[Movie Review] ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Tears The Avengers Apart
Marvel’s highly anticipated Captain America: Civil War brings (almost) all of your favorite Avengers heroes together only to rip them apart as Cap argues with Iron Man over the fate of The Winter Soldier (remember him?), leading to loads of eye-popping action.
So what’s so bad that it could possibly force Earth’s mightiest heroes to choose sides against each other? Well, it turns out that it is the same public/political/religious debate over the accountability of good guys saving the planet albeit at the cost of thousands of innocent lives in the process. This is essentially the same debate that brought on a similar effect to the budding relationship of two other comic book titans earlier this year in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it’s a timely and grounded discussion that would most certainly be addressed if any of these fantastic events ever happened in reality.
Of course, on another more tangible level this is also a story about pals, as Steve Rogers and his best friend Bucky Barnes have a lot of history together – like literally over 70 years of history, that’s not easily forgotten or overlooked, even if your buddy has been brainwashed into becoming the most prolific government assassin of all time.
So it’s really no surprise where Captain America’s loyalties fall when Iron Man, feeling his own personal guilt over innocent lives lost after a grieving mother tells him he got her young son killed, wants to help the authorities take Bucky in for a crime that he may or may not have committed. Did the Winter Soldier really do it? And is there still good in him, despite the decades of brainwashing (and killing)? This is the real war Rogers faces.
Chris Evans wears his character like a worn-in comfortable-but-battle-ready superhero outfit in his fifth Marvel film as everybody’s favorite all American super soldier, stronger than ever in his beliefs that the world is a safer place with The Avengers protecting it.
Robert Downey Jr. plays Stark as a cocky billionaire just beginning to doubt himself and his ideals, maybe for the first time ever, and finds himself siding with the secretive government guys who want to regulate The Avengers and all others with special abilities like them.
Sebastian Stan’s Bucky Barnes has been an integral part of Steve Rogers’ story spanning all three Captain America movies, but he really takes center stage in igniting the titular Civil War between heroes.
The conflict leads Rogers and Stark to recruit many of your favorite Avengers to one side or the other, making much better use of Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch than her debut in the overstuffed Age of Ultron, and giving Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man room to be his hilarious self, all but stealing the movie with the best one liners of any character and a nifty new trick his Scott Lang has learned since the last time we saw him.
But it’s the new guys that make the biggest splash, as Civil War introduces Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, who wants revenge against Bucky/the Winter Soldier for personal reasons.
But nothing is more exciting than when a young kid from Queens named Peter Parker (played Tom Holland) is recruited by Stark to even out the odds, giving Spider-Man his much anticipated debut in the current Marvel Cinematic Universe, and he is everything we hoped he would be – smart, spry, energetic, and endlessly funny with his running commentary that no one this side of Deadpool can hope to match.
When the Avenges finally go at it at an abandoned airport, the epic battle is everything you can imagine, drawn right out of something you would see in the classic comic books this is all based on.
When some unexpected reveals make the debate infinitely more personal in the final act, Evans and Downey dig deep for the emotional stir audiences will feel in their gut, regardless of what side they are on, elevating this clash to near perfection within its genre.
In the end, Civil War is the ultimate example of what Marvel does best, which is bringing the iconic pages of their comic books to life on the big screen in all their colorful glory, and it leaves the all star team of heroes severely fractured, possibly forever, which can’t be good considering that there are most certainly more cosmic menaces from space on their way to attack Earth in a future film, but it is undeniably fun to watch.
Official Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
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Captain America: Civil War (rated PG13) is now playing at RC Theatres in Kill Devil Hills (through June 16).