Captain America: Civil War, rated PG-13
The film is directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: The First Avenger). We saw this film in IMAX 3-D in a packed theater with an enthusiastic audience who reacted to each amazing scene they saw (watch for the scene with Captain America and the helicopter, or a great stunt with a motorcycle, for example). In fact, even before the film started, some shouted out “Team Cap!” to be responded with “Iron Man!” And the audience was not disappointed.
The latest Marvel film is a long one at 2 hours and 26 minutes. It is rated PG-13 for the standard super hero violence, some adult language (and unfortunately the abuse of God’s name). We really enjoyed the humor in the film. Some films get distracted with the fighting and violence (think of the recent Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), but this one never lost track of the story.
As the film opens, we see some of the Avengers – Captain America (Chris Evans), the Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johannson) – in Lagos, Nigeria trying to stop the theft of biological weapons. Unfortunately, a casualty of their heroic actions is the death of several innocent people. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and now the Avengers are told by Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), that 117 nations will soon be approving the Sokovia Accords, and all the Avengers will need to sign it. The agreement will provide oversight for the superheroes; they will no longer be able to enter into situations worldwide without approval. Many of the Avengers, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sign the Accords, but a few, notably Captain America, do not.
As King T’Chaka (John Kani) addresses the representatives before the Accords vote, a bomb goes off. Many are injured and some are killed, including King T’Chaka. We see his son T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) kneeling over his father’s dead body. Soon news reports flash a photo that show the bomber as being Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who was at one time Captain America’s best friend. As the manhunt begins for the Winter Soldier, Captain America seeks to protect him, putting him on the opposite side of his Avenger friends that signed the Accord, notably Iron Man. That sets up the Avengers “Civil War” – betrayal is a key theme in this film along with standing your ground to do the right thing. Team Iron Man consists of Iron Man, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany), Black Widow, War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Spiderman (Tom Holland), while Team Captain America consists of Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Falcon, Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp), Scarlett Witch, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Ant Man (Paul Rudd).
Not all of the Avengers are in the film (notably absent were Thor and the Hulk), but many are, in addition to some new characters (Black Panther and Spiderman, for example.) The strong cast also includes Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, and Alfre Woodard.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable film with excellent stunts, computer animations, and screenplay. As with all Marvel superhero films, don’t get up when the film ends, but stay through all the credits to see two brief previews for future Avenger films.