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Screen Gems review: "Captain America: Civil War"

Courtesy: Marvel Studios

May 6, 2016
"Captain America: Civil War"
Studio: Marvel Studios
Rated PG-13 for extended sequences of violence, action and mayhem


When the world's governments grow weary of watching the collateral damage caused by superheroes battling their foes a unique solution is proposed. It's one which divides Earth's Mightiest Heroes and threatens to undo all they've accomplished.

Chris Evans as Captain America and Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man return to headline the 13th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"Captain America: Civil War" has the shield slinger now leading the Avengers. The team goes to Africa to capture a dangerous terrorist, but things go wrong and innocent people get caught in the crossfire and die.

On the heels of other major battles which have been waged in New York, Washington, D.C. and Sokovia, the United Nations proposes an accord in which the Avengers would be supervised by the UN. The organization would determine when and where they spring into action. Tony Stark is on board, but Steve Rogers has concerns.

Loosely based on an epic comic book arc, "Captain America: Civil War is ultimately about freedom and responsibility. Heroes choose their sides and battle to determine which philosophy will rule the day.

Directors Anthony and Joe Russo have crafted a masterpiece. It feels genuine and proceeds logically. The arguments made by both sides make sense. There is no right and wrong here, just a difference in which path best serves to protect innocent people and keep evildoers at bay. Evans has never been better as Cap. His commitment to the cause and his friends comes shining through. Downey is in a more difficult situation, arguing that oversight is the right thing. But he's passionate about the subject and you undestand his reasons.

Sebastian Stan as Bucky Barnes, who is slowly emerging from years of being a mind-controlled assassin, is in the midst of the struggle. Although he's still trying to undo decades of brainwashing, his connection with Rogers holds the film together. A heartbreaking reveal about Bucky's past actions as the brainwashed Winter Soldier ratchet up the stakes and make the emotionally-charged ending feel very real.

There are plenty of heroes in this story, which feels more like an Avengers sequel than a Captain America story. All of the players get moments to shine, including Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Anthony Mackie's Falcon, Paul Bettany's Vison, Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, Don Cheadle's War Machine and Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye.

Paul Rudd's Ant-Man makes a welcome appearance, and we meet Tom Holland's Spider-Man and Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther for the first time. Their introductions are handled deftly and serve as great launching points for their participation in the MCU. Their inclusion feels integrated and organic. There is nothing forced about the heroes being a major part of the story.

With its real-world issues and weighty decisions, coupled with solid story-telling, nuanced performances and amazing special effects, this may be the best superhero movie every made.

On my rating scale, "Captain America: Civil War" earns my highest honor...FOUR DIAMONDS.

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