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CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

SYNOPSIS: Captain America: Civil War picks up where Avengers: Age of Ultron left off, as Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.

Review by Louise Keller:
Heroes or vigilantes is the question raised in this highly inventive, full-throttle adventure in which questions of ethics and loyalties are raised as Captain America and the superheroes find themselves divided and in conflict. An agile mind is required to keep up with the never-ending plot twists and leaps; it is refreshing to find genuine originality and flair in the way Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely's script has been shaped and realized under Anthony and Joe Russo's adept direction.

The careful, intricate references to earlier films bring cred and as Captain America and Iron Man clash, inevitable comparisons to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be made - to the latter's detriment. The film plays like a continuation of (and a notch up to) Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) with the various superheroes popping up here there and everywhere. Dizzying action, solid characterisations, glib humour and a plot with gargantuan scale explode onto the screen in a 148 minute hyperactive superhero action fest.

The film begins with a brief flashback to 1991 in which we are left wondering about the mission given to Sebastian Stan's metal-armed Winter Soldier Bucky Buchanan to 'sanction and extract'. Charismatic Stan plays an important role, although it is his long, lank hair dancing across his handsome face that tends to monopolise. It is not until the end that the powerful, personal ramifications of this mission are revealed. Take your anti-dizzy drops: the lengthy accelerated action piece in Lagos with comic-book super-fast editing, in which heavy artillery pounds relentlessly amid explosions may make you feel queazy. Collateral damage results and the pressure for the Avengers to relinquish their autonomy and submit to the jurisdiction of the United Nations. Meanwhile, consumed by vengeance, an interesting new avenger appears onto the scene in the form of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).

There is a nice contrast of styles between clean-cut Chris Evans (Captain America) and the wonderful Robert Downey Jnr (Iron Man) as they differ in their views about their moral responsibilities. Watch for a memorable scene involving Downey Jnr as Tony Stark when he revisits a key family moment - with the help of CGI. Family plays a big part in the plot, raising the stakes on many counts.

Daniel Bruhl is effective as the villainous Zemo and it is credit to the writers that his role is not simplistic. There is conflict between many of the characters and at times it is hard to keep track of all the superheroes on display. Some get more screen time than others, notably Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch with telekinetic powers, Anthony Mackie's flying Falcon, Don Cheadle's War Machine and Paul Bettany's fascinating crimson-faced Vision, who walks through walls. Tony Stark's recruitment of Spiderman (Tom Holland) is very funny, as is the latter's non-stop inappropriate chatter during the action. The Bucharest tunnel chase sequence is one of the most impressive as the action goes from Cleveland, London, Vienna, Berlin, Leipzig, Queens and Sokovia.

The running time is long but the time flies as the superheroes push boundaries to make the world a better place. For the genre, it's a knockout.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (TBC)
(US, 2016)

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, Daniel Bruhl, Frank Grillo

PRODUCER: Kevin Feige

DIRECTOR: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

SCRIPT: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Trent Opaloch

EDITOR: Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt

MUSIC: Henry Jackman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Owen Patterson

RUNNING TIME: 148 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 28, 2016







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