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Captain America: Civil War
Genre Sci-Fi
 
Review:

Captain America: Civil War continues in the tradition of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It sounds like an obvious statement when you consider it follows as a sequel, but these sequels are very different from Captain America: The First Avenger. The first installation was an origins story and focused on Steve Rogers, or Captain America, played by Chris Evans. While more than competent, Evans isn't the most charming actor to don spandex and despite his best efforts to fly solo, a captain needs a team.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier got this right, bringing Black Widow, Nick Fury and Falcon to the rescue as a well-balanced man-on-the-run superhero action thriller unfolded. Evans had Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson to lean on with an equal-opposite in Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier. Joe and Anthony Russo took the reins from Joe Johnston and the sequel was dubbed "Avengers 1.5".

As if entrusted with this mantle, Joe and Anthony Russo have delivered what will probably be dubbed "Avengers 2.5" in Captain America: Civil War. This time, we're presented with an even larger ensemble of superheroes as Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Steve Rogers (Captain America) call in a few favours from close friends.

The Avengers, a global "peace-keeping" unit based in the United States, draw criticism as mounting collateral damage on a global scale forces the hand of an international tribunal who want them to be held accountable. The signing of the new accords divide the team into two factions as Stark believes they should comply and Rogers resists. The lines are drawn (quite literally) and an all-out superhero skirmish commences.

Captain America: Civil War has a similar shape to Captain America: The Winter Soldier as Rogers goes on the lam once again. Instead of going head-to-head with a worthy adversary in The Winter Soldier, he's up against a friend turned foe in Iron Man. The battle of the egos means there's plenty of action and comedy in this sequel.

The action comes in waves at regular intervals and lights up the screen with dazzling visual effects and fight choreography in which fists and superpowers mesh seamlessly. Then, the comedy has a similar patter with the ultimate showdown between funnyman Stark and straight Rogers. The bravado is a great launchpad and there are many laugh-out-loud moments as Falcon, Ant-Man and Spider-Man take a share in the spoils.

While Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen and Emily VanCamp feature, this is a testosterone-fueled escapade. The star-studded line-up includes: Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Paul Rudd, Daniel Bruhl, William Hurt, Sebastian Stan with our very own John Kani as King T'Chaka, King who? Civil War welcomes Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland to a war of political swagger, below-the-belt zingers and brute force. At one point, Steve Rogers uses his sheer brawn in a moment so ridiculous, there's bound to be a spoof. The tone starts off in a fairly playful way and then as with all schoolyard fights becomes much more heated and personal.

The star-studded ensemble may be missing some old faces, but is still colossal. While it tilts in favour of the guys, it's great to see more black actors in key roles. The sequel relies heavily on visual effects and while fast and furious, it retains a consistency and integrity thanks to the efforts of a plethora of visual effect companies.

The versus story was inevitable and the match up is classic, making this title fight spectacular as a one-on-one and tag team effort. The story has heart and the characters have depth despite the expansive cast, who each somehow get a show in. The jocular tone adds a layer of entertainment, while the visual extravaganza helps carry the load of more than 2 hours of sharp-as-nails superhero action.

There are one or two moments that could've have done with more polish and forethought, especially around "Wakanda", but this is a spectacular sequel and while not quite as surprising as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it packs a punch with a bigger cast, fresh recruits, loads of laughs, solid CGI and blistering action set pieces. It's best seen after the events of The Winter Soldier and could have done with more blood and grit, but it's really well-balanced when you consider it fell from the Disney tree.

The bottom line: Entertaining


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