Captain America: Civil War Movie Review
Just over a month after Batman and Superman duked it out to questionable results, the Avengers exchange blows in Captain America: Civil War, a consistently entertaining movie that avoids the depressing darkness that marred Dawn of Justice but, due to the nature of Marvel’s formula, plays things safe.
The result is a movie that’s fun to watch but lacks excitement.
The movie’s glaring flaw is that it boasts no major villain, threat or reason to feel concerned for the characters. The two biggest antagonists are Iron Man/Tony Stark and an instantly forgettable dude (Daniel Brühl) with incomprehensible motives (yes, yes, he’s dividing the Avengers with Thanos approaching, presumably, but I don’t really care). And you know Iron Man and Captain America aren’t going to kill each other—and does anyone really care what happens to the reliably bland character Bucky a.k.a. Winter Soldier?
Still, Captain America: Civil War succeeds where Batman v. Superman did not: delivering a fun experience and, most importantly, a fun battle between two groups of heroes. While the stakes are shockingly low during the “civil war” scene—at one point, Hawkeye remarks to his temporary nemesis Black Widow that “we’ll still be friends after this, right?” and in another, one teammate criticizes another for pulling punches—returning directors Anthony and Joe Russo know how to film action, and the showdown is a blast to watch. The use of Spider-Man and Ant-Man adds some extra flavor to the proceedings.
Sadly, by the time the climax rolls around and it’s revealed what the film’s quasi-bad guy is up to (spoiler: not a whole lot), I didn’t really care to watch another sequence in which Captain America and Winter Soldier fight Iron Man. At two-and-a-half hours long and featuring more characters than were in the last Avengers movie, it feels a bit bloated, too.
Batman v. Superman was an ambitious misfire, whereas Civil War is a play-it-safe success; the latter is a better movie, but one restrained by a proven but predictable formula.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.