With every Marvel movie ending in serious civilian-squashing destruction of the “something big falls from the sky” variety, it was only a matter of time before someone suggested putting superheroes on a leash. Slightly surprisingly, it’s Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) who bows down to the powers that be, while Captain America (Chris Evans) despite actually being present for the most recent civilian-killing screw up (an opening sequence street battle with villain Crossbones), feels that superheroes should take personal responsibility for their actions rather than let politicians take charge.
But the real problem is that Rogers’ old comrade turned evil Soviet killing machine The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) seems to be back to his terrorist ways. Rogers wants to handle it himself; Stark thinks they should leave it to the experts. An Avengers movie in all but name, the excellently-handled fight sequences just about make up for a somewhat muddled plot (why is the ex-army superhero the one who thinks they shouldn’t follow orders?) that gets by on strength of character alone. The massive cast is generally well-handled, though Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) gets short shrift, and the two guys making their debut – Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) – are off to a flying start. Marvel’s shtick is getting tired, but there’s life in it yet.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris