By Laurie Coker
The name Avengers makes us think of superheroes battling bad guys for the better of all human kind. What doesn’t typically come to mind is the idea of superheroes fighting each other. Batman versus Superman changed that, and now the Avengers are at each other’s throats verbally and physically in the Captain American: Civil War. Directors Anthony and Joe Russo and their all-star cast make most of the nearly two hour and thirty minute movie monumentally engaging.
Captain (Chris Evans) and his counterpart the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) mess up a mission, which results in collateral damage – property and dead innocents, but far as the Cap is concerned, the unintentional loss of life is the cost that sometimes must be paid for the rest of the world being a safer place. Once the building’s dust settles, the Avengers, as a group, are under fire. Lead by the king of the fictitious country where the destruction was done and other powers that be want to put a leash on the team by delegating via a United Nations accord requiring the team to stay put unless deployed on a specified assignment. This demand puts the Avengers at odds – Ironman/Tony Stark, Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson),aand War Machine (Don Cheadle) decide to sign the accord. Contrarily Cap, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) prefer to risk arrest to be best prepared to save the world. The Scarlet Witch is on lock down with Vision (Paul Bettany), Cap and Falcon are on the run and a sinister man seeking vengeance is on the loose and then things get worse.
It is in the moments when the group disagrees about the accord that the film drags and where the Russos should have cut at least 20 minutes from the run-time. What does not lag are the moments of witty and hilarious banter between the characters and the impressively visual battle scenes. Joining team Stark is a young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (squeaky voiced Tom Holland) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) joins Cap’s team. As a bit of a lone ranger of sorts, Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), whose king father is killed when a bomb explodes at the signing of the accords, follows the Avengers closely, engaging in battle with the Winter’s Soldier/Bucky (Sebastian Stan). Bucky and Cap are trying to prove Bucky’s innocence – sought for killing the king and twelve others. These battle sequences are phenomenally engaging and exciting. Seamless CGI and live action hand-to-hand, weapon and explosive battles and high-speed chases thrill.
This cast, even the newbies, delivers quipping lines with outstanding comic timing and this rapid-fire verbosity coupled with the imagery delights unabashedly. The inclusion of Ant-Man and Spider-Man and the return of Hawkeye make for even more fun – making the absence of Thor (dismissed in a line or two) insignificant. Spider-Man fights Ant-Man, while discussing that “old” Empire Strikes Back movie and the Black Panther’s retracting claws are extraordinary.
Sure, Captain America: Civil War is a comic book fair of folks deck out in Halloween costumes and its premise is completely shallow and inane, but it is a rip-roaring good time most of the time. I could do without the contemporary political themes – preferring entertainment for the sake of it in this genre of film. I am placing an A- in my grade book. Rated-PG 13, Captain America: Civil War could have been far shorter and not sacrificed one moment of pleasure.