Only a month after Batman faced Superman in DC's pre-Justice League crossover movie, Marvel graces us with Captain America: Civil War, bringing to the screen a sort of mini-Avengers movie steeped in Cap lore based on a classic comic-book storyline.
The film sees Captain America (Chris Evans) having to protect his friend-turned-Hydra pawn Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) who may or may not have attacked the UN. Steve Rogers believes he may have been framed but, when half of The Avengers agree to the Sokovia Accords, a list of laws which would restrict their freedom to jump into action, things get somewhat more complicated and an elaborate manhunt is soon underway. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), after a blunder involving The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) taking out villain Crossbones with a lot of collateral damage, decides that the superteam should probably be held accountable for their destructive efforts but he quickly finds that convincing Captain America of that is not so easy. With the help of newcomer Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Iron Man catches The Winter Soldier but another villain, Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), gets involved and plots more division between the heroes.
As you can tell, this isn't exactly the most straight-forward storyline and, while it may be fascinating for fans of the comics and adults, younger viewers might find themselves not so taken by the politics and the serious thriller vibe. Having said that, the moment the action sequences kick in, everyone's eyes will certainly be wide open. There may not be too many of those but the few that there is are a lot of fun and one big rumble in particular is probably the best fight scene in any of Marvel's output. Tony Stark recruits the help of Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and there's something pretty glorious about not only seeing Peter Parker interact with Stark, but seeing him fight alongside Iron Man against Hawkeye, Captain America and the rest. Spidey's inclusion into the MCU is handled skilfully and it's easily one of the most joyful aspects of Civil War.
I also applaud the writers for managing to include so much character development in a movie this busy, something the Avengers movies usually steer away from prioritising big set-pieces instead. You even get a glimpse of the whole Scarlet Witch/Vision romance. The film's take on Zemo is much more low-key than in the comics but it works: seeing such a meek everyman destroy the superhero team from within all by himself is really interesting and is far more subtle and effective than what Loki was trying in The Avengers. Don't expect him to put on that purple mask, though. The film offers some welcome surprises, a big one having to do with Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and it gives everyone their moment to shine from more familiar faces to new recruits building-up to a one hell of a one-on-one fight.
Packed with tons and tons of delightful fan service, lots of action and character tensions, Civil War completes the Captain America trilogy in style making it the best superhero trio of films since The Dark Knight trilogy. This is a fun, if at times very serious, crossover film which comic-book fans and those who like the Avengers movies should really enjoy. Younger viewers might be tad put off by the long running time and heavy plotting but even they will have a great time once the punching, the kicking and the webbing starts.
Quite simply: a treat.