Review: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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The superhero team-up to end all, Captain America: Civil War is a heady, often exhausting combination of satisfying, fan servicing set pieces and underdeveloped political debates. After more destruction and casualties come as a result of another attempt to save the world, Captain America et al. – Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) to mention a few others – are urged to take accountability and sign away their independence. Captain America, however, isn’t having any of it, disappearing for stretches to help his old pal Bucky (Sebastian Stan), who he believes is being brainwashed to do evil. As directed by the Russo brothers, Civil War has an endless stream of whipsmart dialogue and enhanced punch-ups, not to mention one barnstorming sequence set at an airport that includes none other than Spider-Man (a marvellous Tom Holland) and other spoilerific surprises. No matter how blithely entertaining, its various subplots are often extraneous and push the interesting political subtext out of the spotlight for much of the film. The fact that it overstays its welcome is also worth noting, though there’s something to be said for a Marvel third act that doesn’t end in city-wide destruction.

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