A HOUSE DIVIDED

 By Sam Jones

 DIRECTORS: Joe and Anthony Russo

PRODUCER: Kevin Feige

WRITERS: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

RUNNING TIME: 147 minutes

STARRING: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Bruhl, Martin Freeman

Marvel’s latest offering is the latest chapter in Steve Rogers a.k.a Captain America (Chris Evans) saga, and the latest instalment of the increasingly monolithic body of films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In Civil War, an international incident with the Avengers puts Rogers at odds with fellow Avengers figurehead Tony Stark a.k.a Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) over the United Nations’ calls to have the Avengers more heavily regulated. Unsurprisingly, Cap and Iron Man can’t agree to disagree, which leads to a (shockingly) civil war among Marvel’s superheroes.

In what seems to be par for the course with any Marvel film, Civil War is energetic and highly entertaining, offering up very well-shot and executed action scenes, balanced out nicely with some strong character moments and performances in some more seriouly-minded dramatic scenes from its ensemble cast. While Cap and Iron Man’s heated feud and Cap’s relationship with his best friend and formerly Hydra-brainwashed best pal Bucky a.k.a The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) makes for compelling viewing, the real stars of Civil War are newcomers Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland, who portray Black Panther and Spider-Man respectively. Holland’s performance of everyone’s favourite web-head was particularly delightful, and could very well be the best portrayal of both Peter Parker and Spider-Man that I’ve yet seen on the big screen. The brothers Russo have also found a nice balance in Civil War between serious, dramatic moments and light-hearted levity and fun, providing a very refreshing contrast to Batman vs. Superman’s relentlessly dour and serious tone, which comes to a head in the much ballyhooed airport battle between both Cap and Iron Man’s sides which was immensely enjoyable to watch.

With all that said however, Civil War doesn’t quite stick the landing in all places. At 147 minutes long, the film proves to quite the long sit, and after the big airport fight, the film certainly begins to feel its length. Despite this being ostensibly being a Captain America movie, there’s equal, if not more, focus on almost every Marvel hero to date, which likely contributed to this film feeling slightly bloated. Civil War also continues the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s trend of villains that just don’t quite measure up to their heroic counterparts. While Daniel Bruhl gives an admirable performance as antagonist Helmut Zemo, compared to the far more compelling conflicts between the warring heroes, his story falls somewhat to the wayside and ends up all but forgotten when everything’s said and done. It should also be said that despite how much fun it was, the big superhero battle royal at the airport toward the film’s climax lacks a certain sense of stakes: at some point, you tend to forget what its was that anyone’s actually fighting about and then the whole thing begins to just feel like a bunch of friends playing super-powered grab-ass. That said, the final clash between Cap, Iron Man, and Bucky more than makes up for that, being furious, intense and carrying significantly more weight to it.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Captain America: Civil War is yet another all-round entertaining and enjoyable entry into a franchise which is looking increasingly fail-proof which each passing success. That being said, Civil War was probably the first Marvel film in the franchise where I felt that there may have been a little too much going on, and likely could have benefitted from a little trimming here and there. However, on the whole, Captain America: Civil War is still definitely worth your time and money and is a no-brainer for any Marvel fans.

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