Chris Evans Robert Downey, Jr. Scarlett Johansson Sebastian Stan Anthony Mackie Don Cheadle Jeremy Renner
Chadwick Boseman Paul Bettany Elizabeth Olsen Paul Rudd Tom Holland Daniel Bruhl William Hurt Emily VanCamp
Keep your eye firmly on the screen because this Captain America travels at lightning speed across the continents, through the story line and the 90+ characters, over 20 of which are central to the action. Despite this complexity, more than in many action films, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely present a coherent plot, fairly easy to follow for non-diehard Marvel Comics fans. Industrial Light & Magic’s visual effects are stunning.
It seems that after numerous deadly encounters through the years between the superheroes and the bad guys, much collateral damage has been incurred, making citizens fearful and governments thinking the Avengers need to be reined in. It’s proposed that a United Nations panel be appointed to supervise them and set limits on what they will be allowed to do. Tony Stark, aka Ironman (Downey), specifically is confronted by the mother of a promising son who was involved in charity work when he was killed in Sokovia, incidental to the Avengers’ defeat of the super villain Ultron. The nation of Sokovia was decimated in that battle.
Out of some guilt and reasoning, Stark is in favor of going along with the UN proposal called the “Sokovia Accords” when Secretary of State Ross (Hurt) presents it to him. Tony brings it up to a few other super heroes for consideration, including Captain America (Evans), Black Widow (Johansson), the Falcon (Mackie), and Scarlet Witch (Olsen). Vision (Bettany) and the War Machine (Cheadle) are already on board with the Secretary. The film laudably presents logical arguments for and against the proposal, which have to do with individual freedom versus community interest and true heroism versus vigilantism. Those on Tony’s side—Black Widow, War Machine, and Vision—regard community concerns as paramount; whereas those taking the other side—Captain America, Scarlet Witch, and Falcon—trust their own moral judgments over a committee’s and foresee that their individual assessments in emergency situations will be more effective than judgments by a committee. This mistrust on the Cap’s part continues the theme from the 2014 Captain America film; namely his experience of being betrayed by authorities.
So the lines are drawn between Stark and Captain America representing both sides of the argument, both of whom bring in recruits: Spiderman (Holland) by Stark and Hawkeye (Renner) and Ant-Man (Rudd) by Captain America. Fierce battles will be waged until an evil plot of divide-and-conquer is uncovered. The Winter Soldier (Stan), Black Panther (Boseman) and Zemo (Bruhl) will play pivotal roles.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo (Captain America: Winter Soldier) with their writers create an adventure-filled fantasy while clearly and intelligently addressing important moral issues related to security, privacy, individualism, and the role of governments in our world. Grief over major losses and testing friendships add social/emotional components to make the action more meaningful.
The cast is phenomenal, with most of the experienced, well-known superheroes skillfully reprising their roles. Tom Holland as Spiderman is a welcome newcomer, acing his role with competency and humor. Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther with cat claws is likewise effective in his introductory appearance.
A visual effects extravaganza with exciting and still meaningful content.