Should the Avengers be nationalised? That is the controversial idea that ignites a ‘civil war’ among their ranks in this excitingly explosive extravaganza, notably the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s surreal, engaging and funny in the best possible way, building to a twist in line with the secrecy and betrayal that fills the ranks of Earth’s mightiest heroes.
A pulsing opening sequence in Lagos ends with Scarlett Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) inadvertently killing dozens of people and trashing a building while trying to stop Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) from killing Captain America (Chris Evans). Her actions spark a debate that questions the countless civilian deaths and collateral damage that have followed the Avengers since they assembled. Without a fully-operational S.H.I.E.L.D. the issue has become too serious to ignore, so the UN have taken matters into their own hands, drawing up a treaty, the ‘Sokovia Accords’ which limits their operations to as and when they’re needed.
With political measures and control in place, Captain America is not happy. He makes a stand for the Avengers’ independence and quickly opposes the Accords. Lining up behind him are the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Scarlett Witch. On the other side is Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) who joins the political crusade saying its better that the Avengers are kept in check because of everything they’ve done. Joining him are War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Vision (Paul Bettany).
As the lines are drawn, the civil war between the team might have been provoked by a German agent (Daniel Bruhl) who wants to expose the dangerous Winter Solider and the secrets experiments he was a part of, dating back to 1991. In doing so, he frames the Winter Solider for an explosion in Vienna during the signing of the Accords, where Iron Man and Black Panther see him as a threat that needs to be taken down. Naturally, Captain America defends his friend hoping there’s enough of the old Bucky left in him to bring him back to reality.
The thrilling part of this extravaganza is the 20-or-so minute fight scene between both sides. It’s exhilarating, thrilling and so much fun that delivers the best one-liners and surprises. Who doesn’t love superheroes scratching at each other’s throats? A late addition sees Spider-Man join Iron Man’s roster after Tony Stark pays him a visit in one of the film’s best scenes. Tom Holland makes his debut as the young boy who’s already under-way in his vigilante career, setting up his solo film due next year.
Captain America: Civil War is nothing less than superhero brilliance. It questions political agendas, the limits of political power and the legality of superheroes. The ‘civil war’ between the Avengers isn’t one that’s expected to have a definite outcome, but its suggested that Captain America is the one that will come out on top. It is, after all, his movie and by the end, the pieces are neatly put in place for Marvel’s upcoming adventures.