Another Awesome Hit for Marvel
Who knew comic book characters struggle with feelings of guilt, anger, patriotism, revenge, betrayal, and loyalty? All of these issues are explored as the “Avengers” take sides. Either you’re with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) or Captain America (Chris Evans). They duke it out in hand-to-hand combat. Civil War is an enjoyable, witty, fast-paced, overstuffed, overlong (2 hours 20 minutes) popcorn flick that ultimately delivers.
Unlike Batman vs. Superman, directors Anthony and Joe Russo give us a storyline we can follow—as well as the crème de la crème: humor. Yes, humor sets the film apart, just as in all of the Iron Man films, catapulting Spider-Man or Spider-Teen (played by Tom Holland), if you will, into stardom. Holland steals the film with his youth and his charm from the first moment we meet him in his bedroom in Queens, NY. Tony Stark (Iron Man) relentlessly persuades him to help his cause, and Spider-Teen’s brilliant line reads, “I seriously can’t go because I’ve got homework!” Some of Downey’s best scenes have been with kids and teens in the Iron Man films. His character is awkward around them, which typically results in him asserting his adult status. Here, he firmly tells Spider-Teen, “Fine, if you don’t come with me, I’ll tell your Aunt May (Marisa Tomei).”
We are taken all over the globe, starting in 1991 in Lagos, Nigeria, as the Avengers wreak havoc in the city while fighting the bad guys. Here’s where the heart of the story lies and asks the question, “What about all those innocent people who die in the destruction for the good of the cause?” That’s a smart question, as lives are destroyed during the “Superheroes” battles—ah, indeed, what about those destroyed lives? Quickly, the film shifts to present times. We meet the US Secretary of State (William Hurt) with a new head of salt and pepper hair and a new thick jet-black mustache. Which comically, I noticed in a later scene, a fan was purposely blowing his rather stiff glued down hairpiece to give the appearance that it’s the real deal. Nope, not buying it.
The Secretary of State lays down the gauntlet, handing the Avengers a United Nations agreement that outlines their new laws of engagement; which, by the way, is to be signed by all of the Avengers. What’s odd about this story line is that Captain America, the true (red, white, and blue) “patriot” of the group, goes against the US, abruptly leaving the meeting and going rogue. He and Iron Man take sides and the rest choose teams. Good luck during their battles trying to recall exactly who’s on which side. It can be a bit tricky.
The set pieces shot in a “hyper-speeded up” style with major shaky cam action can be annoying, but eventually, we settle in. At times, I found the film to be borderline dizzying, but not enough to take away from the film. The style enhances the action, causing a pumped-up adrenaline effect.
You’ll see new characters, such as Chadwick Boseman (James Brown, 2014), who’s introduced as an African president who’s also the Black Panther. Sebastian Stan aka Bucky is an old buddy of Captain America; brainwashed into being a killing-machine Winter Soldier, he can “go off” at any time. Whoa, look out for his deadly silver arm. The soft-spoken villain is Daniel Bruhl (Rush, 2013) who has “nothing to lose,” as his family was killed in one of the Avengers’ battles. He’s the catalyst for the all-out ending battle. As a talented actor, he simmers in the role and one never really knows when he will reach his boiling point.
In the end, Captain America: Civil War is an entertaining film while dealing with complex human emotions. Look for more great movies from Marvel, as this one opens up the playing field by presenting enormous potential with a diversified and pleasing cast of characters.
The Bottom-Line? Marvel sets the bar high for comic book films; a must is great story-telling, humor and diversity in characters.
Cast: Chris Evans (Captain America), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier—aka Bucky Barnes), Daniel Brühl (Baron Zemo), Don Cheadle (War Machine), Tom Holland (Spider Man), Paul Bettany (Vision), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Paul Rudd (Ant-Man) and William Hurt (Secretary of State Ross).
Credits: Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on the Marvel comic book series.
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Marvel Comics
Run Time: 2 hours 26 minutes
Sarah Knight Adamson ©May 7, 2016