The embargo is lifted! Here are the first reviews out of the gate for the Marvel superhero extravaganza Captain America: Civil War.
They are decidedly enthusiastic and positive, with a lot of comparisons in its favor to last month’s rival superhero mashup, the divisive Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Singled out for particular praise are Chris Evans’ nuanced portrayal of the title hero, the handling of the sprawling supporting cast and especially Tom Holland’s universally-loved MCU version of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man, whom as reported has a far larger role than a mere cameo.
Below are excerpts from the reviews and will be updated throughout the day as more go online.
“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 . . . 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. There. We said it again.” (Dan Jolin, 5/5 Empire)
“In many ways, Civil War is the Marvel team-up sequel Age of Ultron should have been. If The Winter Soldier was about SHIELD being ripped apart from the inside, Civil War pulls the same trick with the Avengers themselves, screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely carving out satisfying character arcs, or at the very least moments, for every major player (minus the MIA Thor and Hulk). Crucially, despite the colossal cast of characters and sprawling runtime, the oft-repeated assertion that this isn’t just Avengers 2.5 holds true – it’s also a Captain America movie through and through, further exploring The Winter Soldier’s major theme – the cost of freedom – while Bucky is even more integral to the plot than he was in the film that bore his own name.” (Jordan Ashley, 5/5 Game Radar)
“Call it “civil war” or call it brand extension; call it a “cinematic universe” or a corporate behemoth — the latest Marvel extravaganza furthers the studio’s cross-pollination of action franchises in a way that’s sure to satisfy devotees. Posing serious questions about violence and vigilantism while reveling in both, Captain America: Civil War is overlong but surprisingly light on its feet. It builds upon the plotlines of previous Avengers outings, bringing together known marquee quantities and introducing the Black Panther and a new Spidey in winning fashion.” (Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter)
“The shaming of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will continue apace — or better still, be forgotten entirely — in the wake of Captain America: Civil War, a decisively superior hero-vs.-hero extravaganza that also ranks as the most mature and substantive picture to have yet emerged from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Very much an “Avengers” movie in scope and ambition if not title (the conspicuous absence of Thor and Hulk notwithstanding), this chronicle of an epic clash between two equally noble factions, led by Captain America and Iron Man, proves as remarkable for its dramatic coherence and thematic unity as for its dizzyingly inventive action sequences; viewers who have grown weary of seeing cities blow up ad nauseam will scarcely believe their luck at the relative restraint and ingenuity on display. Buoyed by hearty critical support, 3D ticket premiums and enormous fan-ticipation, Disney’s May 6 release should have little trouble outperforming 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($714 million worldwide) and could land in roughly the same commercial arena as the Avengers pics, both of which earned north of $1 billion globally. (Justin Chang, Variety)
“Captain America: Civil War isn’t just a great Marvel movie, it’s a great movie. And that greatness – which is dependant in part on the groundwork laid by 12 previous movies – is the final proof of the concept that Marvel Studios first tried out in Iron Man back in 2008. It’s the film that proves the shared universe concept isn’t just cool, and isn’t just a great marketing idea but that – when used right – it creates a kind of gripping, resonant longform storytelling that no one else has ever accomplished on this scale. Civil War isn’t great despite being the third Captain America and thirteenth overall Marvel movie – it’s great because of those things.” (Devin Faraci, Birth.Movies.Death)
“The film tangles itself up with fears of endless war and the annihilation of innocent humanity, and in doing so it continues to validate the ongoing series. It’s a fact of movie history that films are created as both a response to, and a product of, the larger world. And superhero movies, which are the current cinema’s site of obsession over anxiety-making issues of global safety, must continue to address the unthinkable if they’re to be more valuable to culture than mere moneymaking products on an assembly line, or retreats into childhood nostalgia that only pretend to be making sense of the environment that produces them.” (Dave White, TheWrap)
“Captain America: Civil War is both a classic case of having your cake and eating it too. There is lots to love and much to appreciate in its thoughtful and deeply personal narrative. At its best, it acts as a repudiation of the MCU playbook. Oh sure, it is as much a table-setter as a stand-alone movie, and there are moments of unabashed fanservice that doesn’t really serve the film, but it takes its story to its natural endpoint with minimal compromise. If that sounds like a spoiler, it’s not. Because if anything this film relishes the opportunity to rub our noses in our own preordained expectations.” (Scott Mendelson, Forbes)
Captain America: Civil War is an enjoyable, but flawed follow-up to both Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s not nearly as powerful or gripping as TWS, but it also does a much better job of juggling so many different characters than AoU did . . . Finally, I want to address a tweet I sent after seeing the film where I referred to it as a “letdown.” Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favorite MCU movie; it’s smart, character-driven, action-packed, emotional, gutsy, intense, and has something important to say. While Civil War certainly checks several of those same boxes, I simply didn’t find it as effective as its predecessor. In that sense then it was a “letdown” to me. That was probably phrased poorly as Civil War is by no means bad. It’s just a good movie as opposed to the awesome one I had hoped for.” (Jim Vevjoda, 7.8/10 IGN)
“Here’s how enjoyable Captain America: Civil War is: Much has been made about Spider-Man returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after a few disastrous movies over at Sony Pictures. Hell, I have written a lot of those articles over the years. I was acutely aware that Spider-Man would be making his debut in this movie alongside Captain America, Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers. Yet midway through the movie, I was so invested in the film, when Spider-Man shows, it was a legitimate surprise. Civil War is so entertaining that I actually forgot Spider-Man was coming. It’s like enjoying a delicious meal and then the chef reminds you that was just the first course. By the time Part 1 of Avengers: Infinity War charges into theaters, who knows how massive the film’s roster of superheroes and supervillains will have expanded to, and whether that will be too much. For now, though, it turns out that “too much” may be just enough.” (Mike Sampson, 8/10 ScreenCrush)
“It’s easy to respect Captain America: Civil War because of the emotional and thoughtful approach it takes towards its characters instead of just having them punching and kicking each other – but the punching and kicking happens to be pretty phenomenal as well. In terms of action sequences, Marvel features have come a long way since the mediocre final battle in the original Iron Man, and while Joe and Anthony Russo blew us away with battles and set pieces in Captain America: The Winter Solider, their sequel ups the ante in every away. From the Avengers’ explosive mission at the start of the film to Cap and Winter Soldier’s attempt to escape from a building teeming with cops, it’s all intricately crafted and incredibly memorable. It should be noted, however, that every scene in the movie pales in comparison to the airport-set hero vs. hero battle in the second act – which I do not hesitate to call the greatest scene in the history of the comic book movie genre.” (Eric Eisenberg, 5/5 CinemaBlend)
In addition to the above outlets, this post will be updated with other reviews as they pour in. HitFix announced its review would go live on Friday.
As if you needed reminding, Captain America: Civil War hits theaters May 6.