Movie review: Captain America Civil War
Chris Evans returns as the reflective patriot Steve Rogers in this latest Avengers saga that tries to stuff far too many problems, plot points and people into its skintight pants
Captain America: Civil War
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Paul Bettany, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Daniel Bruhl, Tom Holland
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Running time: 2hrs 26 mins
MPAA Rating: PG-13
By Katherine Monk
Remember “all-dressed” potato chips? They were the fairy tale ending for MSG: A starchy vehicle for every brand of artificial flavoring cooked up in the lab: barbeque, salt, vinegar, ketchup, dill pickle, cheddar… whatever.
They were designed to please every taste bud, every sinful salty-greasy hankering, but in the end, they just tasted like sodium and chemicals – a salt bomb guaranteed to turn your mouth into the Atacama while dyeing your fingers a deep orange.
The central problem was a surfeit of competition for your tastebud’s attention: Bombarded by every kind of scientifically designed flavor crystal, there’s too much going on to really process, resulting in a generic salt fix.
Captain America: Civil War is the movie equivalent of the all-dressed potato chip: A junk food classic that can’t be denied, but can never truly satisfy our desire for something original.
Returning Captain America writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely reteam with directors Anthony and Joe Russo to throw every beloved and familiar flavor in the bag, beginning with Steve Rogers – aka Captain America.
Perhaps the most emotionally engaging of all the superheroes in the Avengers stable, Captain America was a beanpole weakling who was transformed into a super-fighter by the U.S. military. His origin story, Captain America (The First Avenger, 2011), remains one of the best superhero movies in the comic book canon because it not only gave us a relatable character who transformed in every way imaginable, it had the ability to focus.
This Captain America suffers from bad case of attention deficit disorder, scrambling around from one plotline to the next in a rabid bid to entertain the masses while keeping the fanboys flipping through their Comicon Codex, ensuring the laws of the Marvel universe remain intact.
And maybe the fanboys are part of the problem. Maybe studios are so eager to please the card-carrying fanbase for their franchise movies, they’re reluctant to switch it up – or even create a new running gag for each character.
Captain America: Civil War reunites most of the past players and introduces a few new faces, including yet another Spider-Man (played by Tom Holland) and a cat named Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).
It would take another five hundred words to explain the plot and the reasons why Spidey and Black Panther appear, but as the title suggests, this is a movie where the war is fought from within. The Avengers are put under the supervision of the United Nations to prevent any abuse of their superpowers, but not everyone in spandex and silicon can agree to the terms.
Ironically, the normally rebellious Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is the one who feels they should fall into line and obey the elected officials, while the typically loyal Boy Scout they call Captain America feels they should remain autonomous. (For more on this, see my review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier.)
The remaining Avengers pick sides, and while this could have been a gusher of dramatic material that chiseled out the political metaphors of patriotism-v-statelessness, obedience-v-free will, superpowers versus banal human evil, nothing comes of it except massive battle sequences that are close to impossible to follow, and fail to feed any suspense.
At this point, even the particular nature of each superhero’s power feels blurry, with Captain America capable of something close to flight and everyone else proving bulletproof. The fight scenes have no suspense, and even the reappearance of Bucky, the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) who was once Cap’s best friend, feels forced and entirely without feeling.
The best line belongs to Vision (Paul Bettany), who points out his own limited understanding of the whole chaotic situation when he points to the gem in his skull and says something like “I have no idea what this does.”
At that point, the godlike cyborg becomes the most relatable character in the movie because we’re in a similar position: a jewel of a comic book franchise is lodged in our brains, but we’re starting to question its purpose.
THE EX-PRESS, May 7, 2016
52 Replies to "Captain America: Civil War goes South"
Orlando May 10, 2016 (3:36 pm)
@KMOEXPRESS – Oh brother what? Not talking to you and a fair warning, if you don’t want to get burned stay in your place because I got the match and gasoline waiting BROTHER.
kmoexpress May 10, 2016 (6:16 pm)
It’s an expression of exasperation. I should have said “Oh dear.” And yes, I do know who Black Panther is. And I grew up on comics. I love them. And I’ve loved a lot of comic book movies. Just not this one. Please don’t threaten violence. It’s just a movie. I mean no one any harm. I’m sorry if my review offended you. Ps. I loved the new X-Men movie.
Chaich May 12, 2016 (8:36 pm)
Of course you did – it’s currently trending at 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, who sums it up like this: Critics Consensus: Overloaded with action in a vain effort to compensate for a lack of genuine excitement, X-Men: Apocalypse is a middling disappointment for the franchise.
NULL May 10, 2016 (12:26 pm)
Apologies if the pool boy comment was creepy, I was just kidding 🙁
Orlando May 10, 2016 (4:13 am)
Some cat named Black Panther? The name is T’Challa who happens to be king/ruler of Wakanda, a brilliant scientist, skilled warrior who’s master several forms of martial arts, skilled strategist, master acrobat and one of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world. Also Black Panther is the first black super hero from comics created by Stan Lee and the late Jack Kirby in July 1966. Lady do some research before you go throwing stupid ass names out, damn I hate ignorant people and I hate mediocre critics like you even more.
kmoexpress May 10, 2016 (9:08 am)
OldBob May 9, 2016 (12:45 pm)
And so it goes. Amazing.
Skeeter Parker May 9, 2016 (10:03 am)
Lmao! These people defending this mediocre movie is absolutely ludicrous. The fights had no suspense for one; nobody really wanted to hurt anybody, two; half the characters were either talking or cracking forced jokes to make light of a situation that was already light in tone to begin with, three; no major character was gonna die. The Marvel formula is quite insatiable at this point. No real consequences or conclusions to anything. They’ll all be back together, once Infinity Wars rolls around, in some form of unity or another. The big talk about shaking up this universe was just that, talk. Everything felt largely the same after the movie save for more new characters and some people not being friends anymore. That is not exactly earth shattering in my opinion. It just felt like a season finale to a tv show that’ll pick up with its spin off of its spin off of its spin off and people will continually go and watch without the reasoning to see whats really going on. They give you just enough to check off their people pleasing list and leave lesser minded one thinking they have watched some deeply enthralling piece of cinema. Its not. Its just…. ok.
Fred May 10, 2016 (3:27 pm)
Haha defend this mediocre film, fool ‘Civil War’ is over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and has a 75 score on Meta Critic. It’s far from being a mediocre film among the masses, maybe it is to you but you’re in the minority. The only kind of people who have to defend something is YOU and why you don’t like the film, which you’re entitled to do. It’s just clearly obvious you and I we’re watching a completely different film, as far as i’m concerned ‘Civil War’ is a masterful film in every way. I won’t knock you because you have s….. taste in films and probably wouldn’t know a good one if you we’re slapped in the face with it, but perhaps if you we’re cracked upside your head you would lmao.
EJ Borselle May 9, 2016 (5:54 am)
Katherine – maybe someone who doesn’t like comic book movies shouldn’t review comic book movies ya? Your POV is out of touch with the target audience who overwhelmingly found this latest Marvel addition exceedingly joyful and entertaining. You say this story is unoriginal – how so? The storyline covers new ground as the hero’s split sides which is totally a new approach that we have not seen in Marvel movie versions to date, so totally confused by your view here. It’s almost as if you have no idea what you are talking about at all, just making up words to give a critique which is uninformed and frankly, embarrassing … please stick to movie genre’s you know and can give an honest review of.
kmoexpress May 9, 2016 (8:37 am)
I LOVE comic book movies. Start with a new premise.
robert May 8, 2016 (8:22 pm)
I’m thoroughly confused as to how you saw this movie. It hasn’t come out on DVD yet so how could you have seen it in the kitchen? Can I speak to your husband? I’m sure he’d want to hear about this.
Lyle Story May 8, 2016 (7:34 pm)
Please stop trying to sound intelligent by using big words, ’cause you sound like a fucking retard, and this review is the biggest pile of shit I’ve ever seen, you point out no suspense in fights when we all wonder whether War Machine is dead, you say that Bucky was forced and emotionless while he is one of the most dramatic characters in the film who is one of the most fucked up. Captain America isn’t close to flight,and “some cat” is the Black Panther who is one of the Avengers in the original comic books, everyone that is bulletproof is Vision, War Machine, and Iron Man. There was plenty of suspense. This also has some of the worst metaphors and figures of speech I’ve ever read in my life. Also this is not just to make the fan boys happy. Everyone that I know that has seen this movie say it is the best movie they’ve seen in a long time, if you want to go hate on a movie, then go do one on Batman v. Superman which is fucking garbage compared to this movie. And this movie is based on an actual comic you fuck, and it has basically the same plot, and they’re sticking to the original, because it would be fucking terrible if they didn’t. This concludes my reply to your review, now go fuck yourself.
OldBob May 9, 2016 (12:47 pm)
Take this a little personally don’t ya think?
OldBob May 8, 2016 (5:39 pm)
The Marvell fan boys use the same arguments the dc fan boys did for BvS. Literally. “You don’t understand the film,” “don’t review what you don’t like,” “it’s a conspiracy.” Seriously thick group shift happening here.
kmoexpress May 9, 2016 (8:38 am)
Oh Old Bob! Thank you for your insights. I’m flabbergasted at how vociferously people defend garbage.
Chaich May 9, 2016 (1:51 pm)
I like movies that are good – I wish BvS was good, but it simply wasn’t (28%RT); I liked what Nolan did, hated what Snyder has done – conversely, CA:CW is at 90% on RT & yet Monk gave it the exact same rating of 2.5/5. Did you see either movies OldBob?
Chaich May 10, 2016 (8:28 pm)
…Didn’t think so.
Null May 8, 2016 (2:24 pm)
I happen to personally disagree with the low score you assigned, but you have a ton of really well constructed points. Just can’t understand Hit Man getting a better score than Civil War.
I am a feminist and I don’t want to come off sexist, but you are genuinely gorgeous. Could you ever use a young 20’s pool boy if he was clean cut and ripped? Always have loved your work and I’m moving to Vancouver if Trump wins haha! (Wish I was asking as a joke)
Erik Shun May 8, 2016 (2:20 pm)
Seriously, you trash comic book fans, trash the introductions of new characters, make fun of the fictional characters for being fictional, and come up with the stupidest analogy for the film. What business do you have critiquing this movie if you’re already against it from the start. All I can say is good job, you got me clicking to this garbage review, but it will be the last one that’s for sure.
Franc May 8, 2016 (4:38 am)
You are wrong.
kmoexpress May 8, 2016 (9:05 am)
No. You are wrong. So there. Aren’t we accomplishing a lot now?
Michelle May 8, 2016 (2:51 pm)
Some reviewer you are. What a cunt.
kmoexpress May 9, 2016 (8:41 am)
Oh my! What a terrible critic of criticism you are! And so rude! C U Next Tuesday…Michelle. Wow… that doesn’t even feel good. You must be very unhappy.
Michelle May 9, 2016 (5:38 pm)
“C U Next Tuesday… Michelle” The hell? You dumb or some shit? I’m just saying, you’re a horrible reviewer who uses terrible analogies. Potato chips? Really?
kmoexpress May 10, 2016 (9:09 am)
Oh! My. You are so so unhappy. PS. Now I see the problem. I should have explained what potato chips are. They are a snack food made from potatoes, deep fried in oil, and covered in things that have been scientifically designed to make you want more. And I love them.
Sam May 9, 2016 (6:25 pm)
This review is bad and you should feel bad.
kmoexpress May 10, 2016 (9:08 am)
I feel good. Like I knew that I would…
Andrew May 8, 2016 (9:48 pm)
This review would be appropriate if this was Batman vs Superman– that was a case of ADD. Hard to take you seriously when you think the first movie of this series was the best one, when the 2nd one, winter soldier was the superior movie. The first movie had the overused cliches and usual tropes of cinema that you attribute to Civil War
Most of the Marvel movies have succeeded because the audience is able to connect emotionally with the characters. Hard to take you seriously when you have nothing to support your argument except your inability to follow the plot points of the movie. Civil War is a culmination of the internal conflict and tensions developed from the other movies in the Marvel universe movies. If you havent seen the relevant movies since the release of the first Captain America, its understandable that you’d be lost.
Sam May 9, 2016 (5:40 pm)
Why are you trying to sound intelligent when you really are not yourself?
kmoexpress May 10, 2016 (9:09 am)
Not myself? Why, I feel completely like me.
Shawn Smith May 8, 2016 (1:17 am)
You know, when you find yourself in such a small minority, even among your own peers, perhaps you simply have it wrong. While you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, you might want to try to remain at least factually correct. In what way does the movie scramble “around from one plotline to the next” as you put it? This was one of the most focused of the Marvel stories to date, focusing solely on the plotline of supervision and accountability vs. freedom. Really, the only subplot was directly tied into the primary one as the impetus which brought about the conflict in the first place.
Natalie May 8, 2016 (12:35 am)
You spent more words explaining your tortured potato chip analogy than putting together a coherent argument to support your opinion. In your pre-determined zeal to hate this movie, it appears that you missed the smart subplot and political commentary. This newest Marvel addition does, in fact, “mix it up.” When is the last time a blockbuster movie so deftly delineated the exact issues that have plagued U.S. foreign policy going back at least as far as WWII? It’s not the best movie of the year- not even the best Marvel movie. But CA:CW at least had more substance than your review.
Chaich May 7, 2016 (9:07 pm)
So let’s see… you gave Captain America: Civil War (91% RT) 2.5/5 Hmmm ok, so lets see how that relates to other movies you’ve given that 2.5 rating to:
A Good Day to Die Hard (14% RT); Serena (17% RT); Transformers:Age of Extinction (18% RT); Pompeii (28% RT); 3 Days to Kill (28% RT) Wow, nice company…
Ok then, let’s see what you think is better than Marvel’s latest offering, just to put it in perspective:
Sex Tape (17% RT) you gave that a 3.5; Freebirds (18% RT) you gave that 3.5 as well; The Host (8% RT) you gave 3 to; as you did Hitman: Agent 47(8% RT); Rock the Kasbah (8% RT) & The Day the Earth Stood Still (21% RT).
So what does that tell us beside the fact that you seem to have no barometer to what’s actually good or bad, or that you are painfully out of step with your peers? You should probably hang up your purse…
Seriously Katherine, do you really think any of those movies on your 3 and up list are better than Civil War? Really? Honestly?
kmoexpress May 8, 2016 (9:04 am)
Chaich May 8, 2016 (9:20 am)
The Host, Sex Tape? clearly you’re wrong and won’t admit it – stop going to movies you don’t like just so you can give them a shitty review – or to painfully squeeze one of your poorly thought out analogies (Your ‘All-Dressed Chips’ is a short, ugly, red-headed stepson to George Kostanza’s ‘Jerkstore’).
People May 7, 2016 (8:28 pm)
It’s like we didn’t watch the same film. Or perhaps, as you seem to suggest, there is simply too much going on. But only for you. The average moviegoer is perfectly capable of parsing the chaotic action, because the Russo Brothers have done an excellent job of making each clash both intelligible and emotionally impactful. Even the most chaotic seqence, the airport fight, does not devolve into meaningless action. Again, it seems that we have watched different films. That, or you are simply a lazy moviegoer.
Johnnie May 7, 2016 (7:46 pm)
wow you spent the first 100 words of your review talking about an all-dressed potato chip, something no one remembers. Is that the best comparison you could come up with?
Larry May 7, 2016 (7:44 pm)
You suck, and your review is probably paid for by warner brothers.
kmoexpress May 8, 2016 (9:03 am)
Ha ha ha! You funny. And you suck, too.
kmoexpress May 8, 2016 (9:11 am)
Do you see a single ad on our site? We’re beholden to no one.
Jay Eff May 7, 2016 (4:49 pm)
With all due respect sir, I could not disagree more with your assessment of this movie. I will go ahead and out myself as a card-carrying comic book fanboy. Having said that, I disagree with your comment that this film suffers from too much fan service. If you examine the original source material, you would find that the Russo Brothers departed significantly from the plot points of the original comic in many ways that do not detract from the film and even improved upon the original story.
With respect to your second point that the movie has too many plot lines, I must also respectfully disagree. Not sure if you and I were watching the same movie, but the movie I saw was following a very basic plot, a conflict of ideologies. Iron Man is arguing the point that power must be held in check, where is Captain America is arguing that some moral choices must be made outside of hierarchical structures of government. I’ll grant you there are several characters in this movie, but each of them furthers the plot by representing the different points of view on this conflict.
Lastly, I would challenge your assertion that this movie is unoriginal. In an age where superhero beat-em up movies with the cliched good versus evil plot are plentiful, I think it’s rather unique to see a movie that addresses a true moral dilemma, one that is so relevant in an age where we are constantly having to evaluate the price of our security. But of course that’s just one man’s opinion..
kmoexpress May 8, 2016 (9:12 am)
Hey! Katherine is a woman’s name, just so we start on the right foot. But the movie is boring. Plain and simple.
Jay Eff May 8, 2016 (4:28 pm)
Apologies for the “sir” in my previous message. I meant no offense. I simply misread the author’s name.
Would mind answering two questions? Could it be that this genre of film is just not your cup of tea? If so, no problem. You like what you like and no one can fault you for that. I’m curious if you have liked any of the recent superhero films. Thanks.
kmoexpress May 9, 2016 (8:40 am)
It’s because I love comic book movies that this was such a disappointment. Check out my review of Deadpool. FOUR STARS… because it was well-written, focused on character development and didn’t condense everything into a tagline.
Ted Miller May 7, 2016 (3:51 pm)
Maybe people that don’t like westerns shouldn’t review westerns because they will never like them! Conversely people that don’t like superhero movies shouldn’t review superhero movies because they will never like them! You do not get the fact that superhero movies aren’t about picking posies in a meadow and reciting poetry in a boat with your lover in your lap rowing gently into the sunset! You complain that the plot is too convoluted then basically explain the whole plot in a couple sentences! While yearning for an overly moral complex plot instead….yawn! Sorry there was no world war 2 background for this one which is the entire reason you liked the first captain America! Not for the superhero aspect at all! Just start your review for superhero movies with the disclaimer….. I HATE SUPERHERO MOVIES
Moviefan44 May 7, 2016 (3:31 pm)
Yes, I agree with you. The movie felt confusing and lacked focus. The first captain America movie was a true gem. I found the third to be the weakest of them so far.
Justin Hinckley May 7, 2016 (3:21 pm)
When an article is wildly off base, lacking any substantiation for their larger assertions and arguments. The film is actually solid in its potrayal of the costs if being a hero, a mature topic yet to be actually displayed or fleshed out. And this film actually does it quite well, in an emotional and mature way. We also witness and experience acting that is top level, with character moments that exceed the heights of previous films in the superhero genre. What this critic fails to do is to penetrate the surface of the film, and instead gives us a shallow and pedantic review whose sole qualm is that nothing is original. Well, that could be said of all genres of film, since many films copy tropes or themes. What a film should do, first is have a novel approach. Secondly, it should entertain and amuse. And if it’s an adaptation, it must have a reveranse or be faithful to the source material. And the film handles all these elements masterfully, with precision and accuracy. If this review was worth a piss, it would actually be objective and unbiased. As a film this is no Godfather, in our modern era of film, it is far more adept at presenting an action/sci fi flick that has depth and meaning.
Yo Skolo May 7, 2016 (3:15 pm)
M. Leland Smith May 7, 2016 (2:53 pm)
So glad somebody realizes how unoriginal and flat this movie is. It’s just like you described – though I myself call it “A plastic, tinsel and light barage of color with no depth beyond one single solitary idea : people get sad when someone they love dies (specifically – and in order : A mysterious woman in the hallway, Steve Rogers / Captain America, T’Chala / Black Panther, Baron Zemo, and Tony Stark / Iron Man). “.
The action is nauseating. I mean seriously nauseating. I watched it in 3d which was a terrible mistake (and I LOVE 3d movies). The post film stereo conversion was so choppy that I had to take my glasses off multiple times during the movie just to get a sense of what was going on. Only by around the 1:45:00 mark was my brain finally adjusting to the chaos my eyes were seeing in the action sequences. All-in-all I know my kids will love it (but I’m taking them to the 2D version, dammit.) because it’s everything THEY want – mindless, shimmering, thoughtless, weightless pseudo conflict with an oh-so-common Marvel Brand “happy ending”. I’m so sick of this sh*t.
Lenwood May 7, 2016 (1:35 pm)
And one in five dentist’s don’t recommend Crest toothpaste.
joan Monk May 7, 2016 (1:27 pm)
is this s prediction of what is to come south of our border? Civil War? They all have guns and there are extremists on foot. Are we ready here?
We may not all have spandex suits and cannot all fly? but we may well be in for a bad time south of our border with extremists. Doofus Donald and his boorish behaviour. No policies just yelling insults and mistruths. How low can America sink. DOOFUS DONALD…. DOOFUS DONALD….. WITH THE ORANGE PUGLY FACE.