Captain America: Civil War (PG-13) ★★½

Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. star in "Captain America Civil War." Photo credit: Marvel Studios.
Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. star in “Captain America Civil War.” Photo Credit: Marvel Studios.

Captain America: Civil War Does Not Leave Audiences United

The summer blockbuster season is upon us, which for the last decade has included a steady diet of superhero movies. Although many super hero flicks can be both smart and entertaining, Captain America – Civil War, the latest installment in the Captain America/Marvel’s Avengers series falls short in both categories. Kids will still love the movie for its action sequences, but most adults who see the film will likely be disappointed by the storyline compared to previous installments.

The story opens with Captain America, played by Chris Evans (for the fifth time), leading a counter-terrorist mission in a fictional African country. Captain America, is joined by the former spy, martial-artist, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson, Hail, Caesar!, 2016), the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen, I Saw the Light, 2016) who can move objects with her mind, Falcon, whose suit allows him to fly (Anthony Mackie, Ant-Man, 2015) and several other team members who successfully thwart the terrorist’s bioterrorist attack.

Despite stopping the terrorist threat, the team cannot do so without causing significant property losses and human casualties. Making matters worse, Captain America’s former friend, Bucky, now a brainwashed super soldier called the Winter Soldier, may be responsible for the attacks. This attack and the destruction from previous battles (in past films) results in a public outcry for the superheroes to be regulated by the United Nations due to the potential threat they pose. This proposed regulation causes a rift between the current roster of super heroes. On one side, you have Captain America and his allies who believe that the good they do far outweighs any bad, and they need to have the ability to respond quickly to threats and not subject to any government.  On the other hand, you have, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr., Avengers: Age of Ultron, 2015) and his allies who think that the public has a point and that they shouldn’t be above the law. The debate reaches a boiling point when Captain America starts to suspect that his old friend, Bucky / Winter Soldier, isn’t responsible for the terrorist attack after all and defies orders to bring him to justice.  Captain America’s defiance and his search for the real villain, a mysterious European scientist, Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl, Rush, 2014) results in a battle royale between the Avengers and the hunt for the person responsible for the attacks. This includes new additions who we hadn’t previously seen in the Avengers Universe, including Spider-Man and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd, The Fundamentals of Caring, 2016) characters.

The best parts of this film are the action sequences and battles between the super heroes, however they are not enough to offset the plot itself. One of the most important ingredients to a successful action movie is the villain / threat facing the heroes. In this film, fighting between super heroes and government regulations is not a very compelling driver for the plot. Although there is, of course, someone else pulling the strings to create the rift between the superheroes and even the reveal of the main villain’s origin and his agenda does little to help with the core problem.

Young kids will likely overlook this storyline flaw and focus on the action scenes and the big battle between the super heroes does deliver. Also, the introduction of Spider-Man to the fight was a welcomed addition instead of feeling like one hero too many. Still, the movie’s central story did not provide much for character development even with a 2.5 hour run time and, the end of the movie will leave most people disappointed compared to previous installments.  Finally, adults may be confused if they have not seen all the movies in the Marvel / Avengers franchise to fully understand the background on all of these characters.

Bottom Line? If you are looking for summer fun, it will deliver action, but don’t expect to be talking about the movie a week later.

Credits: Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo; Written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Cast:  Chris Evans (Captain America / Steven Rodgers), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man / Tony Stark), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier / James “Bucky” Barnes), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch / Wanda Maximoff), Daniel Bruhl (Helmut Zemo)

Studio: Marvel Studios

Running Time: 147 minutes

Jessica Aymond © May 8, 2016