As the first gigantic summer blockbuster of 2016, Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War delivers on what’s expected from the genre. Packed to the gills with action, there’s barely a chance to catch your breath.
That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of emotional moments for Captain America (Chris Evans is back in the role looking especially ripped), there are – especially with Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Agent 13/Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), and the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), among others, in the picture.
Intense conversations are peppered throughout the film’s high-paced sequences, and we get to see Cap’s relationships ebb and flow (giving viewers an interesting look into his motivations).
The title of the film belies its contents. We know from the trailer that the Avengers aren’t getting along, exactly; they’re divided into two separate groups by the world’s request that they be monitored instead of running free. When superpowers go unchecked, there is destruction and unnecessary civilian death, and humanity has had enough. Stark agrees with that assessment, and Cap does not, seeing it as the loss of free will. It fractures the team and forces them to mistrust and turn on each other.
Is there fallout from this in-fighting?
When you get right down to it, these superheroes are all generally “good,” so of course they’re not on a mission to actually kill one another. They get in fights, including one mega-fight at an airport and another climactic one later in the film, and aside from a few cuts and a bit of blood, there really isn’t any physical fallout. Only one character suffers long-term, but I won’t reveal here.
In a film so crammed with superheroes and stars, it does a surprisingly good job of checking in with all the characters and their stories. While some of the middle sections feel a tad paint-by-numbers, on the whole you care about the heroes’ backstories and what’s to come for them.
Are there cool new characters?
There are! We meet Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who takes the cat superhero costume and manages to masculinize it, retractable claws and all. His character’s story is touching enough, and Boseman has a unique charisma that sucks you in. The big baddie of the film, Zemo, is played by masterful actor Daniel Brühl; his sinister sneer and almost affectless expression really colours the role.
Is the bad guy really bad?
He’s pretty dang bad, but not in a traditional comic-book enemy sense. There’s no obscene musculature, no robot or machinery he’s created to destroy mankind. Having lost his family as fallout in an Avengers-save-the-day moment, he’s out for vengeance and superhero blood. Instead of fighting with sheer brute force, he uses his intellect and scheming to get the job done. Brühl is a spellbinding actor, so he brings some gravitas to the movie, and you get the sense that he’s having fun deviating from his indie performances with this blockbuster role.
Do any superheroes make surprise cameos?
Oh, yes. But no spoilers here. There are a lot of treats for Marvel fans in this movie.
So what’s the bottom line?
For comic-book fans and action fans alike, Civil War is a joyride. If the film is any indication of the summer movie quality this year, then we have a lot to look forward to.
‘Captain America: Civil War’ opens in theatres on May 6, 2016.