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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Captain America: Civil War Review

Civil War: What Is It Good For?

We're told "Captain America: Civil War" is a movie about Captain America by the title but it feels like Avengers 2.5, a pit stop on the way to the next movie in the "Avengers" series.

It's not necessarily a bad thing - just a curious observation of Anthony and Joe Russo's newest installment in the Marvel canon. "Captain America: Civil War" teeters on the edge of too much and is a bit unwieldy, narratively, but offers just the right amount of action to entertain staunch and casual fans alike.

The "Captain America" films have been on an interesting trajectory. The first one was such a languid, uninteresting origin story, it almost kept me out of the sequel, "Captain America: Winter Soldier". I'm glad I didn't stay away because that was a great action film. The third film plants itself firmly between feeling like an origin story and a great action movie.

While the movie features an expected villain (Daniel Bruhl, orchestrating chaos), "Captain America: Civil War" shakes things up a bit by pitting friends against one another. Steve Rogers - or Captain America - (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark - Iron Man - (Robert Downey, Jr.) are on opposing sides when it comes to the government stepping in and telling the Avengers when they are allowed to spring into action. This is all on the heels of several innocent lives being lost, accidentally, at the hands of Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).     

Iron Man has no problem signing the agreement proposed by the Secretary of State (William Hurt). Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and War Machine (Don Cheadle) agree, and stand by Iron Man's side. Captain America can't bring himself to be dictated to by the government. His buddy Falcon (Anthony Mackie) is with him.

As Captain America and Iron Man continue to disagree, the tension between them grows stronger. They begin to assemble their own teams. Iron Man looks to a web-slinging high school kid (Tom Holland, introduced as the new Spider-Man) and Captain America brings in Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).  In the mix is Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) with his own agenda.

There's a lot going on here. The film is a few minutes shy of two and a half hours and it takes a bit for everything to get going. We meet a lot of new people and are submerged into several different subplots; it's a bit of an exercise to keep up. As a spectacle, "Captain America: Civil War" is expectedly first-rate.

There was a lot of chatter around meeting Holland's Spider-Man and the young actor delivers. His appearances received the loudest applause in my showing and bringing an innocent, boyish charm to the role is just what the Spider-Man franchise may need. Boseman, whose Black Panther is also getting his own movie, doesn't get a lot to do. If putting Boseman in a Marvel film is what needs to be done for people to know this terrific actor and for more offers to come for him, than he is welcomed. Go find "Get On Up", where he plays James Brown. This guy is someone you need to know.

The extensive marketing campaign for "Captain America: Civil War" begs you to choose a side. Twitter hashtags, with accompanying emojis, have been created for Team Captain or Team Iron Man. The movie wisely doesn't make you decide. The most interesting aspect of this movie is to see two friends so torn by their differences and having to fight it out.

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