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Dan's Review: "Captain America: Civil War" is everything you want in an "Avengers" movie

May 04, 2016 11:37AM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in Captain America: Civil War - © 2016 - Marvel Studios

Captain America: Civil War (Marvel/Disney)

Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence, action and mayhem.

Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl,  John Slattery, Kerry Condon, Martin Freeman,  Alfre Woodard, Marisa Tomei, John Kani, Hope Davis, Jim Rash.

Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on comics by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo.

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

Disclaimer: Ever since Iron Man burst onto the screen in 2008, I have been “all in” the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sure, there have been a few bumps along the way and some Marvel films have not performed or have been as critically acclaimed as others, but I’m still fully invested in the series. With such bias, I proceed to share my thoughts on Captain America: Civil War, the 13th film in the MCU (and the first film in the Phase 3 of the franchise).

It should be noted that CACW is the second sequel in the Captain America film series, following 2014’s Winter Soldier. The story picks up after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron as the world leaders to deal with destruction and collateral damage associated with battles involving Avengers. Their solution is global regulation called the “Sokovia Initiative,” something that does not sit well with some of the Avengers team, members of which align with either Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) or Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.). While the team and world leaders debate the initiative, a sinister plot perpetuated by a man named Zemo (Daniel Brühl) unfolds, which includes framing Captain America’s pal Bucky/Winter Soldier (Sebatian Stan) for a terrorist attack in the African nation of Wakanda. When a member of the Wakanda royal family is killed in the attack, Prince T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) vows to kill Bucky. Captain America is torn between his devotion to the Avengers and his friend, but opts to try and save Bucky before world authorities can lock him up (or kill him). Cap’s decision puts him at odds with Stark, whose coalition includes Col. Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany), and a reluctant Natasha Romanov/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). Black Panther aligns with Stark, since they share a common goal of getting to Bucky. Stark also recruits a teenage fellow named Peter Parker (Tom Holland) who is developing his super powers into becoming Spider-Man.

Meanwhile, Cap is doing some team building of his own, including Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elzabeth Olsen) and retired Avenger Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). He also recruits Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) to even things out.

Both sides meet for a “battle royale” at a German airport, not realizing they’ve been manipulated by Zemo, who has plans to destroy the Avengers from within. Eventually, Cap and Stark are forced to duke it out in a blood match.

Will they reconcile before killing each other?

Captain America: Civil War should perhaps be titled Avengers 3 with all the major characters in play, but let’s focus on the film’s merits for now. CACW is the kind of ensemble movie that Age of Ultron should have been. It’s less confusing that Ultron, even while introducing new main characters like Spider-Man and Black Panther into the franchise. Ultron tried to accomplish the same thing, but got a little too bogged down in Avengers lore, while ignoring the necessity of making those new characters appealing. I’m very pleased with the casting of Holland as Spider-Man, and making Stark his mentor creates all kinds of story possibilities. Black Panther is equally well received, without requiring a major back-story.

Many times, action film creators make the fatal mistake of relying on grand, special effects over well-developed characters and stories. CACW does the opposite, making it a great MCU addition, and an excellent movie that can be enjoyed by all. As Phase 3 unfolds over the next three years, the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have a well-written compelling initiative to anchor it.


Captain America: Civil War Trailer

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