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Captain America: Civil War – Friends won’t be friends

MOVIE REVIEW – Captain America: Civil War is a gigantic superhero entertainment that still finds a place for a little emotional resonance below the sterling spectacle. The superhero movie confidently manipulates several Marvel well-known superheroes while introducing a few more and even making room for an old favourite. The Russo brothers present us a well-paced, absolutely satisfying action-thriller, packed with action.

Uncertain feelings create expectations for where this excellent series of movies may go next, which is exactly how the brains behind Marvel prefers it.

Still, Civil War is an exciting, often frivolous pop pleasure.

Darker

Captain America: Civil War is a lot darker in tone than previous Marvel films. Sharp character-driven stories and adroit actors help to reach the plot having a real significance — even, if we are perfectly aware, that this showdown between Captain America and Iron Man won’t be the final word in a franchise that’s already planning several more sequels.

The very ambitious film studio behind Civil War wants this fourth Marvel film (after The Avengers, Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Iron Man 3) to gross more than $1 billion worldwide. Featuring Captain America, Iron Man, and many other Avengers — with a very big “cameo” from Spider-Man — this follow-up to 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which netted $714 million globally) seems self-confident enough to start the summer movie season in extraordinary fashion.

Still, Civil War is an exciting, often frivolous pop pleasure.

Collateral damage

Superheroes aren’t always real winners. It was a major theme for the DC movie, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and the beginning of Captain America deals in the same territory. After the accidental death of some innocent bystanders during a battle in Lagos, Nigeria, Captain America (Chris Evans) draws the anger of the world’s governments, who want the Avengers to sign an accord that places them under the jurisdiction of the United Nations. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) – better known as Iron Man – is convinced that it’s the right idea, resolute that their powers need to be controlled. But Captain America sees it the other way, afraid of what will happen if the UN blocks the Avengers from pursuing their mission to protect the Earth from evil.

The tension between these two heroes increases when Captain’s old friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), a.k.a. The Winter Soldier is believed to have been behind a fatal bombing of a UN security meeting. Barnes pledges innocence, in spite of a video evidence to prove the contrary, and Captain America runs to his defence, which puts him in the crosshairs of Iron Man, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and other Avengers who judge that their colleague has gone rogue.

MOVIE NEWS - The new Spider-Man finally arrives in the latest trailer for “Captain America: Civil War.” Iron Man calls on Spidey (or “Underoos,” as he refers to him), who’s evidently on his team, to use his web powers to steal Captain America’s shield and bind his arms.

Mystery

Same as The Winter Soldier, Civil War was directed by the Russo Brothers and written by Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus. Both two films share an emphasis on witty, yet spare narratives with a mystery-thriller element added. In Civil War, the fundamental question is whether the Winter Soldier was indeed behind the bombing — and if not him, then who was the culprit? The other question is what does a mysterious lone operative named Zemo, (Daniel Brühl) played with unnerving calm, want with Barnes?

Sure, to call this film’s story “spare” might seem strange seeing as how many characters figure into the plot. But as opposed to the Avengers movies, in which every major superhero need their own – sufficient – screen time to satisfy their specific fan bases, Civil War is in the long run the story of Captain America and Iron Man’s ideological divide, which throws them into conflict, and so all the supporting players line up behind these two combatants. This approach works to the film’s advantage: Anthony Mackie’s Falcon, Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, Paul Bettany’s Vision and other heroes get some excellent lines and beautiful moments in the big battle scenes, but that’s evident, that they’re merely complementing the principal protagonists’ struggle.

Still, Civil War is an exciting, often frivolous pop pleasure.

Fan service

Yet, as is often the case with Marvel movies, Civil War can’t help but feel weighed down by the larger franchise obligations, the filmmakers having to spend time explaining away absences — in this case, the Hulk and Thor — and making room for new characters who will expand what’s commonly known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

For this very purpose, we meet Tom Holland as Peter Parker, your “friendly neighborhood” teen who fights crime as Spider-Man — which will start a reboot of that favorite character — while Chadwick Boseman gets on board as the acrobatic Black Panther. The movie makers do an impressive job managing Marvel’s brand maintenance quickly and efficiently, still, there remains a mild frustration that, to fully understand Civil War’s outcome, the viewer needs to be familiar with about eight previous films to understand different characters’ complicated history.

Still, Civil War is an exciting, often frivolous pop pleasure. As much as the story is strong, undoubtedly, Captain America and Iron Man’s duelling viewpoints are rather an excuse for spectacular fight sequences than an insightful political commentary about the pros and cons of individual intervention.

Even when they are at their best, the Marvel films have never had the deepness of the director Christopher Nolan’s noir-tinged Dark Knight trilogy, but Civil War still compensates by drawing on our years-long connection to these likeable, nuanced superheroes. Since the Avengers are played by excellent, committed, empathetic actors who have built up a rapport with each other over the course of numerous movies, we feel their sense of betrayal and apprehension once they start taking sides and declaring war on each other.

Still, Civil War is an exciting, often frivolous pop pleasure.

Everybody fights

When the forces of Captain America and Iron Man finally do square off, the results are closer to fanboy euphory than sombre tragedy, as the Russos take pleasure in the sight of everybody from Spider-Man to Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) to Iron Man combat each other. However, dark surprises are lurking in Civil War, and Evans and Downey’s ability to squeeze pathos from their feud has just enough resonance that we can understand why these two men have turned against one another in the name of their belief. For Captain America, it’s his allegiance to his childhood friend Barnes, who had the unfortunate fate to be brainwashed long ago to become a killing machine, while for Stark, it’s a growing belief that he’s done more harm than good with his high-tech weapons and obscene wealth.

That very conflict ends on one of the most poignant moments in any Marvel, or another superhero movie, and while Civil War maintains the playful tone of the film, as it ends we still recognise that relationships among the Avengers have been profoundly strained. Those unresolved feelings create expectations for where this very enjoyable series of movies may go next.

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MOVIE REVIEW - Captain America: Civil War is a gigantic superhero entertainment that still finds a place for a little emotional resonance below the sterling spectacle. The superhero movie confidently manipulates several Marvel well-known superheroes while introducing a few more and even making room for an old favourite. The Russo brothers present us a well-paced, absolutely satisfying action-thriller, packed with action. Uncertain feelings create expectations for where this excellent series of movies may go next, which is exactly how the brains behind Marvel prefers it. Darker Captain America: Civil War is a lot darker in tone than previous Marvel films.…
That very conflict ends on one of the most poignant moments in any Marvel, or another superhero movie, and while Civil War maintains the playful tone of the film, as it ends we still recognise that relationships among the Avengers have been profoundly strained. Those unresolved feelings create expectations for where this very enjoyable series of movies may go next.

Captain America: Civil War

Director - 9.1
Actors - 9.2
Story - 8.4
Visuals/action - 9.4
Ambiance - 9.1

9

EXCELLENT

That very conflict ends on one of the most poignant moments in any Marvel, or another superhero movie, and while Civil War maintains the playful tone of the film, as it ends we still recognise that relationships among the Avengers have been profoundly strained. Those unresolved feelings create expectations for where this very enjoyable series of movies may go next.

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