HOLLYWOOD—Well a few weeks ago, we were treated to an epic battle between superheroes with “Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.” While many critics weren’t avid fans of that flick, I thoroughly enjoyed the fight sequences, the narrative and the overall movie. Well the summer box-office season has kicked off because “Captain America: Civil War” has arrived in theaters and it’s a treat for moviegoers.
Seriously, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was a major improvement over its predecessor and a flick that I rank high on my best of the best of the superhero list. “Captain America: Civil War” continues to follow the narrative that was teased at the end of the last flick involving the relationship between Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan).
I will acknowledge that “Civil War” throws a ton of famed comic book heroes into this movie, so much to the point you wonder at times why such and such JUST HAD to be in this movie. I’m an advocate that if the character doesn’t bring anything fresh, new or push along the narrative there is no sense in writing them into the movie. Yeah, a fun cameo, here and there is cool, but not when nothing is added, sorry Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner).
The movie opens with a bit of a backstory explaining just how Barnes became the ‘Winter Solider’ courtesy of Hydra who brainwashed him to do their bidding. There is a bit of mystery lying behind Barnes’ first mission, which has an epic payoff towards the end of the movie. The tension in the plot begins when it becomes apparent to The Avengers (this includes Scarlet Witch, Vision, Hawkeye, Falcon, Black Widow, Iron Man and Captain America), that they have no boundaries and that has instilled a bit of fear in Americans and the government.
The man slamming the hammer on the truth is none other than Thaddeus ‘Thunderbold’ Ross portrayed with poise by William Hurt. I think this narrative plot point is such a treat because it brings a bit of emotion to our characters. They’re heroes, but at the same time some see them as threats. In the midst of saving the world, plenty of lives were also lost at the same time. Rogers is against the government overseeing their missions, while Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) thinks it’s appropriate that they have boundaries in place.
At its core, “Captain America: Civil War” is a tale about the bond of friendship and to what lengths one is willing to go to protect someone they care about. This pits Iron Man against his pal Steve Rogers, and caught in the middle of the madness is the introduction of T’Challa aka Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).
Now, out of all the characters that appear in this movie, T’Challa is the most fleshed out in my opinion. He is a character that seems aligned with Cap one moment and then is an ally of Tony Stark the next moment. There is mystery behind his motives, which may be explained in future movies.
At the center of all this chaos is none other than Barnes whose missions seem to continually put in him in the spotlight, and not in a good way, because Rogers has to defend his pal’s actions. That inevitably leads to major conflict that ultimately leads to an epic battle of Iron Man’s crew vs. Captain America’s crew. Going through the list of whose who is a bit unnecessary in my opinion, you’ve seen the trailers and the TV spots, you know who is on whose side.
I will admit I was quite disappointed with the lack of story for Scarlett Johannson’s character, Natasha Ramonoff/Black Widow. She was the best thing in the first “Avengers” movie and I thought she made “The Winter Soldier” so much stronger. Given that she has little to do here, it’s all eyes on Stark and Rogers and they deliver as conflicted heroes.
The big battle that ensues between the two is a treat to watch, compared to the disappointing battle at that air base. Note: Peter Parker also known as Spider-Man portrayed by Tom Holland makes an appearance here. It is what I would call quintessential cameo that works on so many levels. Timing is everything and it works to perfection if you ask me. The one crucial weak point in this flick is the villain Helmut Zemo portrayed by Daniel Bruhl. The notion of him being a threat to these superheroes is somewhat laughable in my opinion, but the caliber of characters and the narrative makes up for that mishap.
“Captain America: Civil War” is not “The Dark Knight,” but it does find a way to weave a narrative and that will entertain the most avid comic book fan and even those who have never read or even seen a comic book movie.