Author: JoAnne Hyde
Date: May 5, 2016

SYNOPSIS: Marvelís CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two campsóone led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Starkís surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability.

Call The Avengers!

No, wait, wait. Donít call The Avengers!

The latest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, brings viewers conflict, betrayal, and not much resolution along with some stellar performances and the expected exciting special effects. Of course, thereís more than enough fighting and destruction. So, how is it? Well, when itís good, itís very, very good, and when itís not, itís slow.

I donít know what the current fascination with making very long films is, but Iíve seen so many otherwise excellent films this year that should have been about half an hour shorter. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is no exception. At 2.5 hours, itís almost like two movies. Actually with two directors, Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, maybe it is. After a slow start, the film comes alive in the second hour. Of course, some exposition is necessary, as in acknowledging the absent Avengers Thor and The Hulk, but it just takes too long to get to the real story.

The rift between the two teams of Avengers begins when, after another ďsaveĒ that involved many civilian casualties, the Avengers are approached by Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) with a voluntary-for-now proposition. Facing growing public outcry, the UN has suggested that the Avengers sign a pact limiting their efforts to situations approved by the UN Council. Ross strongly suggests that if they donít sign voluntarily, they may be forced to do so. Itís a bit of an oxymoron that the Avengers can be forced to do anything; but Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) agrees with Ross, largely because of the guilt he feels about the collateral damage suffered at his hands. Siding with Stark are Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), TíChalla/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and Vision (Paul Bettany). Stark later recruits Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

Strongly disagreeing with the idea of being restricted in aiding humanity, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) forms his own team: Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), and non-Avenger Agent Sharon Carter (Emily Van Camp). Rogers also recruits Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).

The final confrontation between Stark and Rogers is worth the price of admission; but donít expect a clear-cut resolution.

After all, there will be future films.

All of the actors do skillful jobs, but the story line really picks up when Tom Holland and Paul Rudd join the action. Look for some entertaining surprises from them. Holland will be featured in a new Spider-Man series of films, and youíll get a glimpse if you stay through the credits.

Stan Lee does his usual cameo and heís hilarious! Paul Bettanyís Vision Ė now in possession of a body of sorts Ė seems to want to become a real boy when heís around Wanda/Scarlet Witch. Alfre Woodard does a poignant turn as Miriam, the mother whose son was part of that civilian collateral damage, who confronts Stark and induces some of the guilt that makes him so willing to sign the UN document.

The preview audience applauded the film, and the Marvel fans I overheard talking about the film loved it. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR will give you a satisfying evening at cinema. After that sluggish start, you will be entertained! - JoAnne Hyde


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