Review: 'Captain America: Civil War' raises the bar for superhero films

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Captain America (Chris Evans) leads Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) into battle in “Captain America: Civil War.” (Walt Disney Pictures)

Marcus Goh is a Singapore television scriptwriter. He’s also a Transformers enthusiast and avid pop culture scholar. He Tweets/Instagrams at Optimarcus and writes at marcusgohmarcusgoh.com. The views expressed are his own.

Secret ending: Just one (during the press screening), but two according to reports online.

Running time: 147 minutes (~2.5 hours)

“Captain America: Civil War” is a superhero action movie, and the 13th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It sees Captain America and Iron Man clash as the different superheroes rally around either camp. It stars Chris Evans (Captain America/Steve Rogers), Robert Downey, Jr (Iron Man/Tony Stark), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes), Anthony Mackie (Falcon/Sam Wilson), Don Cheadle (War Machines/James Rhodes), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye/Clint Barton), Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther/T'Challa), Paul Bettany (Vision), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff), Paul Rudd (Ant-Man/Scott Lang), Emily VanCamp (Sharon Carter), Tom Holland (Spider-Man/Peter Parker), Frank Grillo (Crossbones/Brock Rumlow), Daniel Bruhl (Helmut Zemo), and William Hurt (Thunderbolt Ross). It is rated PG.

“Captain America: Civil War” will have you in tears, both in joy at the incredible action, and in sorrow at the sacrifices and revelations of the major characters. It’s the best installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet, paying off many of the points set up in previous films while still being a standalone film that you can enjoy on its own. And then there’s Spider-Man! This is the must-watch superhero film of the 2016.

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Spider-Man (Tom Holland) makes his debut in “Captain America: Civil War.” (Walt Disney Pictures)

Highlights

Fantastic action

The fights are fast, fun, and fluid. The characters make full use of their powers, displaying it in creative ways, but it also shows us skillful fisticuffs that highlight why Captain America is such a formidable soldier. But the battles are not so laced with special effects that they cease to be a believable portrayal of super-powered beings duking it out in the real world, and this ability to strike such a balance is what makes the conflicts in “Captain America: Civil War” such a treat to watch.

Good mix of serious stakes and fun moments

The film doesn’t shy away from tragedy and loss, and it has its fair share of angst and pain. That being said, characters don’t stand around angsting for long periods of time. They get over their sadness and move on to bigger and better things, and give us the sense of fun and adventure that we’re looking for in superhero movies. This blend of darker issues and lighthearted scenes is what gives us a film that’s fun to watch but still full of important, valid stakes.

Keeps its focus squarely on Captain America

While it looks like an Avengers film, what with so many superheroes running around on the screen, “Captain America: Civil War” never forgets who the main character is. It keeps its focus firmly on Captain America, making it a struggle about his ideals and his friends. He’s the cause of most of the events, but he’s also the one who cleans up on his own mess. It would be easy to get lost in the sea of superheroes, but Captain America stands out as the person whose story you should be following.

Understands the defining characteristics of its massive cast

Despite having 12 superheroes to feature, the film manages to make each one distinctive and memorable, while still making Captain America the main character of the story. It deftly weaves in and out of the myriad storylines, while still tying them all back together for the bigger ensemble scenes. There are very few, if any, superfluous scenes, and what results is a script that has every line of dialogue play a purpose.

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Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr) leads Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Vision (Paul Bettany), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Black Widow (Scarlett Johnasson) in “Captain America: Civil War.” (Walt Disney Pictures)

Letdown

Ending doesn’t quite make sense

It’s a little too easy, how the film ends. You get the feel that everything is too neatly tied up with a little red bow, when there really should be more lingering discontent amongst the major players. That’s not to say the ending isn’t a justified one, but the everything seems to fall into place too quickly, just in time for the closing credits. Perhaps it’s to set up the next film.

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Scarlet Witch in “Captain America: Civil War.” (Walt Disney Pictures)

“Captain America: Civil War” raises the bar for superhero movies, and give us more Avengers action and fun.

Should you watch this at weekend movie ticket prices? Yes.

Should you watch it multiple times? If you’re a Marvel fan.

Score: 4.4/5

“Captain America: Civil War” opens in cinemas 28 April, 2016 (Thursday).

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