Captain America: Civil War? More like Avengers 3 if you ask me. This 2016 flick features virtually every hero from the Marvel cinematic universe, with the only notable omissions being Hulk and Thor. Based on recent Ragnarok photos I have seen, the thunder god has taken time off to get a haircut. Meanwhile Bruce Banner is leading the life of a “lonely man” after ditching Black Widow (insert sad piano tune here.) Instead of battling evil, this time round the Avengers have assembled to brawl amongst them selves. Superheroes squaring off against each other is all the rage these days. Thankfully the billed Civil War is much more satisfying to watch that the underwhelming tussle between DCs two most famous cape wearers.
When an Avengers mission in Africa ends with the accidental loss of civilian lives the Sokovia Accords are established. Said accords decree that the Avengers will have to limit their future activities to UN sanctioned assignments. The new law causes the team to fragment into two factions, headed by Captain America and Iron Man respectively. Tony Stark is guilt tripped by a bereaved mother into supporting the new measures whilst Steve Rogers opposes the treaty. Cap isn’t playing ball because the authorities are attempting to assassinate his chum Bucky Barnes (Winter Soldier) for crimes he unwillingly committed whilst under the indoctrination of Hydra. The Nazis brainwashed Barnes into hating carriages so much that uttering the line “freight car” turns him into a mindless killer.
How do our heroic role models resolve the impasse? Reach a compromise through diplomacy perhaps? Nah, screw that. Let’s have a battle royale at the airport instead! The ensuing costumed punch-up features the likes of Falcon, War Machine, Hawkeye and a couple of new faces. First up is Wakandan monarch Black Panther who seeks vengeance against Barnes (the man he believes is responsible for killing his dad.) The other debutant is Spider-Man, who swings into a Marvel movie because Fox have accepted they are incapable of making a decent wall crawler film. Based on this showing I am excited for Homecoming. Tom Holland is perfect in the role of geek that can rattle off quips under a mask. His aunt is also sexier than the old ditty I recall from the comics.
My rating for Captain America: Civil War is five stars. If Internet speculation is to be believed that score qualifies me for a cheque from Disney. You know, the fabled bribe critics get for bashing DC movies and praising anything Marvel. The reality however is that Marvel Studios deserve all the plaudits they are getting. Civil War was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. The action was spectacular and thanks to the 147-minute running time the writers had ample time to delve into the motivations of each character. As events unfold audiences are shown why Stark, who has previously had contempt for the military, supports the Sokovia Accords and the reasons that compelled patriotic Steve Rogers to go rogue.
Usually when a movie has a big cast someone gets lost in the shuffle, but I must say that Civil War did an admirable job of sharing out the screen time. Even comic relief Ant-Man is given the opportunity to make a “big” impression. Civil War also fared better than most Marvel movies in the villain department. Helmut Zemo may not possess superpowers or the charisma of Loki, but I was still impressed by the manner in which he engineers the Avengers fallout. Unlike Lex Luthor in Batman vs Superman, Zemo is successful in bringing Earth’s mightiest heroes to their knees through infighting… and he did so without the assistance of Jolly Ranchers or jars filled with urine. No, I am not “taking the piss” that really did happen in Dawn of Justice. Urgh. No wonder that screenplay got a Razzie.