Captain America: Civil War could have been called Iron Man 4, Ant-Man 2 or Avengers 3 in that all four series converge in this episode. If you haven’t seen all the films in all three series, you may be slightly puzzled. I have known these characters since their creation in the early 1960s, so that gives me a slight advantage over newcomers.
Even if you have missed an episode or two, the film is enjoyable. The special effects are good, but there is also some genuine acting. Robert Downey does better as a troubled Tony Stark than he did in least one of the Iron Man films. William Hurt joins the list of major actors who are willing to appear in comic book films; whether he is a villain or merely a dupe of certain sinister forces remains to be seen. Martin Freeman has a small role, but he will probably emerge as a major villain in a later film.
We are introduced to a new character, Black Panther, who will be the subject of his own film sometime soon. We are also introduced to a new version of Spider-Man, one much younger than either of the two versions we have already seen. By the way, Aunt May is also very different. This must be the Spider-Man of an alternate universe. (I also suspect that the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse is also in an alternate universe since both Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch will appear; Quicksilver died in the last Avengers film and the Scarlet Witch is an Avenger.
The battle scenes are everything a fan could hope for; some of the less violent scenes are a bit too long, but they do contribute to the motivation of the characters. I need to see the film again, of course, but I do have a major question about how Captain America could have known about something that happened while he was frozen in the Arctic ice.
Be sure to stay for two teasers in the closing credits. If you arrive in time to see the trailers, you will enjoy the first
look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and at the new Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One. We have to wait until November and December for those.