Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Am I a fanboy? I mean, I have really enjoyed the resurgence of Marvel superheros, even though I always considered myself to be a DC Comics guy. I loved Batman and Superman when I was collecting comics so many years ago, but I could appreciate Spider-Man and the Hulk, too. The X-men were too much of a soap opera, and Captain America was just a lame guy who took steroids to be just good enough to get his butt handed to him by Aquaman if they ever crossed paths.

Nevertheless, I thought the first Captain America movie was pretty good, and the second one was even better. This one was a bit of a wild card, though, as it was supposed to summarize the very complicated and nuanced Civil War story line, and that means that it includes a lot of characters who aren't Cap. Yes, we still see Chris Evans reprise his role of Johnny Storm Captain America (from The Avengers) with Robert Downey Jr. (from The Avengers) and also Avengers Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, and Elizabeth Olsen. So, we're missing Thor and the Hulk, and this would be another Avengers movie.

The plot for the movie is pretty straight-forward: only half of the heroes are in favor of registering people who have superpowers and letting a group under the UN direct the Avengers from now on. Essentially, it boils down to the unintended consequences and collateral damage that happens when really bad guys do really bad things and the Avengers have stepped in to try to stop them (and caused billions of dollars of damage and many lives were lost as a result). Cap is against the idea, and Iron Man is for it (which really doesn't make sense with Tony Stark's character thus far).

Once we look past the fact that several of the people including Black Widow and Hawkeye don't actually have superpowers, yet they still fall under jurisdiction of this law somehow, we find that the law is half-assed at best, negotiated in secret, and it is a world law that was not actually ratified by the US congress, so essentially it shouldn't have anywhere near the teeth that it is implied to have.

Going on with all of this is the subplot of Bucky Barnes (the Winter Soldier) trying to overcome his mental conditioning now that he is free from Hydra control. What does mind control mean? Yes, we get a villain who tries to use the mind control to his own ends to try to fight these heroes and pit them against each other even more than they already are.

New to this movie are a few characters that we've not seen in the mainstream movies yet. They managed to shoehorn Ant Man in, even though it didn't seem like a particularly natural fit. He was such a small part (hehe) that his comic relief wasn't enough relief, but it was surprising and nice to see Paul Rudd as part of the actual cinematic universe. We also got introduced to Chadwick Boseman playing Black Panther. I was skeptical about the upcoming Black Panther movie before, but this guy has some screen presence, so I think it might be a winner.

Why can't War Machine get his own movie?
Overshadowed by everything is the headline that Tom Holland was introduced as the official Spider-Man for the cinematic universe. Will he be replaced later like Terrence Howard was by Don Cheadle as War Machine? Maybe. I hope not. The character was written MUCH better than the previous incarnation and the one before that. He is very reflective of the comic book character that I really liked back when I collected them, and I hope he stays.

Effects were very good
Acting was outstanding
Direction was good
Story was a bit too condensed
Dialogue was good

Bottom Line: Probably the worst Avengers movie so far, the second best Captain America movie, the second best Iron Man film, or the best Spider-man movie.

3.5/5

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