REVIEW: Captain America - Civil War raises the bar

CAPTAIN America: Civil War is by far my favourite of the three Cap films and ties with Deadpool as my favourite Marvel film so far.

But that's because it isn't really a Captain America/Steve Rogers story. Civil War is as much an Avengers movie, in my opinion, as Age of Ultron.

The absence of Thor and Hulk seems to be the only thing separating Civil War from a fully-fledged Avengers romp.

The rest of the gang is back, including Falcon (Anthony Mackie), War Machine (Don Cheadle) and the retired Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).

From left, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen and Sebastian Stan in a scene from Captain America: Civil War..
From left, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen and Sebastian Stan in a scene from Captain America: Civil War.. Contributed

After the events of Age of Ultron Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff is now a fully-fledged Avenger and the ethereal Vision (Paul Bettany) is also floating around the compound.

These two have a special connection because they both draw their powers from the same stone and because they are the newest Avengers recruits.

The film also crosses over with Ant-Man (Paul Rudd is very funny, as expected) and introduces two new superheroes into the fold: Tom Holland as a teenage Peter Parker/Spider-Man and Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther.

Tom Holland as Spider-Man in a scene from the movie Captain America: Civil War..
Tom Holland as Spider-Man in a scene from the movie Captain America: Civil War.. Supplied

All three get drawn into the internal struggle within the Avengers camp. After causing so much collateral damage around the world, the world's governments ask the superheroes to agree to a system of accountability and oversight.

Surprisingly, it's tech maverick Tony Stark/Iron Man who thinks the team needs to be reined in, while military poster boy Rogers is adamant they need freedom from political agendas.

What great about this central plot point is that it helps to ground the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in reality rather than pretending the events of the past films haven't had a dramatic impact on the world. Plenty of people would be scared by such a powerful group, even if they are considered heroes.

The debate escalates from the philosophical to the physical, culminating in a truly epic battle between the two sides at an evacuated airport.

Robert Downey Jr and Don Cheadle in a scene from the movie Captain America: Civil War.
Robert Downey Jr and Don Cheadle in a scene from the movie Captain America: Civil War. Contributed

Despite the large cast of characters, Civil War doesn't feel cluttered; everyone gets their moment/s to shine.

Directors Anthony and Joe Russo expertly blend action with humour, something now expected from Marvel films, but also add a more mature, dark aspect to the MCU as the Avengers grapple with their identity and purpose.

The ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered but also opens up a range of possibilities for the next Avengers film Infinity War Part 1, not due for release until 2018. Until then, the third installment of Thor, starring our very own Chris Hemsworth and begins filming in southeast Queensland in June, and Spider-Man: Homecoming will have to tide over Marvel fans.

Captain America: Civil War opens nationally today.

 

Captain America: Civil War

Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany.

Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo

Rating: M

Verdict: 4.5/5 stars


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