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'Captain America: Civil War' Sets A New Benchmark For Superhero Movies

06/05/2016 8:27 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Actors (L-R) Emily VanCamp, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, pose for photographers at a media event ahead of the release of, "Captain America: Civil War", in London, Britain, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Captain America: Civil War is the third and the latest film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America, the other two being Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, Civil War features an ensemble cast featuring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, William Hurt, and Daniel Brühl. The movie picks up one year after the events of Age of Ultron with the Avengers splitting into two opposing factions, one led by Steve Rogers and the other by Tony Stark, on the issue of UN-led political interference in the Avengers' activities.

What starts off as ideological schism over civil rights soon takes the form of an all-hell-break-loose battle for survival between Team Cap and Team Iron Man.

During an Avengers mission in Lagos, Nigeria led by Captain America, new recruit Wanda Maximoff inadvertently causes a building to explode, killing a number of relief aid workers in the process. The incident significantly adds to the international community's scepticism about the nobility of the Avengers' work. When the Avengers learn that the UN is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords with the aim of establishing an international governing body to monitor the rapidly growing superhuman population, Tony Stark, still feeling guilty for giving rise to a menace like Ultron, chooses to support the accord, but Steve Rogers, wary of hidden governmental agendas staunchly opposes it. What starts off as ideological schism over civil rights soon takes the form of an all-hell-break-loose battle for survival between Team Cap and Team Iron Man. Sounds familiar? Well, in today's age of superhero franchises, one can't really expect much novelty as far as the storylines are concerned. What really matters is how fluently the story gets executed and how well the subplots are tied.

Civil War comes across as one of those rare superhero movies that rely a great deal on the plot. The film is not merely a marked improvement on Age of Ultron, both in terms of story and action, but it actually proves to be a new benchmark as far as the genre is concerned.

The key to an effective standoff between two major characters is the build-up. That's precisely where Civil War gets it right.

Like all good superhero movies, it is the characters that ultimately shine here: be it Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, Black Panther or Falcon. And, yes, the epic clash between Captain America and Iron Man certainly lives up to its hype unlike the disappointing clash between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that had left most of us cold. The key to an effective standoff between two major characters is the build-up. That's precisely where Civil War gets it right.

Overall, Captain America: Civil War proves to be a thoroughly entertaining affair. Clearly, Marvel once again has one upped DC. With the Justice League movies lined up, Zack Synder and company have their job cut out if they want to pose any serious challenge to the seemingly unchallengeable Avengers franchise. If you thought that Tony Stark's wry humour was the coolest thing about the franchise, wait till you have seen the young Spidey smart-talk his way out of a tricky situation. Captain America: Civil War is the perfect Hollywood summer blockbuster that will disappoint few. Highly recommended!

Rating: A -

A This review was first published in A Potpourri of Vestiges.

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