Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
government oversight / system of accountability
“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.” (Romans 13:1-4 NASB)
“…to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer
How can I decide whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer
Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer
fracturing good people into opposing factions
protecting a friend
|Featuring:|| Chris Evans … Steve Rogers / Captain America
Robert Downey Jr. … Tony Stark / Iron Man
Scarlett Johansson … Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Don Cheadle … Lieutenant James Rhodes / War Machine
Jeremy Renner … Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Paul Bettany … Vision, an android
Paul Rudd … Scott Lang / Ant-Man
William Hurt … Secretary of State Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
Martin Freeman … Everett K. Ross
Marisa Tomei … May Parker
Alfre Woodard … Miriam Sharpe
Daniel Brühl … Helmut Zemo, a Sokovian terrorist
Frank Grillo … Brock Rumlow / Crossbones, former commander of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s counter-terrorism S.T.R.I.K.E. team
Sebastian Stan … Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie … Sam Wilson / Falcon
Chadwick Boseman … T'Challa / Black Panther, prince of Wakanda
Elizabeth Olsen … Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Emily VanCamp … Sharon Carter, CIA agent and former agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Tom Holland … Peter Parker / Spider-Man
John Kani … King T'Chaka
John Slattery … Howard Stark
|Director:||Anthony Russo—“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)
Joe Russo—“You, Me and Dupree” (2006), “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)
Kevin Feige … Producer
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
“United we stand. Divided we fall.”
Four years ago the Avengers (“Marvel’s The Avengers”-2012) saved Earth from an alien invasion, and the world was grateful. However, after the hostile takeover of S.H.I.E.L.D. by Hydra (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”—2014), the devastation of an entire city (“The Avengers: Age of Ultron”-2015) and now an attack by terrorists, foiled by The Avengers, though not without even more civilian casualties, the world’s nations demand that The Avengers now act under their control. This immediately divides our heroes into two camps, with Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) uncharacteristically on the side of governmental control and Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) ever the voice for liberty.
When Bucky Barnes a.k.a the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is shown fleeing the scene of a major bombing, which kills both dignitaries and civilians alike, he becomes the focus of a worldwide manhunt, and Captain America must decide whether or not to stand by his former best friend or bring the erstwhile assassin to justice himself.
Many of The Avengers are back, along with relative newcomer Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and the introduction of the new Spider-Man played with youthful enthusiasm by Tom Holland. “Civil War” also introduces the noble, but fierce, Prince T'Challa a.k.a. The Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) who, although he sees the political agenda of the United Nations as nothing more than a power grab, has his own very personal reasons for making the Winter Soldier pay for his crimes.
Meanwhile, a shadowy figure named Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) has been orchestrating these events from the very beginning. He will not stop until The Avengers are destroyed, and, if our heroes, now turned enemies, fall, will the world be far behind them?
“Captain America: Civil War” is every bit the action-packed sequel that fans of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” have been waiting for, and it tells perhaps the most personal and compelling story of any Marvel film yet produced, however it is not without it’s cautionary material.
Violence: Heavy. Guns are used heavily throughout the movie, and people are seen falling to gunfire, explosions, fire, crushed underneath vehicles and debris or recipients of savage, up close combat style fighting. While not graphic or bloody, the imagery is unmistakably that of terrorist level mass killings. There is a scene of torture, during which a man is seen drowning, two attempts of suicide (one thwarted), test subjects are shown undergoing excruciating pain while subjected to body-altering drugs, and, finally, some victims are shown with bullets to the head after the fact (post-mortem). The violence is at teen through adult levels, and this is by no means suitable for younger, impressionable minds.
Language: Moderate. Foul language included; Sh** (5x), ass (6), ass-h*** (1), son-of-a-b**** (2), p*ssed (1), cr*p (1), hell (2) and 10 instances of the Lord’s name taken in vain (God 6, God-d*** 2, Jesus 1, OMG 1).
Sex/Nudity: Minor. Only one scene of kissing was shown, and this takes place in public and not prolonged. Provocative clothing is worn, primarily by two characters, and this is in the form-fitting costume of the Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Wanda/Scarlet Witch’s (Elizabeth Olsen) short skirt that is similar to what other young adults her age may wear.
Friendship: An integral dynamic in this film is the genuine affinity our heroes have for each other, not only during conflicts, but during those quiet moments when one can use a friend the most. “Civil War” successfully engages the audience as teammates find themselves suddenly pitted against each other with each side believing strongly in their “cause.” As leader of the underdog team, Captain America chooses to stand by his friend Bucky and the others in his camp, knowing there will be a price to pay. Conversely, Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), while openly concerned about their chances against such odds, sticks with the Captain. The Bible speaks highly of this virtue.
“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
Humility: Iron Man/Stark and Captain America/Rogers, despite both being champions for justice, are quite different from one another, perhaps in no greater way than this. Roger’s humble and compassionate heart is what allows him to immediately feel personal sorrow for casualties, whereas the faces of the slain need to be held up [literally] to Stark’s face before he acknowledges them. However, to Stark’s credit, once he sees the victims of their battles, in particular the face of one young boy, he is deeply affected and visibly moved.
Confronted with the Amazing Spider-Man for the first time, Captain America is impressed and even admits to the young hero that he has a lot of heart. The humble heart cannot be restrained and, by the Holy Spirit’s urging, will always lift others up.
“[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each other esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)
Mercy: The Black Panther has an opportunity to exact vengeance, but decides instead to let justice be taken out of his hands. This is precisely what our God wishes we would consider when dealing with our enemies.
Likewise, Captain America, in the midst of a battle where he is shown no mercy, gains the upper hand and can easily vanquish his opponent, but, instead, holds back, showing his heart through it all.
Righteousness: Rogers explains that when he sees a situation go south [wrong] he has no choice but to act, and tells Stark he wishes it wasn’t that way. Stark knows that last part is not true, because Cap relishes doing what is right. Our Lord Jesus mentions a tangible reward for those of us that seek to be righteous in His eyes.
Forgiveness: Bucky/The Winter soldier has committed numerous atrocities over the decades as a brainwashed assassin, and he now carries that guilt and shame with him always. At one point, he is scornfully asked if he even remembers one of his victims, and he agonizingly confesses, “I remember all of them.” The regret he feels is palpable, and he does not believe he is worth the trouble. Cap reassures him he is, when he points out that he’s just not that man anymore.
How great a God we have, in that forgiveness is available to us all and that God can make us new again.
Comic book aficionados will appreciate that some of the best parts of the “Civil War” storyline made it’s way to the film, albeit with some noticeable changes. Former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) finally comes into her own just in time to aid Steve, and the incorporation of the new Spider-Man added some welcome light-hearted elements to an otherwise tense, though hugely epic confrontation.
“Captain America: Civil War” has raised the bar for super hero films, not only with its near seamlessly choreographed action sequences, including a tunnel chase that has to be seen to be believed, but primarily by the heart of its main character, his unshakable commitment to speak the truth and fight for what’s right. Or as the comic book Cap put it (quoting Mark Twain), “When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree besides the river of truth, and tell the whole world—No, you move.” The audience can’t help but cheer him on, even if they, like our heroes, may be divided on who is really right. Highly recommended.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…The most mature and substantive picture to have yet emerged from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. …proves as remarkable for its dramatic coherence and thematic unity as for its dizzyingly inventive action sequences… relative restraint and ingenuity on display…
—Justin Chang, Variety
…It’s that rare superhero movie that doesn’t grind you down with nonstop action or, worse yet, the usual tiresome cavalcade of smart-ass wisecracks. …
—Stephanie Zacharek, Time magazine
…satisfying superheroism… Wit. “Civil War” actually has it. …
—Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
…“Civil War” is a winner… In short, the movie has just about everything.
—Tom Gliatto, People
…what’s so audacious about the film, and so pleasing, is its quicksilver mix of hardcore action and bright comedy. …a plot that makes consistent sense, even if you’re no more of a student than I of Marvel mythology…
—Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
…The best “Iron Man” film ever made… this is very much a film about Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)… It’s a testament to directors Anthony and Joe Russo…that a movie this overstuffed never actually feels overstuffed. …
—Sonny Bunch, The Washington Free Beacon
…Matching its blockbuster scale and spectacle with the smarts of a great, grown-up thriller, “Captain America: Civil War” is Marvel Studios’ finest film yet. …
—Dan Jolin, Empire [UK]
…“Captain America: Civil War” is the mightiest Marvel movie… its visual sense remains stubbornly small screen…
—Chris Klimek, NPR (National Public Radio)
…very crowded, reasonably enjoyable installment in the Avengers cycle… a very expensive, perpetually renewed workplace sitcom… The Russo brothers…are better at dialogue than at action. …
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
…not the greatest Marvel effort… brilliantly crafted affair featuring new team-ups and fabulous dialogue… “Captain America: Civil War” explores family, friendship, sacrifice… is at its core a deep exploration of friendship and family and what sacrifices should be made to hold onto both. … [3½/4]
—Brian Truitt, USA Today
…Posing serious questions about violence and vigilantism while reveling in both, “Captain America: Civil War” is overlong but surprisingly light on its feet. …they achieve an overall balance between super-kinetic…action sequences and character detail…
—Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
…it turns out to be a longer slog than you may anticipate unless you are a Marvel true believer who lives and breathes these characters' every quirk and qualm…
—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
…the 3-D is top-notch… [3½/5]
—Kimberley Jones, The Austin Chronicle
… the screenplay packs a powerful punch… the sheer force of so much superpowered personality on screen makes for a blast of a movie… [4/5]
—Wendy Ide, The Guardian (UK)
…a potential springboard into thoughtful conversations… [3/5]
—Paul Asay, Plugged In