Family squabbles can get messy. Workplace violence can be frightening.
In Captain America: Civil War, which is really an Avengers movie without Avengers in the title, the battle between the two sides is epic. Then, the final faceoff between Captain America and Iron Man gets even rougher.
The leadup to the big fight (which occurs about 90 minutes into this nearly 2-and-a-half-hour film) centers on concern over collateral damage resulting from past Avengers’ battles with evil entities. Secretary of State Ross (William Hurt) tells the Avengers that 117 countries are about to sign off on accords that would require the Avengers to get approval before any missions.
Captain America (Chris Evans) is opposed to the limitations; Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) thinks they are reasonable. Before resolution of the issue, a bomb explodes at a UN meeting in Vienna. The bomber is Captain America’s childhood friend turned brainwashed bad guy Bucky Barnes AKA Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan).
The son of an African blast victim joins the Avengers on their quest. His superhero character is Panther (Chadwick Boseman).
Before the rumble, Stark recruits a high school kid named Peter Parker, just as he is becoming Spiderman. This latest iteration of the webslinger is portrayed by Tom Holland with wit and charm. (Marisa Tomei is the best-looking Aunt May ever.) Another citizen of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), returns to the big screen and plays a key role in the big melee.
This fight is fierce but more cartoonish than might’ve been guessed. Despite all the firepower from those named, along with Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Vision (Paul Bettany), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), there’s only slight damage: War Machine (Don Cheadle) suffers a significant leg injury. More fighting between Captain America and Ironman follows soon after, with participation from Winter Soldier.
Captain America: Civil War runs the risk of being packed with too many plot points and characters. It risks running too long. But the pacing is good with action and exposition alternating nicely. Robert Downey Jr. is still the best actor of the lot. But, as he matures, Chris Evans continues to bring a stronger screen presence to his role.
Stick around for the Stan Lee cameo, which happens near the end of the film and the brief coda which signals yet another reboot for Underoos (Ironman’s nickname for Spiderman).