What if two of the most beloved superheroes went head-to-head in an epic cinematic battle that tackles ideas about power, accountability and freedom?
Wait, didn't we just see that film? Luckily we're not talking Batman vs Superman, but Captain America: Civil War, which hits cinemas on April 29th. It tells the story of a fracture amongst the Avengers over whether or not to submit to the United Nations overseeing their activities - with Tony Stark believing in regulation, and our eponymous hero Steve Rogers decidedly more sceptical. And that's not all - pretty much every other Avenger (less Hulk and Thor) are thrown into the melee too, alongside newcomers Black Panther and the latest cinematic incarnation of Spider-Man.
If you thought the debate over the Leveson recommendations for state-backed regulation of the press were exciting, you ain't seen nothing yet.
In a huge vote of confidence, Marvel has lifted the review embargo two weeks early in a bid to ramp up the hype train to full speed - and things are looking good. All of the reviews so far have been positive - and here's a round up of the best.
Captain America: Civil War Review Verdicts
"[W]hile the idea of collateral damage was certainly central to the conflict in “Batman v Superman,” that film ultimately banished any sense of ethical responsibility — and any lingering audience goodwill — with its bombastic and incoherent end-of-the-world climax. Whatever apocalyptic associations its title may generate, “Captain America: Civil War” turns out to be an infinitely smarter piece of multiplex mythmaking, blessed as it is with a new villain (played with unnerving subtlety by Daniel Bruhl) who has more on his mind than blowing human civilization to smithereens. And the sides-taking showdown between Team Captain America and Team Iron Man, far from numbing the viewer with still more callous acts of destruction, is likely to leave you admiring its creativity."
Variety - Justin Chang
"Captain America: Civil War is the best Marvel Studios movie yet. There, we said it. First, and most importantly, it does what the best Marvel films do: juggling multiple characters so each is allowed its moment in a story that pushes forward the series’ overall continuity, while also forming and concluding its own cogent plot."
Empire - Dan Jolin
"Tear away the powers, abilities and egos, though, and the third Captain America movie [...] is at its core a deep exploration of friendship and family and what sacrifices should be made to hold onto both. And while it’s not the greatest Marvel effort — that honor goes to the previous Captain America: The Winter Soldier — Civil War does pull outstanding performances from its two franchise faces, Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr."
USA Today - Brian Truitt
"The movie’s center does hold, though, in the well-played contrast between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. Rogers’ anachronistic aspects are no longer the source of punchlines, and Evans persuasively conveys his decency without overstating the matter. Through their contained performances, he and Sebastian Stan, as Bucky Barnes (aka the Winter Soldier), give emotional heft to their characters’ friendship, a crucial element of the story. Just as crucial, Evans leaves room for doubt about whether Rogers is right to resist outside rules, even as the film clearly sides with him."
Hollywood Reporter - Sheri Linden
"It’s most unfortunate for Warner Bros. that, at its core, Civil War explores the same existential themes as Batman v Superman—only far better articulated, and with fewer mommy issues (spoiler: No Marthas die on the Avengers’ watch… that we know of). Instead of two lone superman-children trading blows in the rain, Civil War’s ensemble is made up of grown people wrestling with grown-people problems in the light of day, negotiating their conflicting worldviews in the name of living and working together."
Daily Beast - Jen Yamato