What you do when Whiplash, Loki or the hoards of other supervillians aren't menacing or manipulative enough to make the moviegoers shudder in terror every time they appear on screen? Borrow a comic book plot where the good guys are pitted against each other. Their ideological differences result in a face-off and the audience is left to choose sides. Zack Snyder tried this trick in his latest, dullest DC Comics movie outing, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, assigning an extremely unimpressive baddie to do the dirty job of making the superheros fight against each other.
Director siblings Anthony Russo and Joseph V. Russo borrow this tactic from Snyder in Captain America: Civil War and comes up with a riveting premise and plot, with half the Avengers on one side and the rest on the other. The bone of contention is Sokovia Accords, signed by 117 countries to bridle Avengers after telekinetic Scarlet Witch inadvertently blows up a building while fighting a band of mercenaries, resulting in civilian casualties.
Surprisingly, the quick-witted, sarcastic Stark doesn't think twice about signing the accord, but Captain America is apprehensive about signing a code of conduct that would leave the Avengers with little decision-making power. The two drift apart despite the best efforts of the Black Widow to convince the Captain to sign the accord, with the remaining superheroes joining either sides.
Caught up in this battle of suited, armoured adults is the Spider-boy or Spider-man, as he prefers to be addressed, who is not so sure about what exactly is going on, but is all excited about meeting all his heroes at one place and fighting off some of them. He has a field day at the much-hyped stand-off; snatching the shield of Captain Rogers and trapping the towering Ant-Man.
The film discusses the perils of vigilante justice and revenge through the eyes of two people who are consumed by revenge because of the Avengers. While one of them, Black Panther, whose actions make us doubt his intentions, joins the Stark's league, the wily Helmut Zemo, (played brilliantly by German actor Daniel Brühl) makes his perfect moves to end the reign of superheros.
Action aficionados, who are bored with the wonted mayhem and destruction superhero flicks cannot do without, are in for a treat in the latest outing of the supersoldier as the film offers plenty of close combat action and acrobatic chases that would pump-up the adrenaline. Well, the fact that Mjolnir-wielding Asgardian god and green monster stayed away from the proceedings did help to lower the smashing and shattering.
Granted, the plot doesn't promise to be intricate; but what makes it engaging is that fact that until the credits roll, the superheros are not brought together by a cliche need to unite against a stronger, common foe. The Avengers stand divided till the end, saving the viewers from a cinematic banality.
The film may be titled Captain America, but it belongs to Robert Downey Jr. as much as it does to Chris Evans with the former even outshining the film's lead star as the tormented playboy. Sebastian Stan gets a lion's share of action, playing the sometimes enraged, often confused Winter Soldier. The two superladies, Black Widow Scarlett and Scarlet Witch Elizabeth Olsen are impressive. While Jeremy Renner reprises his Hawkeye without much effort, it is the Spider(teen)-man and shape-shifting Ant-Man who get some of the most laudable moments.
Oh...and yeah, how can I possibly put a period to the review without mentioning...oh wait...I would rather have you go grab the ticket and wait for the surprise! Its worth the wait if you love your comic books.
**Film : Captain America: Civil War
Director: Anthony Russo, Joseph V. Russo
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Daniel Bruhl, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner