Review: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ pits hero against hero

PLOT The Avengers split into two warring superhero factions

CAST Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan, Scarlett Johansson

RATING PG-13 (Strong action-violence, mild language)


BOTTOM LINE Another slick product from the Disney-Marvel machine

It’s becoming a cliché to say that everything was building to this with each and every new Marvel movie, but with “Captain America: Civil War,” everything was building to this.

The latest entry in the episodic Marvel cinematic universe pits hero against hero for the least likely reason. While taking on a powered up villain, The Avengers team accidentally cause a considerable amount of collateral damage, not to mention the loss of life.

This hits Iron Man, aka Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), pretty hard, who agrees to sign an accord from the United Nations that would allow the heroes to basically be controlled by that organization. The movie is loosely based on the “Civil War” comic book from 2006-07 by writer Mark Millar (“Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Kick-Ass,” “Wanted”) and artist Steve McNiven.

Some heroes agree with Stark, and some, led by Captain America (Chris Evans), don’t. Of course, it’s situations like this where cooler heads never prevail. Cue the fight scene. And then about 15 more fight scenes. These showdowns do begin to run long, and toward the end of the film, scenes without any punching are like an oasis in a desert of testosterone.

This is a film that will certainly appeal to folks looking for big action, exotic locals, funny quips and edge-of-your-seat thrills. But amid that punching, kicking, laser beams and acrobatics is a serious discussion about doing what’s right and free will. It was in comic book “Amazing Fantasy” 15 the first appearance of Spider-Man — who we will get to shortly — where Stan Lee wrote “With great power there must also come great responsibility.” This idea is at the heart of “Civil War,” and it’s approached in an intelligent way that never gets too preachy, or, more importantly, in the way of fisticuffs.

A globe-trotting adventure flick that does make you think? Let’s give this a round of applause.

There’s a lot to know going into “Civil War” — the movie is built on the past films and has a massive cast of heroes, villains and politicians. It’s a testament to the directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, and screen writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, that the movie isn’t bogged down with continuity and manages to not only give some great moments to the many established characters, but also manages to introduce a pair of new heroes and a new villain.

This film marks the introduction of Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and dare I say that it is the finest interpretation of the character on screen. Tom Holland, who plays Spider-Man/Peter Parker, is a revelation: funny, witty and an actual teenager. He really captures the playful aspect of the character and fans, including this one, will be begging for a new “Spider-Man” movie.

The second new hero here is Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman as a noble prince with a mean streak, an awesome costume and some serious fighting skills. His character is pivotal to the plot of “Civil War,” and he’s deservedly due to be spun off into a “Black Panther” film in 2018 by director Ryan Coogler (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station”).

Daniel Bruhl takes on the villain role of Zemo, a very different type of bad guy and certainly a big change from the likes of Ultron or Red Skull. But he is certainly menacing in his own unique way.

“Captain America: Civil War” is another strong Marvel movie that balances fan service, strong storytelling and big action. And the ending of this film will most certainly be built on by the next set of flicks. Clichés, of course, are clichés for a reason.