Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Daniel Brühl, Frank Grillo
It has been a challenge to wait for Captain America: Civil War, the latest Avengers entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) line up. In anticipation, I have been watching Winter Soldier, Ultron and Ant Man on a recurring loop over for the last few weeks. I have professed to be #TeamCap. My son says he’s #TeamTony (way better alliteration than #TeamIronMan or #TeamStark btw). But, heck after thinking this through, I think I’m just plain #TeamAvengers.
With so many in the cast, I have to admit that I was expecting more of the usual team effort. While there were more Avengers on screen together than we have ever seen, I realized that this telling was clearly focused on Captain America’s unwavering choice to act on behalf of the greater good.
I’ve not read the comics (gasp!), so it was tough for me to envision how this previously cohesive team could be so divided. The split stems from the ramifications of their previous successes. The nations of the world, while grateful for their avenging, can no longer turn a blind eye nor tolerate the collateral damage left in their wake. The solution is the Sokovia Accords, and by signing, the Avengers would allow their efforts to be regulated by a UN governing body. Tony Stark, guilt ridden from his role in creating Ultron, is quick to acquiesce taking with him Rhodie, Romanoff and Vision. Now locked at the hip, Rogers and Sam Wilson, after witnessing S.H.I.E.L.D. dissolve into Hydra, are wary of any control over their missions. This rift is magnified when the Winter Soldier is implicated in horrific crimes and Steve feels compelled to redeem his old friend, no matter the cost. It is the actual villain of the piece that is the catalyst for the conflict. Another victim of Ultron’s evil plans executed in Sokovia, Zemo is intent on bringing his own brand of vengeance in return.
Civil War reveals more history behind the Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes’s alter ego, along with a sample of the horrors he was capable of. With that revelation, comes the introduction of a magnificent new hero in the Black Panther. After seeing his capabilities, I can’t wait to see him again and find out how the heck he can do what he can do. Save Thor and Banner who are both MIA, the remaining Avengers assemble and pick sides, enlisting newly minted Ant-Man and adding fan-favorite Spiderman to the team. Not surprisingly, it is the newest Avengers that bring the most humor, adding levity to the fight that our battle weary warriors must engage in due to their conflict.
What I have enjoyed so greatly with the expansion of the MCU is the way that each additional film continually adds a layer of nuance to the familiar. We’ve gotten to know these Avenging heroes… we’ve seen them at their best, and also at their most vulnerable. These are complex, flawed characters who are challenged in carrying the burden of the mantle they have chosen.
There were only a few spots that I thought needed bolstering. Though a necessary ally to further the plot along, I thought the reintroduction of ex SHIELD agent, Sharon, as connector from Steve’s past to his present, was a weak ploy. Where the burgeoning romance between Romanoff and Banner was a sweet plot driver in Ultron, Civil War gave us some cringy moments between some of the others. Awkward as they come, these could have worked in a lighter and less serious undertaking.
All in all, I knew that this one was a hit when I saw how giddy the stars were after the premiere. It seemed that they knew they had a super sized blockbuster on their hands; now critics and fans do too.
Cindy Says: 🌟🌟🌟🌟1/2