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With: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Bruhl, Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, John Kani, John Slattery, Hope Davis, Alfre Woodard
Written by: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, based on comics by Mark Millar, Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for extended sequences of violence, action and mayhem
Running Time: 146
Date: 05/05/2016

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Generation Cap

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The thirteenth entry in the "Marvel Cinematic Universe" series, Captain America: Civil War recalls last year's extravaganza Avengers: Age of Ultron But while that movie was slicker, Captain America: Civil War has a stronger emotional center.

The new movie, which opens Friday and kicks off the new summer movie season, assembles a whopping twelve costumed characters, although it focuses on the trials and tribulations of only three.

After much destruction in the last few Marvel movies as well as this one, the Avengers are informed of the impending Sokovia Accords, which would grant power to a United Nations panel to police the super-team.

A distraught, guilt-ridden Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is in favor of the Accords, while Steve Rogers/Cap (Chris Evans) doesn't trust the idea.

Meanwhile, Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) has been framed for a bombing in Vienna which resulted in the death of the king of Wakanda. Essentially, Bucky is a pawn in a new evil plan to bring down the Avengers from within.

It all leads up to the Big Fight, handled with far more intelligence and grace than in the recent Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and comes closer to something that many young comic book fans have played out in their imaginations.

Cap's team includes Bucky, Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and San Francisco's own Ant-Man (Paul Rudd).

Iron Man recruits his pal "Rhodey," a.k.a. War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Vision (Paul Bettany), plus the new Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) — the son of the slain Wakandan king — and a new Spider-Man (Tom Holland).

Outside this centerpiece battle, the screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely deftly balances politics and feelings.

It asks the age-old question of whether power can assuage fear, while Cap stands up for his childhood pal, and Robert Downey Jr. demonstrates his awesome acting prowess in his angry, wounded Stark.

All in all, it might have been a better film than Avengers: Age of Ultron, if not for one thing: director brothers Anthony and Joe Russo are camera-shakers.

They are like undisciplined fight fans, punching and jabbing at ringside while all the exciting stuff is going on. Rather than simply filming the beautifully-designed, choreographed action, they feel the need to throw their cameras into the fight, whipping them around and tumbling them every which way. It's disorienting and aggravating... a waste of a good fight, and unfair to an otherwise good movie.

Fortunately, like any good action movie, Captain America: Civil War is about more than just fighting.

Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.

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