Captain America: Civil War held its junket last weekend, and world premiere in Hollywood, CA last night. That means the critics have seen it, and the embargoes are beginning to lift. So, what do the critics think? Well, for our full take on the film, you can click right here. The short version?
"Everything the filmmakers and cast members said about audiences being truly divided turns out to be true," our reviewer, Brandon Davis said. "Captain America is not only fighting for something he believes in but what he believes in is credible and organic to the film's story. The same can be said for Iron Man." He continued, "The emotional beats never missed. There are moments that will have audiences audibly gasping. There are themes of friendship, love, heartbreak, and fear, which are blended seamlessly." Though he said that Spider-Man and Black Panther's introductions are "handled masterfully," and every character gets their own arc in the movie, "it is still very much a Captain America film, another filmmaker promise made good." Oh, and that big airport fight scene? "The airport battle scene teased in the trailers could be watched on a loop for three hours and still be worth the price of admission." Score: 9.8/10
Over at UK Magazine Empire, the review is similarly - or maybe even moreso - glowing.
"Captain America: Civil War is the best Marvel Studios movie yet," they write. "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 calls out Scarlet Witch, Vision, Black Widow, Hawkeye all getting stand-out stories. Spider-Man's "introduction to the action is resoundingly joyous, the reboot the character truly deserves," and Ant-Man "receives more than a tokenistic 'hey it's him!' cameo." The "Steve/Bucky thread" that stretches to the first Captain America movie helps make this "Cap Three rather than Avengers Two-and-a-half." Again, similarly, "Who the audience should agree with is hardly a clear-cut matter," as both arguments are equally presented - and problematic. "Directors Joe and Anthony Russo don’t just want to rocket your heart into your mouth with their action sequences, which have the tight choreography of a Greengrass Bourne, and the brutal flair of a Gareth Evans rumble; they want to keep your brain firmly engaged, too." Score: 5/5 Stars
And yes, another perfect review comes from Total Film.
"Civil War delivers on the promise of that title in a major way," they say. "In many ways, Civil War is the Marvel team-up sequel Age of Ultron should have been," citing the way it directly follows-up on The Winter Soldier, with "satisfying character arcs for every major player." They note "it's one of the MCU's more serious entries, tonally a world away from the party-time antics of Age of Ultron, but that doesn't mean it's humorless; far from it." "Importantly, given the callous loss of life going on in other comic-book movies, the human cost of the Avengers’ actions is keenly felt and addressed in a meaningful way," the review notes, and "the airport-set Battle Royale ranks among the most inventive and fun scraps ever committed to superhero celluloid." Total Film calls Chris Evans "dependably superb, the stoic heart and soul of the MCU," and "even better is Robert Downey Jr., who shows a different side to Tony Stark." They also compare Zemo to BvS's Luthor, something our own review did as well. Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther has them "champing at the bit" for more, and again, "better yet is Marvel's all-new Spider-Man," as Tom Holland "makes a case for being the best screen Spidey so far. His Peter Parker is perfect - nervy, goofy, and instantly endearing." Ultimately, "If there’s a risk of the Marvel ‘formula’ becoming stale, there isn’t any evidence of that here." Score: 5/5 Stars
Now for some quicker soundbites and scores from around the internet:
Cinemablend: "we have Joe and Anthony Russo’s Captain America: Civil War, which succeeds in raising the bar higher than you’d think it could go....Bringing together tremendous character dynamics; bold structure; an emotional narrative earned after years of story work; and spell-binding, fun action sequences, it’s everything a blockbuster should be." Score: 5/5 Stars
USAToday: "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... Under the direction of Winter Soldier’s Anthony and Joe Russo, Civil War is the most epic Avengers movie so far, even though it’s not an Avengers movie... Previous movies have had issues balancing the youthful banter and scientific confidence of the comic-book wallcrawler, but Holland nails the role in every aspect... Rather than rooting for the fisticuffs, it hurts to watch these men, brothers in a sense, punch and blast each other into oblivion." Score: 3.5/4 Stars
Screencrush: (warning, many small-ish plot spoilers in their review) "it’s almost remarkable that a movie this big can still feel intimate. At its core, Civil War remains a movie about Steve Rogers ad Bucky Barnes... It’s like enjoying a delicious meal and then the chef reminds you that was just the first course." Score: 8/10
Variety: (spoiler warning included in the review) "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... Civil War is nothing if not a testament to the benefits of continuity; this is the rare Marvel sequel that feels like not just a continuation but a culmination... Captain America: Civil War doesn’t break the mold; it burnishes the brand, and sets a high but not insurmountable bar. Let the games continue." No Score Given
Forbes: (again, spoilers - don't read the full review if you want to go in clean) "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... Captain America: Civil War is a good movie, one worth enjoying on the biggest screen you can find, and one that will entertain the hell out of lots of people even as it goes against the grain in some surprising ways. But the film is periodically an exercise in long-form frustration." No Score Given
IndieWire: "Credit the Russos, Marvel's Kevin Feige, and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for designing a story with shark-like forward momentum... With so many characters in the mix, the plot sounds more complex than it really is. But simplicity is the film’s chief asset... Spider-Man stands out from the pack not only by virtue of the unique deal that brings him back into Marvel's fold, but because Tom Holland plays the character as a kid... Chadwick Boseman plays Black Panther as a regal leader, intelligent and physically powerful, with all the confidence of a man who has earned his place in the world... 'Civil War' is effective thanks to a focus on character, with the film's extended roster serving to explore and underline absorbing ideas about family, friendship, and the use of power." Score: A-
The Hollywood Reporter: "the latest Marvel extravaganza furthers the studio’s cross-pollination of action franchises in a way that’s sure to satisfy devotees... they achieve an overall balance between super-kinetic — or numbing, depending on your point of view — action sequences and character detail, although more of the latter would have been welcome... The movie’s center does hold, though, in the well-played contrast between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark... Evans leaves room for doubt about whether Rogers is right to resist outside rules... Downey, whose ace timing and effortless snark make him the movie’s chief comic relief, also provides pivotal emotional chords... Tom Holland’s agile performance bodes well for next year’s Spider-Man reboot. No Score Given
We'll update with more as they come in. Captain America: Civil War hits US theaters May 6, 2016, and UK April 29, 2016.