to the heights of the directing brothers’ 2014 entry, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it certainly comes close. And this time it raises moral and ethical questions around the Avengers missions, somewhat like Batman V Superman did, after an early battle against some deadly mercenaries creates a good deal of collateral damage when the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) inadvertently sets a high rise on fire with her powers and many civilians die.
This causes big problems for our superheroes, who then are put under the purview of the United Nations — and should they refuse, they won’t be sanctioned. Suddenly they are forced to take sides, with Steve Rogers aka Captain America (Chris Evans) refusing to comply while Tony Stark aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) has his own reasons for going along with the new rules, joined by the likes of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Vision (Paul Bettany). Falcon (Anthony Mackie), however, sides with Cap. Meanwhile, there is a new evil villain to deal with in the guise of Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), but the rift between these so-called allies just makes everything a little more complicated. There is even a correlation I spotted between our current political landscape and the division of the Avengers in terms of the red or blue colors they sport.
Certainly there is tons of action, as usual, but also a lot of talk in the nearly 2 1/2-hour running time. But when the movie gets to the Leipzig Airport, it really takes off and flies. That is where these guys do their thing — that thing fans pay to see. And joining them in the spirited battle is Spider-Man, who really seems to be having a good time on this assignment. New Spidey Tom Holland makes his Marvel debut here before getting his own stand-alone movie from Sony next year. Also new to the gang is T’Challa aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who gets his own flick rolled out in 2018. He is a young man from royalty who is dealing with his own issues in this outing, and it makes for a very promising debut for this character. Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye is underused in this one, and Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man, fresh off his own chapter last summer, is back for some comic relief, if not much else.
It is fun to see Cap and Iron Man face off, and Evans in particular really seems to come into his own with the Captain America character. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley, who collaborated on the first two Captain America screenplays are back for a third go-round and generally nail it, but it is the Russo brothers who really seem to understand how to deliver the right balance of action and story that fans expect in a movie that is already an international smash. Disney opens it in the U.S. on Friday. The producer, as usual, is Kevin Feige.
Do you plan to see Captain America: Civil War? Of course you do. Let us know what you think.