Coming hot on the heels of DC Comics’ Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice, this 2016 instalment for Marvel’s comic book characters could easily have been called Captain America Vs Iron Man, or perhaps Avengers Disassemble, as our formerly happy superhero bunch are at each other’s throats – a state of affairs that makes this instalment one of the punchiest (often quite literally) of the franchise.
It seems the world’s governments aren’t too thrilled by the collateral damage left behind after the Avengers’ actions at the end of their previous adventure (Age Of Ultron). The solution is that they should answer to a governing body that would oversee the team, but while Tony Stark/Iron Man (Downey Jr) is surprisingly happy to take orders from above, Steve Rogers/Captain America (Evans) believes they should be free to defend humanity the way they see fit. To make matters more complicated, it seems Steve’s old friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is back and may be responsible for a terrorist attack.
With Thor and Hulk off doing other things, this is all leading to a showdown between Iron Man and Captain America, with Scarlet Witch (Elisabeth Olsen), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Johansson) and Vision (Bettany) forced to choose sides. Other characters are expertly added to the mix, too, from Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) to new kid Peter (Tom Holland) – aka Spider-Man. The latter two get their own moments to shine, with new Spidey even getting some tips in the midst of battle (“I don’t know if you’ve been in a fight before, but there’s not usually this much talk.”)
While some viewers– younger kids especially – may find the first hour a little slow, all the early scenes pay off when the good guys start facing off against the other good guys, and every special effect you can think of explodes across the screen. You won’t know who to root for – Stark’s arguments for being regulated has some flaws, while Rogers is blinded by his friendship with Bucky and belief that he is always bloody right, good and pure – and that’s part of the fun. We just get to sit back and watch the unfolding, fast-paced and action-packed chaos.
This is a movie with a real heart and soul – even the movie’s sort-of bad guy (Daniel Bruhl) has an affecting motive behind his own interference in the supposed happy Avengers family. He’s not the strongest opponent the Avengers have ever had, but who needs that when you have Iron Man and Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow, Ant-man and Spider-Man fighting each other instead? It’s a dazzling spectacle, packed with the sharp lines and great performances we have come to expect, and one that should thrill every fan of this superhero team.
Is Captain America: Civil War suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
This film is a 12A certificate and has numerous fight scenes featuring martial arts kicks and punches as well as multiple explosions and punch ups.
Parents should note there is one scene in which a character is questioned while being forcibly drowned, and younger children may be distressed to see a scene featuring the death of one of the lead character’s parents.