Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, William Hurt, Paul Rudd, Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Bruhl, Tom Holland, Martin Freeman, Emily Van Camp, Frank Grillo, Marisa Tomei, John Slattery
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Its interesting how much in common Capt America – Civil War has with that other mega movie headlined by an iconic pair of caped crusaders, you know who. Both films address the repercussions of terrorism, collateral damage and blame games, but where this sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, scores is in its underlining of issues like freedom v/s governmental interference with the titular superhero aka Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) pitted against Iron Man aka Tony Stark ( Robert Downey Jr).
Now, Capt America finds himself battling not only his erstwhile comrade in arms and the dreaded Hydra cabal, but also politicians like US Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) who are eager to control the superheroes. It is not as if the Capt prefers lawlessness or that Iron Man turns his back on liberty and independence. But when personal angst and well-intended secrets spill to the fore, anger and the desire for revenge fractures the do-gooders into opposing factions in the fight against injustice. Is such a thing possible? In this 3D narrative built around Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe, it is.
We see friendship, loyalty, accountability and forgiveness are the thematic mainstays of the adrenaline-charged plot (such stunning action sequences!) as the Avengers choose to operate outside the law. Enlivening the serious proceedings are the antics of Ant-Man (Paul Ruud) and a sweet new Spider-Man (Tom Holland).
German star Daniel Bruhl (playing Helmut Zemo) and Chadwick Boseman’s brilliant Black Panther aka Prince T’Challa fetch up as memorable characters with an agenda. All of the super heroes (example, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton / Hawkeye, Anthony Mackie as Falcon, Paul Bettany as Vision, Don Cheadle as War Machine, etc.) have stand out scenes. As for the ladies. Oh, the ladies! Johansson’s Black Widow and Olsen’s Scarlet Witch are more than just eye candy. The climactic confrontations are full of sound and fury; between the fisticuffs, the Capt makes a strong pitch against corrosive revenge. And as wiser counsel prevails, the super-heroes come to terms with loss and grief and accept the need for burying the hatchet.
I missed Stark’s girl Friday Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), but there’s the glimmer of a new love (Emily Van Camp playing the Capt’s old flame’s niece Sharon Carter) in the latter’s monkish existence. Hopefully, Marvel’s 14th film in the franchise featuring Stan Lee’s much-loved comic book characters will see the spark grow into an enduring flame. Anthony and Joe Russo deserve salaams for helming a flick that is seriously entertaining.