The ultimate superhero revenge movie, Captain America: Civil War leaves Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in the shade when it comes to darkness and irritability. The third film in the Captain America franchise is seriously violent – or as serious violent as a comic book sensibility turned into live action can be.
Steve Rogers/Captain America leads the newly formed Avengers in their continuing efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new paradigm fractures the team, resulting in two camps.
One is led by Captain America. He strongly believes the Avengers must remain free to defend the world without government interference. The other is led by the ill-tempered, egotistical Tony Stark/Iron Man who, surprisingly, supports oversight and accountability. Rogers continues to struggle with what happened to his once best mate Bucky Barnes. While the latter has been a killing machine for many years in the form of the Winter Soldier, Rogers still holds on to a glimmer of hope that somehow he could get his old buddy back. In fact his commitment to Barnes is one of the driving forces behind Captain America: Civil War.
Even though the Avengers are pitted against one another for much of the film, a quick count realised 13 of them (it is getting mighty crowded).
Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers/Captain America while Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Stark/Iron Man. Scarlett Johansson is cast as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow and Sebastian Stan is Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier. Anthony Mackie reprises his role as Sam Wilson/Falcon and Don Cheadle is Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine. Jeremy Renner puts in an appearance as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, while Elizabeth Olsen is Wanda Maximoff/ Scarlet Witch.
The supporting cast including Paul Bettany as Vision, Paul Rudd as Scott Lang/Ant-Man and Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther. The biggest villain in the piece and the man who orchestrates the rift among the Avengers is Zemo, played by Daniel Brühl (Inglourious Basterds).
The movie looks and feels big and powerful. I saw it on an IMAX screen and that gave the action even greater intensity, bite and belligerence. The antipathy Stark has for Rogers feels real and I assure you neither of them holds back.
Captain America: Civil War is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Winter Soldier) from a screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (they have been at the helm of all three Captain America movies). Familiarity with the characters and the story arc allowed a seamless transition and continuation from the previous movie, which was released in 2014. Let’s face it, Marvel Studios make seriously good and entertaining movies. They have built a reputation on it and aficionados won’t have anything to complain about here. It is a spectacle and the franchise has a bright future.
Rated M, Captain America: Civil War scores a 7½ out of 10.
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emiliy VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl
Release Date: 28 April 2016
Rating: M – Action, Violence
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television