[Spoiler-Free] Following the terrible impact of their latest mission, the Avengers superhero team is informed that the world wants their activities to be officially regulated. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are divided over the initiative. Soon, the events oblige each of the Avengers to take sides.
Released this week in France, Captain America: Civil War (2016) is the sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). Based on the Marvel Comics character, it's the thirteenth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Captain America: Civil War is loosely adapted from the Civil War comic book series (2006) by scriptwriters Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, who did the screenplays of The First Avenger and The Winter Soldier. Brothers Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, helmers of the latter, direct again.
One of the reasons why Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the best films of the MCU is that it's a bona fide spy thriller movie. Beyond the acknowledged influence of classics like The Three Days of the Condor (1975), emphasized by the presence of Robert Redford, The Winter Soldier is the 24 motion picture Fox didn't make. With the Russos, Steve Rogers/Captain America is Jack Bauer or Mission: Impossible's Ethan Hunt. The brilliant Captain America: Civil War begins, after a scene in 1991, like an IMF mission. Rogers (Chris Evans), Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) are in Nigeria to prevent a group led by Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) from stealing a biological weapon.
Of course, as in the Tom Cruise franchise, the mission goes wrong. The team is held accountable for civil casualties, including relief aid workers from the African nation of Wakanda. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) announce to the Avengers that they will now operate under the control of the United Nations as established by the Sokovia Accords (an echo to Avengers: Age of Ultron). Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr) supports the act but Steve Rogers wants to defend humanity without government interference. The rift between them grows when Steve's best friend Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) appears to be the culprit of a terrorist bombing during the official signing in Vienna.
King T'Chaka of Wakanda (John Kani) is killed in the explosion. His son T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) swears vengeance. From Berlin to Siberia, friendship and loyalty collide with justice and revenge. Two factions of superheroes are driven to fight each other: Iron Man, Black Widow, James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany), newbie Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and T'Challa on one side. Captain America, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Bucky on the other. Their conflict is considered with interest by the mysterious Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl), the most interesting MCU villain to date.
Captain America: Civil War goes Jason Bourne with a chase involving Rogers, Falcon, Black Panther and the Winter Soldier. Poor Bucky does the Manchurian Candidate. There's a brawl between Iron Man's camp and the renegades at the Leipzig/Halle Airport. Ant-Man (with a surprise) and Spider-Man bring some comedy. The introduction of Black Panther is very effective and the inclusion of the rebooted Spider-Man in the MCU with a recruitment by Tony Stark himself is pure gold. The Avengers "family feud" reaches the point of tragedy for Cap and Iron Man in a secret Siberian installation.
The Russo brothers definitely know how to do great superhero thrillers. Captain America: Civil War is produced by Marvel Studios and distributed here by The Walt Disney Company France. Music by Henry Jackman. Trent Opaloch is the cinematographer. Martin Freeman (Sherlock) appears as Everett K. Ross. Emily VanCamp plays Sharon Carter.