At a time when filmmakers hide their movies from the
press and the public until Friday, like they’re shielding a shameful secret, it
is an indication of Marvel Studio and Disney’s confidence that Captain America: Civil War has had a
series of screenings in India and elsewhere several days before its release.
And the confidence is well founded. An array of super
heroes takes sides when Captain America and Iron Man disagree over a credible
issue which is far more substantial than the weak premise that had Batman and
Superman battling each other a few weeks ago.
After assessing the inadvertent collateral damage in an otherwise
successful op by the Avengers in Lagos, the UN comes up with an accord bringing
together 117 countries where super heroes cannot fly off on their own without
Iron Man who meets the mother of a promising young man
who got blown up in the Lagos disaster, gives a nod to the accord. On the other
hand, Captain America thinks state supervision would be clipping their wings,
quite literally. The Avengers who fought crime as a team thus stand divided,
suiting up against each other especially when Captain America’s buddy Bucky is
found guilty of creating chaos and disaster in various parts of the world. But
does the buck stop with Bucky or is he the unwitting soldier under the command
of a more sinister master?
What keeps the 2hr 27 minute film moving without a
lull is the superlative supply of moments that writers Christopher Markus and Stephen
McFeely give directors Anthony and Joe Russo. The essential characteristic of
each super hero is cleverly knitted in for sparkle and diversity. There’s a
romance brewing for Captain America. There’s Iron Man asking a female superhero, ‘Did
I hear you right or did you just agree with me?’ Without those snarky one-liners, Tony Stark
would seem under the weather. Iron Man’s past about his dead parents is also
added in to provide an emotional push to the plot.
The introduction of a peppy, sometimes pesky young
Superman who has homework to go back to, is a brilliant and refreshing addition
to the screenplay, leaving the viewer wanting more of the overenthusiastic
There are a series of breathtaking action sets with
the superhero face-off at the airport making an outstanding finale. Watching
Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson and the other Marvel
superheroes is like picnicking with familiar quirky friends.
For a film that skillfully intersperses stunning
action with wit, revenge and humanity, Captain
America: Civil War fetches a bumper 4* rating.
Bharathi S Pradhan
Senior Journalist & Author