I’ve always considered myself an Iron Man gal in the Avengers universe, but man oh man, Captain America is growing on me! So while I understand the marketing appeal of a #TeamCap v. #TeamIronMan rivalry, I am hereby declaring myself Switzerland in this Civil War! I refuse to choose. And as any Avengers fan is sure to guess, you don’t really have to. The marketing gimmick – like the movie itself – is all in good fun. That’s not to say there isn’t a decent story at the heart of this latest entry in Marvel’s Avengers franchise. There is. And that’s why this movie deserves to crush DC Comics’ Batman vs. Superman at the box office. It’s full of action, drama, Stark snark, superhero banter, a few unexpected twists, and good old-fashioned themes about friendship, conscience, and moral ambiguity. Can you tell I kinda liked it?
Here’s the gist: Steve Rogers, aka Captain America is leading the newly-formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. Unfortunately, the superheroes tend to leave quite a bit of collateral damage in their wake, prompting political forces to band together to insist on some system of accountability in the form of a United Nations oversight group. The new mandate fractures the Avengers into two camps – one led by Captain Rogers, and the other by Tony Stark/Iron Man who (surprisingly) supports the government’s efforts to keep the Avengers on a moral leash. The action plays out on two fronts as a slew of crusaders — including Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, War Machine, Falcon, Hawkeye, (the newly introduced) Black Panther, Ant-Man, and even a very young Spidey — take sides in a high-octane fight that resembles a knock-down, drag-out, airborne, entertaining game of dodge-ball among frenemies. The plot revolves around Steve’s old friend Bucky (aka Winter Soldier) who’s been brainwashed into doing lots of evil things, and a twisted dude named Zemo who harbors a personal vendetta against the Avengers.
The plot isn’t entirely ‘fresh’ — it actually shares a narrative thread with the recent Batman v. Superman movie, where Justice Leaguers come under political pressure to keep their powers in check and minimize the collateral damage. But the Avengers movies are so much better at lightening the mood. There’s quite a bit of fighting and carnage in Captain America: Civil War but it’s never too dark or bloody, and there’s enough superhero eye candy, sarcasm, and heart to make it all easier to digest throughout its two-and-a-half-hour running time.
If you’re a fan of the genre, these movies are just plain fun to watch. They’re even better when watched in a theater, on a giant screen, with a bunch of excited critics and fanboys – and fangirls. The energy is palpable. That doesn’t happen all that often, and expectations aren’t always met. I’m happy to report that in this case, the majority of the audience left in a good mood. It’s a satisfying cinematic escape — all the way through to the very end of the credits. So stick around. There are TWO bonus scenes to look out for.
As for the 3D, so NOT necessary. A big screen is good enough.
Did I mention the eye candy?