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Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War also known as “Captain America 3,” “Captain America: Civil War 3D,” “The First Avenger: Civil War,” “Capitán América: Guerra Civil,” “Capitán América: Civil War,” “Capitão América: Guerra Civil,” “Amerika kapitány: Polgárháború,” “Capitanul America: Razboiul Civil,” “Kapetan Amerika: Građanski rat,” “Kapitan Ameryka: Wojna bohaterów,” “Kapitonas Amerika. Pilietinis karas,” “Kaptan Amerika: Kahramanlarin Savasi,” “Kaptan Amerika: Iç Savas”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for extended sequences of violence, action and mayhem.

Reviewed by: Raphael Vera
CONTRIBUTOR

Average to Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Genre:
Superhero Action Adventure Sci-Fi Thriller 3D IMAX Sequel
Length:
2 hr. 26 min.
Year of Release:
2016
USA Release:
May 6, 2016 (wide—4,226 theaters)
DVD: September 13, 2016
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Being accountable to governing authorities

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)

Doing the right thing

“…to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)

Can people be trusted to always do the right thing? We are born sinners and fail to do right, due to the fall of man.

Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Is Jesus Christ the answer?

goodness and righteousness

How do I know what is right from wrong? Answer

How can I decide whether a particular activity is wrong? Answer

sin

Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer


collateral damage

fracturing good people into opposing factions

protecting a friend


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Featuring: Chris EvansSteve Rogers / Captain America
Robert Downey Jr.Tony Stark / Iron Man
Scarlett JohanssonNatasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Don CheadleLieutenant James Rhodes / War Machine
Jeremy RennerClint Barton / Hawkeye
Paul BettanyVision, an android
Paul RuddScott Lang / Ant-Man
William HurtSecretary of State Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross
Martin FreemanEverett K. Ross
Marisa TomeiMay Parker
Alfre WoodardMiriam 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
more »
Director: Anthony Russo—“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)
Joe Russo—“You, Me and Dupree” (2006), “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014)
Producer: Marvel Entertainment
Marvel Studios
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.

Objectionable Content

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.

Lessons

Several positive themes are presented, including those of friendship, humility, mercy, righteousness and forgiveness.

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.

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

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.

“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.” (Zechariah 7:9)

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.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

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.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12)

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.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—Me and my brother went to see the movie today, and I find it fantastic. The movie had some real good moral, like dealing with anger, hate, bitterness and also forgiveness, too. I’m real glad too that the movie had no nudity in it or using the f-word, but I didn’t like the using the Lord “s name in vain.
—Childofgod (USA)
Positive—The best action movie of the summer! Although some objectionable language/actions listed above, overall positive messages: standing up for what is right, friendship, forgiveness, loyalty, admitting fault, family. The addition of new characters was positive. Great character development of some main characters, giving backgrounds and connections to deepen our understanding of their positions in the conflict. If you have not seen the previous Marvel movies, I would still recommend seeing this movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Michele, age 48 (USA)
Positive—“Captain America” is a delightful surprise in the midst of lightweight summer fare. Chris Evans is back in fine form as the rugged hero fighting against the evil that men do. He is supported by the familiar cast of colorful cronies with whom he battles the baddies. The surprise in store is the more character-driven plot.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Morris, age 52 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—Yawn. I found this movie to be so boring. I suppose if you like mindless action movies, they did a good job with special effects. Repeats of the “Sherlock Holmes” fight scenes. There were a handful of snickers, but not worth wanting to watch this again. I don’t understand why people want to take their small children to these kind of movies.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Louise, age 50 (USA)
Neutral—Although this is the best film of the Captain America series, and quite possibly the best film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the most problematic element in this particular film is the use of profane language. Sure, I expected a handful of mild vulgarities/obscenities like d—, h-, b- and a-, but was somewhat surprised by the number of s-words used in the film. It’s starting to become a bit more common in more and more Marvel films. Thankfully, no f-words have been uttered in any Marvel film, for the exception of “Deadpool” and the muted f-words in “Iron Man 2.” However, the common “omg” exclamatives have been stepped up a notch with God’s name being paired with d—n much more frequently and more and more abuses of Jesus” name.

I find this form of abusive language the most offensive. I still remember being shocked by the GD bomb used in Iron Man 3, which I believe was the very first time a harsh profanity was said in any Marvel film. Exclamations like these are completely unnecessary and simply add nothing to the story. It’s sad that Marvel is starting to follow the route of DC Comic films by using this type of language. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Curtis, age 23 (USA)
Neutral—Half the time my husband and I kept asking each other what was going on! Although we didn’t know, the action was interesting and it seemed to be consistent. There were some boring talking times, but I knew the action was coming up. I did think it was odd they started fighting against each other. And, of course, the demonic powers these super heroes have seem like witchcraft, especially the woman that would just throw her energy powers on people to stop them.

There were a few times they said g… d… which is totally not needed of course. If you can just watch it for an action flick, then its interesting enough to watch.

I do recall saying its one of the dumbest movies I have ever seen but still keeping my attention because of the action. I personally got messages from it about mind control and how they programmed one person in this movie. And how many advertisers in this country do that to us, especially with getting us so hooked on certain foods, that feels like mind control and makes you do things you don’t want to do, like eat horrible and it causes heart disease down the road. So I got more out of the movie than most will even see in that.

Overall, it was what I expected, lots of action with a stupid story line and totally unrealistic super powers of these super hero freaks.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephanie, age 41 (USA)
Negative
Negative—From a child I have been a fan of Marvel Comics, DC Comics, and other famous cartoons of 80s and 90s, so my anticipation for these cinematic movies is very high. I often know the historical story-line of each of the characters, like I know many of the biblical characters of the Bible. So when I saw “Captain America: Civil War (2016)” in IMAX it was worth all the hype. Movie quality and story was “off the chain” great!!!

But I have a extreme high regard and reverence for God, but this movie did not because use of God’s name in vain. I can not recommend this movie simply because of that. I felt like a hypocrite watching this movie after hearing His name in vain twice! I have determined in my walk with Christ, no matter how entertaining or even heartfelt a movie, if God is offended by it then I am offended by it. Did not the Jesus Christ teach us in the New Testament, “Hallowed (Holy) be Thy Name”! (Matthew 6:9). Exodus 20:7 “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.” Original text is “misuse” or “mishandle” His name, meaning doing and saying things in God’s name.

Don’t children go to these movies based on comics and old cartoons (spite the rating)? What about the generations to come? What are we teaching them? God wants us to enjoy life, but He really requires us as Christians to be “holy” and a light to the world by standing for “righteousness”. There is very little “reverence” for God anymore. I believe Hollywood plays a huge role in that.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Gilbert Banks Jr, age 44 (USA)
Negative—Another movie that bored me. Nothing but mindless comic book violence. Any viewer could say, “What’s going on here? What’s this movie about” We have Scarlet Johanason doing her forever whipping and beating men. A feminist delight movie. This is for Willis, age 45 who thinks women can do anything a man can do. Try reading the Bible, women are the weaker sex. In the Old Testament God commands only men to be in combat and to be the leaders. However, Hollywood wants to blur the difference of the sexes. A tactic from the enemy, Satan. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Robert Garcia, age 69 (USA)
Negative— Initial premise of the movie: bad guys killing and robbing, while good guys slam the bad guys, and, in the process, innocents are hurt or killed. Therefore the government wants control of the good guys, so, theoretically, there is no more damage to innocents by good or bad guys. Idiot presumption. As if the government would want to try to protect the average Joe instead, as demonstrated, running in fear from bad publicity. The good guys fight each other while they and the government ignore the threat. Stupid storyline, Hollywood morals, a jumpy camera, and the bad guy frozen for future mis-adventures instead of getting fixed.

And what’s with using God’s name in any manner except in reverence? Is Hollywood full of total stupids? Don’t they know who is the Boss? Skip this movie; I wish I had.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—William Seidemann, age 66 (USA)
Comments from young people

none

Movie Critics

…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

Comments from non-viewers
Negative—It’s a movie review like this one that makes me glad for this Website. No, I have not seen the movie. However, when deciding to go to a movie, I always go to this movie review site to see the basics of the movie. In this case, the reviewers” close tracking of the language has led me to pass on this movie. NO matter how much I really want to see it. Do not doubt for a moment I wasn’t looking forward to this MCU installment. But, as a Christian, I believe I have to pass. Why? It is actually very simple. It takes the name of God in vain. Very simple—Yes or No. I can’t get past going to an event, like a movie, where this occurs. And for this movie—since they do blaspheme, I have to pass. Very sad—was expecting this to be one of the last MCU movies before they moved heavy into Phase III, where magic was more a part of the storyline.
—Casey, age 50 (USA)
Negative—My wife and I and our children anxiously await the release of EVERY Captain America and Avenger (Marvel) movie with great glee, and we take our four kids (18, 15, 13, and 11) to the opening night to see the films—it is a big family fun deal. Previously, we’ve been confident (with the exception of the Iron Man series, which we enjoy filtered through a ClearPlay.com DVD) that we will NOT encounter “blasphemy” in these family fun action films. Some profanity, while not needed, is expected in the action films, BUT the presence of BLASPHEMY—the misuse of God’s Name (usually GD or JC)—immediately strikes this movie from our list.

HOW SAD it is that the bad choice of the writers to violate the Third Commandment has causes LOSS in so many ways: 1. We LOSE the opportunity to have some family fun at a night out enjoying a generally-morally-good action movie (the kids were really mad at Marvel, Disney, and the writers of this screenplay for messing it up with blasphemy); 2. Marvel and Disney and the theater chains LOSE the revenue from many families that would have bought tickets to see this otherwise good film. SADDEST of all is that blasphemy ADDS NOTHING to the movie, the plot, the drama, the theme, the action—ZERO value added… so why add the blasphemy?

NEXT TIME, why don’t those who make the creative and dialogue and script decisions LOSE the blasphemy (and all overt sexuallity) so that FAMILIES—their largest market segment—can come to see the movie without wincing through it. It just makes sense to honor God and His commandments—everyone wins when we do this!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Mark August, age 58 (USA)

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