Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boweman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Marisa Tomei, Tom Holland, Frank Gillo, Martin Freeman, William Hurt, Daniel Bruhl, Hope David, John Slattery, Alfre Woodard.
THE PLOT: With the political pressure tearing the Avengers in two, in the blue corner, Captain America (Evans) who believes that they should be left to fight the good fight without any government interference, whilst in the red corner, Iron Man (Downey) reckons having someone holding the driving wheel for them is necessary. It doesn’t help that, on their latest world-saving mission in Lagos, chasing down some blood-thirsty mercenaries, Scarlet Witch (Olsen) inadvertently sets a high-rise building on fire, killing many innocent civilians. Such collateral damage hasn’t gone unnoticed, and these superheroes will have to start being a little less unhinged and a little more U.N. But which of the two American superheroes will win this internal, eternal American battle?
THE VERDICT: Man, talk about ticking all the boxes.
We don’t normally go for listing so many cast members, but, take a look at that line-up. There’s something for everyone there, and just about every single one of them is worthy of your love attention. Sure, Downey is slowly becoming the new Depp – who’s slowly become the new Cage, who has now become the new Chuck Norris – but, there are just so many good, reliable, solid, huggable actors here.
And what it shows is not so much the budget but the big hairy balls of the Marvel franchise, that smart mix blueprinted by the sometimes-great Jerry Bruckheimer taken to its logical, methodical, almost pathological conclusion. Satisfy every four quadrants of the cinema-going audience, with top-of-the-range action, eye-popping spectacles, a few Shakespearean twists and turns, delivered by sexy, sexy people from the multiplexes and the arthouses, and then just make sure to cram your genre pic with self-deprecating gags. That last part is the crucial ingredient when it comes to any truly loved blockbuster – making the audience laugh, and making them feel like they’re in on the joke. That they’re behind the curtain with the wizard. That your Halloween-costume-worthy lead protagonists are on their way to a kill and they’re just shooting the s**t about Royales with cheese. That this is their team.
It all works here. Beautifully. And lest you think, just because ‘Captain America: Civil War’ bounces along – despite the introduction of major new characters to an already Showaddywaddy-sized ensemble cast – hey, all this crash, bang, box-office wallop is easy, then think about those original ‘X-Men’ movies, and how they buckled under the all-star weight. Think of the woeful ‘Fantastic Four’ outings, twice stepping up to the plate, and twice stinking to high heaven. Most importantly, think about what a piece of s**t ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice’ is. That’s when you realise just how good these Marvel movies are…
Review by Paul Byrne

Captain America: Civil War
Review by Paul Byrne
  • filmbuff2011

    The repercussions of past actions come back to haunt The Avengers in Captain America: Civil War, which officially kicks off the summer silly season at the movies. However, there’s little that’s silly about this barnstorming epic which sees Marvel soar to even greater heights with their band of misfit superheroes.

    On a mission in Lagos, Captain America (Chris Evans), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) deal with their target but cause the deaths of innocent people. This collateral damage is becoming unacceptable to the nations of the Earth and their Governments. Having previously destroyed Sokovia, it’s time to put The Avengers in check and have them take accountability for their actions, as demonstrated by Secretary of State Ross (William Hurt). The Sokovia Accord is designed to control the actions of The Avengers and put them more under the control of legislation rather than their wills to do good and fight the bad guys. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is in agreement with this, as is Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and The Vision (Paul Bettany). Captain America is more cautious though, himself knowing only too well the power of propaganda. His old friend and former HYDRA agent Bucky AKA The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is the catalyst for a rift in The Avengers, as Bucky is implicated in an attempt to end the Sokovia Accord via mysterious stranger Zemo (Daniel Bruhl). Captain America firmly believes that Bucky isn’t responsible, causing much butting of heads with the bullish Iron Man. There’s a major bust-up brewing…

    There’s a strong case to be made that the Captain America films are the best that Marvel has produced in its new MCU. That is partly down to the essential goodness of the character of Steve Rogers, who can be conflicted about his feelings but is firm in his mind about doing what he believes is the right thing – at all times. Captain America was always going to be the hardest Avenger to pull off, given his historical background, but Evans successfully found the right balance. Another key element is returning directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who really upped the stakes on previous film The Winter Soldier and have delivered an even better film with Civil War. It’s no wonder that Marvel have entrusted them with the two upcoming Avengers: Infinity War films, taking over from an exhausted Joss Whedon. These guys know their Marvel superheroes and when to hit those character beats, even when they have so many characters to play with in the sandpit (or should that be snakepit?).

    Civil War draws in some returning characters like Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and War Machine (Don Cheadle), introduces new characters like the intriguing Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman)… and then re-introduces us to the all-new, ideally younger Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Given that previous screen incarnations of Spider-Man were from actors pushing 30, teenager Holland is delightful with just the right amount of innocence and charm. This bodes well for the second Spider-Man reboot, due next year. It’s a packed film over a long-ish running time of 147 minutes, yet there’s no flab and the film flies by like War Machine. Every scene serves a purpose and the Russos stage some brilliant set pieces, like the airport confrontation where there’s a big dust-up. The main focus in the story is essentially on Captain America and his differences with Iron Man. There’s been some bristling tension between them before, but here it comes out in spades. The conflict between them feels real from a narrative perspective though, rather than manufactured.

    Captain America: Civil War pretty much delivers on every level – rousing, action-packed, funny, focused and leaves much to discuss as the credits roll. There will be repercussions here, which will rock The Avengers to their core and leave them questioning why they do what they do. As is customary, there are two end credits teasers which are worth staying for. Captain America: Civil War is undoubtedly a knockout. ****