In Lagos Nigeria, while trying to prevent a terrorist attack and save Captain America, (Chris Evans) The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) inadvertently kill a number of Nigerians in an office building. The Avengers have caused a great deal of collateral damage while trying to save people. Towards that end, 118 nations have signed a treaty to have the United Nations regulate the use of the Avengers. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) gets lectured by the mother (Alfre Woodard) of one of his inadvertent victims. He’s ready to hang up his suit, but Captain America doesn’t want to sign the treaty arguing that the Avengers should have the freedom to control their own actions. As representatives gather to sign the treaty in Vienna, there is a bombing, and the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is the main suspect, but Captain America can’t believe his buddy from Brooklyn is responsible for such bloodshed. Who is responsible for the Vienna bombing? Whose side will the rest of the Avengers take on the treaty? Iron Man’s or Captain America’s?
I had reservations about this film, a film about the Avengers fighting each other could be very dumb if handled badly, especially in light of Batman vs. Superman. And when I saw they were fighting over a treaty, I thought, ‘Is that all there is?’ But happily, the reason they are fighting goes much deeper than the treaty, and that is the heart of the story. The rest of the story is engaging and surprisingly funny. The characters are nicely integrated, and there are new characters introduced and that’s nicely done too. There is an element of “The Manchurian Candidate” a great Frank Sinatra film, in this film, which Iron Man mentions himself. In all, Civil War takes what could have been tired characters and a hackneyed story and breathes new life into them. The only criticism I have is that sometimes the fighting sequences go on for too long, and the story gets lost, but other than that, this was a thoroughly enjoyable film.
The acting was mostly very good. Robert Downey Jr. again stands out from the rest with his usual witty, off the cuff delivery. He really understands Tony Stark/Iron Man, I really wonder how much of his dialogue is ad libbed. Chris Evans understands Captain America too, but I wish they would give his character a little more complexity. Sebastian Stan was ok as The Winter Soldier, he’s not a good enough actor to play a bad guy, in my opinion. Scarlett Johansson is great as Black Widow, and deserves her own Black Widow movie for crying out loud. The actors who play the new characters are also very good. Don Cheadle, a very good actor, is not good as Rhoadey. I preferred Terrence Howard. Elizabeth Olsen, who I liked in the last Avengers film, has trouble maintaining her Sokovian accent, so this performance is not as good as her last one.Jeremy Renner is very bland for this type of movie, he’s bland in every movie I’ve seen him in except for The Hurt Locker, where he was very good. Paul Bethany gives a good performance as Vision and Anthony Mackie adds some humor as Falcon.
The Russo Brothers direct again, and it’s better than their last Captain America effort, the pacing is fast, the action sequences are well staged, if a bit long, and they get mostly very good performances from a very large cast.
Captain America Civil War: Aye Aye Captain!