Captain America: Civil War

 

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Iron Man v Captain America: Dawn of Tedium.

 

Captain America Civil War

 

“Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged” wrote Robert Browning in 1855, and it’s a sentiment Marvel Studios should take to heart. Like its predecessor, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Anthony and Joe Russo’s Captain America: Civil War opens with a climax and barely stops to draw breath. Here, though, there are even more superheroes in the mix, which kind of reduces the impact of the “super” prefix. In his own way, every human being is remarkable, but with 7.4 billion of us the impact is lost. At times Civil War recalls a multi-political party debate, but with poorer editing. Still, for those who relish endless CGI, wall-to-wall music and frenzied cutting, this is for them. If you can understand half of what is going on, that is.

 

In a nutshell, William Hurt’s Secretary of State gives the Avengers a ticking-off for the collateral damage they have caused in the quest to save mankind. This, of course, is the same criticism levelled at the Man of Steel in the critically lambasted Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which, while pretty meat-headed, was a little less congested than the antics portrayed here. And so, as 117 different countries decide to apply the brakes to the heroics of Captain America, Iron Man, the Black Widow, Falcon, War Machine, Scarlet Witch and their ilk, along comes a threat that jeopardizes the very future of the planet. Again. Worse still, the fiendishly calculating Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) concocts a plan to pit Iron Man against Captain America – and their acolytes – thus eliminating the competition. It’s like unleashing the Marines against the SAS. And so – flash, bang, kapow! – let slip the dogs of the special effects department.

 

The action sequences, of which there are many, are rendered meaningless as they bear so little resemblance to reality. And Scarlett Johansson should really try harder to look like her stunt double. There is little fun, too, for a film that stretches to 147 minutes, although there are spicy turns from Tom Holland as Spider-Man and Paul Rudd as Ant-Man. But – spoiler alert – when Ant-Man is put behind bars, one does wonder at the logic. A little intelligence is supplied by Paul Bettany’s android Vision (he uses words like “commensurate”), but there’s scant sense to be found elsewhere. And when the film does, finally, grind to a halt (and it does grind), the anticlimactic bridge to the next Marvel instalment is downright exasperating.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: 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 Brühl, Marisa Tomei, Martin Freeman, John Kani, John Slattery, Hope Davis, Alfre Woodard, Stan Lee, Kerry Condon (voice only).

 

Dir Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, Pro Kevin Feige, Screenplay Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Ph Trent Opaloch, Pro Des Owen Paterson, Ed Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt, Music Henry Jackman, Costumes Judianna Makovsky.

 

Marvel Studios-Walt Disney Studios.

147 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 29 April 2016. Cert. 12A.