Superheroes are a dime a dozen in Joe & Anthony Russo’s Captain America: Civil War. After another foreign escapade, in Nigeria, leaves the bad guys dead but lots of collateral damage, the Avengers, minus Thor and the Hulk, are given an ultimatum by the U.N. While half of the Avengers, including Captain America (Chris Evans), are wary of a check on their powers, the other half, including a guilt-ridden Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), are on board for a compromise. The plot turns when brainwashed Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), whom Captain America has been hunting, is blamed for an attack in Europe. As belief in who is bad and who is good diverges, there’s a split of loyalties in the Avengers, and the titular “civil war” ensues. The tone of Captain America, like of its predecessors, is a mix of light-hearted jocularity, melodrama, and self-seriousness. The breezy jokiness is helped out by new additions to the team like Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) while the graveness is filled in by Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther and a subplot about Iron Man’s deceased parents. As usual, the plot is suffused with overtones to post-9/11 American foreign policy and its backlashes. Joe & Anthony Russo effectively balance the characters and storylines. Most importantly, they present the action coherently.

By Alec Julian & Carrie White



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