After seeing Zack Snyder’s disappointing Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, there is no question that Marvel is the big boy on the block when it comes to superhero films. No where is that more obvious with the Russo Brothers’ Captain America: Civil War, a thrilling and sensational film that has as much action as anyone can stand but a compelling story to compliment the action. You will be invested in the story and even though these are almost all the characters we already know, they are still interesting and have depth. The new characters are so well handled that Marvel could keep making superhero films until the cows come home and still keep these characters and films worth going out of your way to see.
I won’t divulge much of the plot, suffice to say that the Avengers find themselves at odds with each other and the rest of the world. Their adventures have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians (I would blame the villains, first) and now the world wants to hold the Avengers accountable with the Sokovia (the battleground in Avengers: Age of Ultron) Accords. Basically, this agreement set forth by the United Nations, in a nutshell, says to the heroes, “Don’t call us. We will call you.” Half of the team agrees to sign it, led by Iron Man and the others, led by Captain America, do not. When one of the team is alleged to be responsible for a terrorist bombing, it results in the ‘Civil War’ of Captain America.
The acting in this film is tremendous. Each character labors on whether or not sign the agreement and the Russo Brothers (Anthony and Joe) have total grasp of each hero and what makes them tick. Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely’s script is thoughtful enough not to load the film up with a lot of exposition and unnecessary elements that bog the film down with excessive detail. Instead, you spend most of your time thinking about where your loyalties would be or who is right and who is wrong. They make an interesting argument for and against each of the heroes and their decisions. At the heart of this film’s plot is Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who seems to still be the choice of anyone wanting to use him to do harm in the world. As a character, Barnes is the least interesting of all the characters, but he is developed well enough that I cared what happened to him.
The film hops and skips around all over the world for the first half and where I found it tedious in Batman Vs. Superman (which also trotted around the globe), for “Civil War” it works. The cast is terrific and the introduction to Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman, who never disappoints) is thrilling. You even get a dose of Tom Holland who plays the new Spiderman (also a lot of fun). There is a main villain named Zemo (the wonderful Daniel Bruhl) but his plans are intricately woven throughout. His plans are never fully reveled until the last act of the film and it is masterfully constructed both as a plot and as a film. Bruhl (who will forever be Niki Lauda from Ron Howard’s awesome film Rush from 2013) never seems over the top and his motivation for revenge is logical but horribly misplaced. This is another reason this film works, as it gets you to commit to the story, everything that happens has dire consequences.
The visual effects are incredible as are the action sequences both of which are aplenty and Henry Jackman returns with another solid action score. Captain America: Civil War is a towering achievement. “Civil War” is a long film and at a runtime of almost a 150 minutes, it never sets one foot wrong and what worked for me was the dialogue. The action is part of its appeal, but it is the quieter moments that sell this film, for me and Captain America: Civil War does both with equal enjoyment. This is a fun, stylish and thoroughly exciting film and one of the best films of 2016. Zack Snyder needs to watch this film before he directs any other superhero films. THIS is how it is done.
Captain America: Civil War- ***** out of 5
Captain America: Civil War- Rated PG-13 for violence, some language
Captain America: Civil War- Run Time is 147 Minutes
Captain America: Civil War is currently playing in theaters in standard 2D and this is how I saw it. It was perfectly viewable in 2D, but if you are wanting to spend the money, it is also out in IMAX and IMAX 3D. Check your local listings for times and locations.