Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War — ironically — treads ground covered just a couple of weeks ago by D.C. Comics Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Super heroes eliminate bad guys in bunches, but in the process, are killing innocent people. In Batman v. Superman, it was Congress and a congresswoman. Here, it’s the U.S. secretary of state speaking for the United Nations.
Governments around the world want the Avengers to sign a pact saying they won’t fight anyone or anything unless asked by that body. Protecting the innocent is the reason.
Robert Downey, Jr’s. Iron Man and some of the Avengers agree. Captain America — played again quite nicely by Chris Evans — refuses. That sets up a battle of wills between Iron Man and Captain America with the other Avengers taking sides. Then Cap’s best bud Bucky — who is the Winter Soldier — gets accused of attacking a United Nations meeting and killing innocent people. But Bucky may or may not be behind the attack. That sets up a different conflict.
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Captain America: Civil War is much more complicated and more interesting than that synopsis, but those are the basics.
Two things to love about the movie. First, the writing is exceptional, and Christopher Marcus and Stephen McFeely — who wrote the first two Captain Americas — finally hit their stride. The dialogue is as fast and free as the action sequences. And unlike earlier efforts — except for Ant-Man — this one is packed with laugh-a-minute punchlines. The best belly laughs come at a scene with Spider-Man and Ant-Man.
Second. Spider-Man. After five shots at it, the two writers and directors Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) are the first to get the character right. Spidey is played by Tom Holland (In the Heart of the Sea), and he’s flat out funny. Holland tosses lines out much like the master of mirth did when I read the comics as a kid.
Equally fun is Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man.
How good is this movie? Russo brothers and the two writers did this one so well that they’ve been tabbed to do the next two Avengers movies.
Up front, and as most of you know, I rarely like super hero movies. Early on I did, yes. But the last dozen — with the exception of Ant-Man and X-Men: First Class — have been formulaic clones of each other and not interesting. For two hours, you’re dragged through personal conflict with an action scene or two sprinkled in to keep things interesting. Then in the last half-hour, a city, country or planet is destroyed.
Captain America: Civil War is different. It rivets you to your seat from the get go and does it going in a dozen directions at breakneck speed. This is as much fun as you can possibly have in a theater.
Captain America: Civil War
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo
Stars: Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olson, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, William Hurt, Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, John Slattery, Hope Davis, Alfre Woodard, Stan Lee
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some language, violence. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Queensgate 12, and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.