Political interference in the Avengers’ activities causes a rift between former allies Captain America and Iron Man.
Director: Anthony & Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Bruhl, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Chadwick Boseman
Rated: PG-13 (extended sequences of violence, action and mayhem)
Captain America: Civil War
By Matt Greene
While watching Civil War, I couldn’t help but think of DC / Warner Bros.’s desperate failures to catch up with Marvel’s unstoppable success, specifically the recent disaster Batman v. Superman. Both films are about allies finding themselves on opposing sides, only Marvel actually succeeds on every level DC fails. Where BvS botched everything from the basic setup (why are these guys so angry with each other?) to nearly everything else that followed, Civil War soars with nuanced clarity: allegiances will fall / form, friendships will break / build, and summer entertainment will be had.
Civil War finds tentpole-heroes Captain America and Iron Man at odds, each coming to grips with their power and position on the global scale on starkly different sides. Neither side is clearly right-or-wrong. Instead, we are presented with a familiar world, in which “good-and-evil” are not black-and-white, but largely grey. Even the de facto villain, one of the better in the MCU, finds sympathy through his heartbreaking and understandable motivations.
These disparate sides are each so nuanced and logical, I found my loyalty swinging back-and-forth like Peter Parker at an air show. Speaking of which, Holland’s turn as the webbed-crusader is easily the greatest in cinema: young, witty, wiry, and wide-eyed. Our first view of him is a standout, even while placed within the larger context of the marquee “airport battle”, maybe the greatest superhero melee ever.
The Russos, who have taken Whedon’s place as go-to directors for Marvel, have such a strong control of humor, story, character, and action, they’ve even managed to better their fantastic Winter Soldier here. With them at the helm, any assemblage of Avengers is one to anticipate.
4 out of 5 Stars
Captain America: Civil War
By Cole Schneider
Marvel’s expanding multiverse is out of hand. “Captain America: Civil War”, which should have been called, “Avengers 3: Some Infighting, But Not Really”, brings together about 137 superheroes and drops them into a continent jumping narrative. Where cohesion exists, it exists only to the extent that it renders the story’s compulsions to be true. It’s similar to “Batman v Superman” in that and other ways—though to be fair, “CW” offers more humor and less pretension and bloating, which isn’t to say “CW” succeeds (especially compared to “The Avengers”, another similar story), but only that it’s more successful than “BvS”.
“CW” follows several story strands, the centerpiece being a “BvS”-esque difference of opinion between Iron Man and Captain America. The setup is illogical, but more importantly it’s pandering in its attempt to make us believe the characters’ positions (I never believed Iron Man and I believed Captain America without their incessant begging) and most importantly it’s completely boring. The first hour-and-a-half—pre-Spider-Man—is a ponderous mess with neither enjoyment nor momentum.
We’re also following other, uninspired storylines that exist as plot devices: Zemo’s villainy (why would a civil war that’s far too long add a villain?), Bucky’s chaos-inducing brainwashed psyche (why would a civil war that is stretched too thin not simply include him on Cap’s team—or, better yet, drop him?), Black Panther’s trailer-ego satisfaction (why would a ‘civil war’ with far too many costumed characters add another?)
Yet the fundamental problem with “CW” isn’t these or the unintelligible action sequences or the generally bland acting. No, it’s the total lack of resolve, for which supporting evidence requires spoilers, but viewers deserve to know that nothing of consequence happens.
2 out of 5 stars