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Captain America: Civil War – Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War manages to do everything Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice failed to do. That tells a fantastic story involving way too many superheroes and introduce new characters in a meaningful and exciting way.

Release Date: May 6, 2016
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely
Director: Joe & Anthony Russo
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Mackie, Scarlett Johansson

Similar to the Marvel Comics event that pitted hero against hero, Captain America: Civil War pits Captain America (Chris Evans) against Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in a physical and moral battle. After the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the United Nations demand that all powered humans register with their governments and submit to its authority as well.

Iron Man is for hero registration because even the most powerful hero needed to be kept in check and held responsible for collateral damage when acting alone. Captain America is for civil liberties and can not submit to a government agency, especially when lives are at stake.

A crisis occurs when the debate over the matter is interrupted when a bomb is set off next to the U.N. Headquarters. The explosion kills many including the leader of Wakanda, King T’Chaka (John Kani). Video footage shows that the bomb was set by the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). The U.S. decides to engage supporting heroes to capture and even kill the Winter Soldier. This includes the new hero, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who decides to avenge the death of his father.

Captain America knows that if the Winter Soldier did set the bomb, he did not do it of his own free will. In fact, a new villain reveals himself in the shadows, Zemo (Daniel Bruhl). Zemo was the one who reactivated the Winter Soldier and turned him once again into a killing machine. Zemo is intent on bringing down an empire and his plan involves finding the secret lab that created ten other Winter Soldiers.

Teams have been formed. Team Iron Man consists of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Vision (Paul Bettany), Black Panther, War Machine (Don Cheadle) and amazingly Spider-Man (Tom Holland) (pun intended). Team Captain America is Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

Captain America: Civil War features three amazing chase/battle scenes. The ultimate battle between the heroes at an airport feel like it leaps directly from a comic book. It’s fun and incredible. The final battle between Captain America and Iron Man is both sad and satisfying.

The tight story from Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely makes this long movie feel like you want more. It succeeds in so many ways. First, Let’s face it, this movie has a lot of heroes and it’s easy to be lost in the sauce, but every character has a moment to shine, not only in battle but as individual characters.

Second, the story introduces two characters: Black Panther and Spider-Man. Both characters make a bold statement in the movie. Black Panther is a prince avenging the death of his father as well as donning the new responsibility as the leader of a nation. His motivations of anger are justified and his character arc leaves you excited for the upcoming Black Panther movie.

Spider-man is also interesting in the sense that he really isn’t needed in the movie. Clearly, he was added because Marvel wanted to show off that they have Spider-Man back in the Marvel fold. The movie could have done without Spider-Man. Give credit to Markus and McFeely, they tell the Spider-Man story in a way that is fun and exciting. Tom Holland brings an element of Spider-Man that we haven’t seen in the other films and that’s Peter Parker’s need to constantly comment and make smart remarks throughout an entire fight. His moments with Tony Stark are hilarious, especially the moment that Stark makes Peter admit the kid is “Spider-Man.”

Zemo, played by Daniel Bruhl, is one of the most understated villains so far. Without throwing a punch or threatening to destroy the world, his actions are slowly revealed and the impact of his plan is everything you expect from a villain. He is the reason Captain America and Iron Man fight to the death, making him one of the best villains in the MCU, even though you’ll forget Zemo when you walk out of the movie.

Making a movie like Captain America: Civil War has challenges that need to be faced or the movie will fail. Under the direction of Anthony and Joe Russo, those challenges are met from beginning to end. These challenges include the problem of too many heroes. Everyone has a moment to shine. The reason for the heroes to battle one another are solid and make sense. There is no clear hero. Both Iron Man and Captain America is morally right to do what they are doing and you find yourself shifting back-and-forth regarding who is right. Also a story that has as many holes plugged up as possible.

Captain America: Civil War is the best Marvel movie to date, but it clearly could not have been great without the films before it. Solid story and stunning action pieces with an ambiguous sense of right and wrong make this film the one you see over and over again.