This is a SPOILER-FREE review!
The Phase -III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has started with the third film in the Captain America franchise.
The film starts with a flashback (quite a few of them here) showing the words Winter Soldier’s (Sebastian Stan) handlers used to speak to brainwash him into doing their bidding. Cut to present day, a small Avengers team is in Lagos, Nigeria to capture Rumlow aka Crossbones (Frank Grillo) whom we last saw in 2014’s Captain America : The Winter Soldier as a Hydra man in SHIELD. Things go awry and coupled with the Sokovia affairs in last year’s Age of Ultron (AoU), invite international backlash and a government legislation called Sokovia Accords, which are introduced to the Avengers by Secretary of State Ross (William Hurt), whom we last met in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk as General Ross. The Accords divide the Avengers down the middle as opinions on responsibility, accountability and politicians’ changing agendas mean the heroes are torn between staying together and doing what each perceives to be the right thing. Before that though, we also have a touching moment of make-up and CGI genius when Tony sees an incident from his past and we are shown Robert Downey Jr. as a 20-something. Cute!
Those who have read the comic book arc from which the film has been adapted would know that that series had a female senator pushing the Superhero Registration Act. Her son was killed along with 60 others when the New Avengers’ reality show went wrong. That incident forced Tony Stark to look inwards at how the Avengers were literally running riot and support the Act. Here we see another woman providing the spark to Tony. She tells him that her son, Charlie Spencer, was killed in Sokovia when a building fell on him.
Most of the Avengers have, as we have usually seen from movie-to-movie in the MCU, their technology updated here which provides for some cool action set-pieces. Speaking of set-pieces, at times the film almost feels like a James Bond feature, travelling the globe from continent to continent. The standout sequences in my opinion were the underpass chase and the airport fight. Both were crafted very skillfully. While the former is a serious affair, the second has a lot of comic relief thanks to Ant-Man and Spider Man.
Aah, Spider Man! Tom Holland as the Friendly Neighborhood Spider Man/Peter Parker is a pretty good choice. He embodies the naïveté/bubble/confusion of his character. Another well-done casting decision by the Marvel bosses. So was Marisa Tomei as Aunt May. While she does look younger (and way hotter) than previous iterations of Aunt May, she looks the part in whatever little screen time she gets. Next year’s Spider Man : Homecoming should give her a chance to display her full range of skills.
After Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner/Hulk’s romance in AoU, we have Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) with some romantic chemistry here. Their romance also has its share of difficulties as both choose to go with different camps once the lines are drawn. I also liked Chadwick Boseman as Wakandan prince T’Challa/Black Panther. He has some good fight sequences, including the previously mentioned underpass chase also featured in the trailers. His acting was also measured, not being either too flashy or too glum which, among this galaxy of actors, quietly made its mark.
The one thing that struck me most was the fact that despite this being such a huge film, and a serious one at that, Marvel didn’t botch it like WB/DC did with BvS : DoJ. If I sound biased, I’m not. I wanted BvS to succeed as much as I wanted this movie to be great, but in between revealing almost the entire third act in the trailers and trying to have a grittier take on the whole superhero genre, WB/DC missed a bagful of tricks. Thankfully, Marvel haven’t gone down the same road. There are a lot of secrets in the film that they have kept stashed away from the trailers and a healthy dose of humour to offset the seriousness of the issue at hand, which is kind of great. The film also ties in with Tony Stark’s past and changes the origin story of Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl), the main villain (oh, you didn’t know that? Sorry. That’s not a spoiler. His role was revealed to be in the movie a long time ago. Blame the internet!), to suit the story’s needs.
All in all, Captain America : Civil War is a worthy addition to the MCU and a brilliant start to its phase – III. Whether you’re a comic book movie fan or not, this is not a film to be missed. Full marks to directors Anthony and Joe Russo and their team.
Few observations :
1) Despite being the longest Marvel film to-date, it didn’t feel boring or dragged.
2) I watched the Hindi version of the film. The translation and dialogues were spot-on most of the times with the witty banter great. The only irritating factor was Varun Dhawan’s dubbing of Captain America. While he’s a good actor, he certainly wasn’t the best fit as the voice of Cap.
Captain America : Civil War is Rated U/A and is 147 minutes long. It is now playing in cinemas.
Rating : 4/5.
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P.S. : There was some error with the page leading to the data getting erased. As it’s obvious, it has now been corrected. 🙂