Taking place after the colossal mega-fight that acted as the climax to the latest “Avengers” movie, “Captain America: Civil War” pits the titular character against Iron Man, each leading the charge from opposite sides of a debate over superhuman civil liberties. For anyone that saw "Batman v. Superman" last month, this storyline should sound familiar. That’s because it’s essentially the same thing. After the mass destruction and near apocalyptic amount of deaths the Avengers chalked up across the globe when we saw them last, the non-super people of the world step in this time around to initiate the creation of a UN of sorts for superheroes.
Iron Man is all for this “checks and balances” type system. Captain America, however, doesn’t share the same outlook. In typical Marvel fashion, the former friends resolve their differences not through verbal discourse, but by instigating a massive brawl that includes duking it out on the tarmac of a private airport.
To summarize the story utilizing a ridiculous metaphor, if Marvel decided to build a Las Vegas casino, “Captain America: Civil War” would be the buffet they’d serve in the lobby. The film’s got a little bit of everything to fill you up, but none of it is truly satisfying.
The Captain himself along with Iron Man and Black Widow would be the chicken nuggets and economy size mac-n-cheese if we’re going to stick with the analogy. They’re the crowd favorites and definitely carry the bulk of the action. But this smorgasbord does have some flare to it. That would be the addition of newcomers Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), as well as relative newbie Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). There are even some crazy cameos thrown in for dessert. Yet, once you distill this artery clogging super-hero extravaganza into something a bit more palatable, the end result isn’t very satisfying. With an utter disregard to story and a lackluster premise, there aren’t very many redeeming qualities to this two and a half-hour gut punch.
Speaking of poor story, there’s more! An entire additional sub-plot is introduced along the way. This one includes the Winter Soldier. Remember him from the last Captain America movie baring his name? Yeah, this time around, he actually teams up with Captain in order to track down an Eastern European foe — played by Daniel Bruhl — who is hell-bent on seeking redemption against the entire Avengers group.
There’s certainly a lot going on in “Civil War.” So much so, that the central story gets lost along the way.
Based on the title, this should be a “Captain America” movie, but it really doesn’t play out that way at all. Fans of the character will be disappointed to know that Captain definitely takes the back seat more than once to not only his central adversary in the flick — Iron Man — but also to the myriad cameos that pop up throughout. It would have been great if screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely wrote in more for the title character instead of featuring a plotline that plays out more like Avengers 3.
Despite the incongruous script, there are a couple new faces worthy of praise. Chadwick Boseman (42), who will be getting his own stand-alone film, proves to be a great choice as Black Panther. His character is definitely on the more serious side, and Boseman does well to fuel emotion with some kick-ass fight sequences.
Another newcomer is Tom Holland (The Impossible) as Spider-Man. He’s only given a brief cameo, but the relative unknown definitely wins the audience over in a short amount of time.
The acting is far and away the best part of the entire film. From the first-timers mentioned above, to original stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, the entire cast is great. Even Daniel Bruhl, who gets minimal screen time as a villainous civilian, makes the most of what director’s Anthony and Joe Russo give him.
Unfortunately, that’s where the compliments end. “Civil War” simply tries to squeeze too much into an already bloated 2.5 hour run time. Too many cameos. Too many ridiculous fight sequences and too many mediocre plot twists. For a movie that features “too many” things, there’s just not enough of the one thing that matters most — entertainment.
Runtime: 146 min