CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
**** (out of 5)
May 6, 2016
Chris Evans as STEVE ROGERS / CAPTAIN AMERICA
Robert Downey Jr. as TONY STARK / IRON MAN
Scarlett Johansson as NATASHA ROMANOFF / BLACK WIDOW
Sebastian Stan as BUCKY BARNES / WINTER SOLDIER
Anthony Mackie as SAM WILSON / FALCON
Don Cheadle as JAMES RHODES / WAR MACHINE
Jeremy Renner as CLINT BARTON / HAWKEYE
Chadwick Boseman as T’CHALLA / BLACK PANTHER
Paul Bettany as VISION
Elizabeth Olsen as WANDA MAXIMOFF / SCARLET WITCH
Paul Rudd as SCOTT LANG / ANT-MAN
Emily VanCamp as SHARON CARTER
Tom Holland as PETER PARKER / SPIDER-MAN
Daniel Brühl as ZEMO
Directed by: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
As much as “The Avengers” was a turning point for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and superhero movies in general) back in 2012, it is the third Captain America movie (and the 13th movie in the series overall) that represents a new turning point. Here is where the Marvel Cinematic Universe diversifies, starts to tell more complex stories (beyond the simple blow-up-the-world and stop-the-bad-guy plot) and set the stage for an integrated universe that hinges less upon the name in the title and more about how that character fits into a greater world.
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, who delivered “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” a film that diverted from the standard popcorn movie and gave audiences a more complex political thriller along the lines of “Three Days of the Condor.” This is their second film, and they didn’t suffer the burnout that Jon Favreau faced after “Iron Man 2” or Joss Whedon faced after “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” And things don’t seem to be slowing down for them, as they are diving into the two movie series for “The Infinity War.”
They prove in “Captain America: Civil War” that they are able to handle the more intimate political thriller that we saw in “The Winter Soldier,” but they can also do the big-budget superhero smackdown spectacle that made “The Avengers” so fun.
One of the most notable changes to the tone of this series is the fact that for the first time, the film directly takes on the question of collateral damage in these films. Because you can’t lay waste to New York, crash massive airships into Washington D.C. and drop an entire city from the sky in Sokovia. There are real people dying off screen in a safe PG-13 way, but finally in “Civil War,” their fates are addressed. At the same time, we see the gray area of being a superhero and why the governments of the world would want some sort of oversight and regulation.
The schism that happens within the Avengers is one of ideology, weirdly putting Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) on the side of government regulation when he was fighting against exactly that in “Iron Man 2.” Leading the other charge is Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) who is a patriot but also is leery of too much government control, especially after he saw how Hydra had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. At the center of this battle, symbolizing the split of loyalties, is the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), who is still facing the aftereffects of Hydra brainwashing and the guilt over his past sins.
In this sense, “Captain America: Civil War” reaches deeper into the emotional development and – to borrow an analogy from another Disney hit – plays around with the characters mixed feelings at the end of “Inside Out” rather than the clear-cut simple feelings from the beginning of that film.
Of course, “Captain America: Civil War” does work as an Avengers movie as well, featuring the epic showdown and a change to see the different heroes duke it out. At this time, we are also introduced to the new Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who is triumphantly coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe following a bit of a rights struggle with Sony. We are also introduced to Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), setting the stage for his own movie and a greater role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In the end, “Captain America: Civil War” is a powerful film dealing with complex human emotions with roots in revenge and loyalty. Just as “Guardians of the Galaxy” opened this series to greater options on a galactic cinematic level, “Civil War” opens it up to greater potential with a diversified cast, showing no sign that Marvel is even close to being done with its full roll-out plan.