Captain America: Civil War

Movie Information

The Story: Captain America becomes an outlaw after Ironman sidles up to the U.N. to force superheroes to become registered government agents. The Lowdown: A generally entertaining and faithful comic book adaptation that suffers from some spotty direction and too much superhero padding.
Genre: Comic Book Action
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie
Rated: PG-13



We’re now eight years into the “Marvel Cinematic Universe,” a grand experiment in cinematic series-building that, for me, has been an uneven, and maybe exhausting, ride. I’ve enjoyed some of Marvel’s output: Ant-Man (2015), Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012); hated others: Captain America (2011), Thor: The Dark World (2013), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015); and forgotten the rest. On a personal level, I seem to have pushed past my superhero movie fatigue and simply fallen into resignation.




With all that said, Marvel’s latest, Captain America: Civil War, is the most comic book-y of them all, even above Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. It feels like an event (or at least of those big crossover events comics pump out every so often) with too many characters and too many fight scenes but well-crafted enough to work as some sort of spectacle. I wouldn’t call the film fun per se (the best I could maybe say is that it’s occasionally jokey and cheeky), but it held my attention at the very least. Civil War moves in a slightly different direction than much of Marvel’s other films, forgetting the grand supervillain in exchange for a very minor, not very powerful sort of mastermind (Daniel Bruhl) who hatches a far-fetched plot for revenge for very personal, and even understandable, reasons. His endgame — which pits superhero against superhero, friend against friend — is, theoretically, what the people want.




The film’s main focus is that, after the wholesale and reckless destruction of numerous cities and — in this film — a mistake by The Avengers that costs innocent lives, Iron Man Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), suffering from some daddy issues, a struggling relationship and some other generalized guilt, cuts a deal with the U.N. to make sure all superheroes have some sort of government oversight. Captain America, idealist and lover of freedom and justice that he is, bristles at the idea and instead goes on the run, partly to track down his brainwashed and framed best friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan).




What all of this allows is a couple of things. First, the film likes to examine the consequences of all this big-budget destruction and razing of entire cities that now happen in so many films but always without consequence. Here, it’s handled intelligently. I’m not sure anything groundbreaking is discussed, but there is thought here, as the film gently attempts to deconstruct the superhero mythos. There’s only so much the film can do, however, which brings up the second thing allowed by the film: lots and lots of fighting. And not necessarily well-shot fighting, since returning directors Anthony and Joe Russo chop everything to bits and insist on too much high-speed shutter.




Watching Captain America and Iron Man punch each other is the main event, but the “civil war” aspect of all this pulls in all these other Marvel properties. Some of this works better than others. The inclusion of yet another Spider-Man (Tom Holland) feels forced, while War Machine (Don Cheadle) is the most boring robot man imaginable, followed closely by Vision (Paul Bettany). Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) feels both out of place and fun, and new arrival Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) gets all the good lines. Yes, it’s a lot of new and old characters alike, but it still feels less convoluted than Whedon’s dull Age of Ultron. The problem is that I, at least, couldn’t quite muster the ability to care about anyone involved in this seemingly never-ending parade of superhero films, something made more difficult by an overstuffed 146-minute running time. Rated  PG-13 for extended sequences of violence, action and mayhem.

Playing at Regal Biltmore Grande, UA Beaucatcher.


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8 thoughts on “Captain America: Civil War

  1. T.rex

    It was fun, nothing more, nothing less. I am also feeling fatigued from these.

  2. Ken Hanke

    My fatigue with these things is so great that I saw a TV trailer for the new X-Men and it wasn’t till the end that I realized it wasn’t for Captain America. I think my eyes just glaze over.

    • Edwin Arnaudin

      And that’s coming from someone who, like me, is pretty pro-X-Men.

      • Ken Hanke

        And that’s coming from someone who, like me, is pretty pro-X-Men.


    • Able Allen

      A word from the target audience: I pretty much agree with the three and a half stars. But I think I get there differently from Justin. I thought it was really fun and the action was well put together. It was more of an Avenger’s movie than a Captain America movie but it puts a period or at least a solid semicolon on the Winter Soldier story. I thought the direction was solid and the real strength was the integration of the supporting characters and while I thought the story line didn’t do the Civil War comic book story ling justice (as if anything could), it did renew my excitement for future entries in the Marvel run. Phase 3 here we come!

    • T.rex

      Its just like the “young adult” adaptations, it’s all like a bunch of mad libs now. As I type this a preview for WARCRAFT just played. Yee Gads!!!! No matter what genre all movies are now is people in motion suits standing in front of a green wall while a hipster types on a computer. This art form I love is dying!!! (it seems)

      • Ken Hanke

        It’s not dying. Don’t be such a drama queen. The YA adaptations…well, there’s a world of difference between The Hunger Games and The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

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