Title: Captain America: Civil War
Release Date: May 6, 2016
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Production Company: Marvel Studios
Captain America’s name is in the title but this film feels more like a third Avengers movie, or perhaps more generically Marvel Cinematic Universe XIII. The movie starts with the Avengers team working in Lagos where new member Wanda Maximof attempts to deflect the explosion of a villain’s suicide bomb, but instead it accidentally detonates in a nearby building where it kills Wakandan humanitarian workers. This latest mishap leads to the United Nations passing the Sokovia Accords (ironically named for the place where the Avengers first attempted to avoid collateral damage) which will allow the U.N. to oversee and control the Avengers.
And thus begins the Civil War where the team splits over whether they will accept outside control. Frustratingly, the filmmakers have douchey Tony Stark take the side I agree with, while it’s Steve Rogers who goes rogue in opposition to the accords. Honestly, these choices seem out of character for both Stark and Rogers and the film never really justifies their decision. Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop Civil War from having a lot of dramatic tension as Rogers puts together a team to protect his friend Bucky Barnes and seek out Helmut Zemo who framed Barnes for bombing the U.N., while Stark puts together a team to stop Rogers from breaking the Accords.
If there wasn’t enough going on, Civil War also introduces two new major characters. T’Challa, the Black Panther, enters the fight as a wild card third party seeking revenge on Bucky Barnes because his father King T’Chaka is killed in the bombing. Meanwhile, Stark decides it’s a good time to bring a new, young superhero into the fold, Peter Parker (a.k.a. Spider-Man). You’ve probably seen what happens next, as the clips of the big battle scenes as Avengers fight Avengers at a German airport have saturated popular culture.
There are some interesting twists I won’t spoil, but I was impressed and surprised by Zemo’s end game and manipulation. And despite the grim subject matter, the movie manages a lot of humor and entertainment. Oh, and I haven’t mentioned Vision – who seemed to just be tossed in as another character in Age of Ultron – who emerges as both comic relief and the humanitarian heart of Civil War. There’s a lot going on in this movie, but ultimately it succeeds because it does justice to characters, even though there’s a lot of them.