Captain America: Civil War (12A)
Running Time: 147 minutes
After the lengthy farce that was Batman Vs Superman, there’s a certain amount of resistance against getting excited for more superhero action that goes well over the two hour mark.
Could the superhero showdown we were robbed earlier this year by DC finally get delivered from Marvel? With 12 other studio films under their belt, could Captain America: Civil War bring Marvel to dizzier heights than it’s ever reached before?
First up, a line-up of 12 superheroes gave directors Joe and Anthony Russo plenty to mess around with. Given the fact that there’s such a complex line-up of characters and storylines, could the audience manage to engage with them all?
The plot sees civil war ensue among the superheroes over the issue of whether the Avengers should be nationalised following a scandalous incident in Lagos which sees Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) botch an operation, resulting in the killing of innocent civilians.
Captain America (Chris Evans) rejects any notion of the Avengers falling under the control of the United Nations, with backup from Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Olsen’s Scarlet Witch.
Pinning their support to the mast of political monitoring are Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man) and War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Vision (Paul Bettany) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), who sense there are more sinister forces at work.
They aren’t wrong, and these sinister forces appear in the form of a mysterious character called Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), who has some pretty serious beef with the avengers and is obsessed with a 1991 mission The Winter Soldier was part of.
If it sounds complicated, it’s because it is. But not in a way to make you lose interest like a certain other recent release. The layered storyline here actually works.
The introduction of Boseman’s Black Panther is certainly one of the highlights of the film, paving the way for exciting things to come, with a fine performance.
And of course, there’s the much publicised appearance from Spider-Man which frankly exceeds all expectations. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is more of a Spider-Boy, starting out and attempting to grasp his newfound powers. His interaction with the other superheroes is laugh out loud entertaining, and Stark taking him under his wing is downright heartwarming.
Paul Bethany’s endearing Vision provides many laughs, as does Paul Rudd’s scatty and hilariously awestruck Ant-Man.
What of Captain America going head-to-head with Iron Man? It’s difficult to even pick a side, as both characters are utterly convinced they’re right. While the viewer grapples with the idea of who to support, both sides of the divide proceed to kick the daylights out of each other during some epic superhero fight scenes.
Before entering the cinema, I harboured a worry that 2hrs 27mins was going to be extremely long indeed. When the closing credits rolled, I wasn’t even ready for it to end.
An absolute marvel.
Captain America: Civil War is in cinemas on April 29
Loaded’s entertainment editor Jennifer O’Brien is an award-winning journalist who has written extensively about popular culture as a national newspaper columnist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @Jen_OBrien1