POW! Crammed with action, this installment should really be dubbed “Avengers 2.5,” since it features a plethora of superheroes in conflict with one another. Responding to public protests after an alarming amount of casualties…a.k.a. collateral damage…caused by their derring-do, Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) proposes the Sokovia Accords, which would limit the vigilantes’ autonomy under international law. Read on…
Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) opposes this threat to their independence, joined by his buddy Falcon (Anthony Mackie), plus Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).
Somewhat surprisingly, Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) accedes to Ross’ proposal, along with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany) and a newcomer, African Prince T’Challa (Chadwich Boseman)…a.k.a. Black Panther, who will get his own feature film.
The star of their team turns out to be Stark’s youngest recruit, an eager-to-please, adolescent Spider-Man (newcomer Tom Holland) from Queens, who dazzles with an “Empire Strikes Back” maneuver during a climactic clash at an airport.
As for villains, there’s sneering, scheming Zemo (Daniel Bruhl), along with their old S.H.I.E.L.D. adversary Crossbones (Frank Grillo).
And if you didn’t see “Captain America: First Avenger” & “Winter Soldier,” you won’t appreciate the pivotal backstory between Steve Rogers and his W.W.II buddy James “Bucky” Barnes (Sebastian Stan).
Laboriously scripted by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely and directed by Anthony & Joe Russo (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”), it’s obviously a sobering commentary on repercussions from the carnage accidentally inflicted by the U.S. in the Middle East.
But it’s repetitive, crammed with far too much of everything, including cameos by Alfre Woodard, Hope Davis, Marisa Tomei and cartoonist Stan Lee. Absentees include Thor and the Hulk.
Post-credit sequences? There are two: one about Bucky Barnes and, at the very end, one about Spidey.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Captain America: Civil War” is an over-stuffed 7. It’s a superhero slog as the Marvel Cinematic Universe marches on.