Captain America: Civil War is the second recent superhero film (besides Batman v Superman) to address the human cost of being a superhero—in terms of the collateral damage of the superhero’s actions on the welfare of the general population.
To be sure, this is something I was wondering about since the days when Godzilla stopped being the villain and began to embody (for lack of a better word) the role of the “hero.” You see, no matter what role Godzilla played, Japan was going to be destroyed. It would quickly be rebuilt (in time for the next movie), and on each occasion, Godzilla’s return would be greeted with gleeful anticipation by an evidently forgetful populace.
In a nutshell, after an epic battle between the Avengers (led by Captain America) and some evildoers (do you really need the names?), the lead villain blows himself up—in the act of trying to move the human fireball away with her telekinetic powers, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) inadvertently destroys a building, killing a number of people. This loss of life (in addition to last year’s battle that put an end to the Age of Ultron) leads the Secretary of State (William Hurt) to insist on United Nations oversight for the Avengers. Oddly enough (but convenient in dramatic terms), the team is split, with Tony Stark (aka Ironman) supporting the motion, while Captain America is strongly against it, believing the team would be compromised if it isn’t free to seek out and defeat evildoers. Add to the mix an assortment of other superheroes (some fresh from their own movies), a vengeful new king (Chadwick Bozeman), a new villain, and the return of Bucky Barnes (and the possibility that he might have been set up for a fatal explosion), and you have a very busy, mildly thought-provoking, and occasionally exciting piece of entertainment.
As with the other Avengers films (which this is, the title to the contrary), most of the enjoyment comes from watching our intrepid heroes (led by an effective Chris Evans as Captain Rogers aka captain America) verbally spar among themselves. However in this installment, civil war means going against each other, notably in the film’s best sequence, an exciting, well-staged, controlled battle at an airport (with some surprise guests). The problem is the soul-searching drama doesn’t mesh with the overly choreographed, dizzying, incredible (in the purest sense of the word) action sequences in which all manner of plausibility is thrown to the winds—at least when one can determine who is doing what to whom. One waits for the moments when Robert Downey’s Ironman clashes (in so many ways) with Captain America, or when the conflicting allegiances among the others come into play. Captain America: Civil War has its share of fitful excitement, but the bits you’ll remember are the more “intimate” action scenes and the witty contributions of the, shall we say, subsidiary players.