Magazine article Screen International

'Captain America: Civil War': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Captain America: Civil War': Review

Article excerpt

Dirs: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo. US. 2016. 147mins

A gargantuan entertainment that finds room for a little emotional resonance underneath the sterling spectacle, Captain America: Civil War confidently juggles several Marvel superheroes, introduces a few more and even reintroduces an old favourite for a well-paced, thoroughly satisfying, completely overstuffed action-thriller.

A little more mournful in tone than previous Marvel films, Civil War is the latest validation of the studio's investment in sharp character-driven stories and adroit actors, resulting in a blockbuster in which the plot has legitimate significance - even if, deep down, we know that this showdown between Captain America and Iron Man won't be the final word in a franchise that's already planning several more sequels.

Hitting multiple territories, including the UK, by late April before arriving in US theatres on May 6, Civil War will try to become the fourth Marvel film (after The Avengers, Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Iron Man 3) to gross more than $1 billion worldwide. Featuring Captain America, Iron Man and a few other Avengers - not to mention Spider-Man - this follow-up to 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier (which netted $714 million globally) seems poised to kick offthe summer movie season in fabulous fashion. Strong reviews, which will probably compare it very favourably to another comic-book movie about warring superheroes, the much-maligned Batman V Superman, will only further boost Civil War's must-see status.

After the accidental death of innocent bystanders during a battle in Lagos, Nigeria, Captain America (Chris Evans) draws the ire of the world's governments, who want the Avengers to sign an accord that puts them under the jurisdiction of the United Nations. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), better known as Iron Man, thinks that's a good idea, adamant that their powers need to be checked. But Captain America disagrees, fearful of what will happen if the UN blocks the Avengers from pursuing their mission to protect earth from evil.

The tension between these two heroes intensifies when Captain's old friend Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), a.k.a. the Winter Soldier, is believed to have been behind a fatal bombing of a UN security meeting. Barnes swears he's innocent, despite video evidence to the contrary, and Captain America rushes to his defence, which puts him in the crosshairs of Iron Man, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and other Avengers who believe that their colleague has gone rogue.

Like The Winter Soldier, Civil War was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and the two films share an emphasis on smart, spare narratives that boast a mystery-thriller element. In Civil War, the central question is whether the Winter Soldier was indeed behind the bombing - and if not him, then who? (Also, what does a mysterious lone operative named Zemo, played by Daniel Brühl with eerie calm, want with Barnes?)

Of course, to call this film's story "spare" might seem odd considering how many characters figure into the plot. But as opposed to the Avengers movies, in which several major superheroes need sufficient screen time to satisfy their specific fan bases, Civil War is ultimately the story of Captain America and Iron Man's ideological divide, which throws them into conflict, and so all the supporting players line up behind these two combatants. …

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