Marvel Studios has done it again. Captain America: Civil War, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, is not only the crowning jewel of the Captain America trilogy, it just might be one of the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Indeed, it was definitely made for the fans, by fans of the beloved Marvel heroes.

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Chris Evans admirably leads this movie as a Captain America trying to maintain his values and friendships from his old life, with the complexities and relationships of his new life. As Evans leads his team of superheroes against registering themselves as government agents, you can feel the internal struggle he has over doing the right thing, even when his friends are telling him to do something else. His Captain America continues to establish himself as the most inspirational superhero of this current time.

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Opposite of him is Robert Downey Jr. in his sixth appearance as Iron Man/Tony Stark. His character has evolved so much since his first appearance in 2008’s Iron Man, and Downey really pours himself into the role for this movie. Still charismatic as ever, he is also believably tortured by his past mistakes, and does an amazing job convincing both Steve Rogers and the audience that he just might be right. Without spoiling too much, his acting in the third act is heartbreaking.

In fact, the entire movie is a very impressive emotional roller coaster. The fight scenes against terrorists and later law enforcement are intense and savage, and as stated previously, the climax will have you heartbroken. But, the airport battle winningly stands out as one of the best comic book action sequences ever. During the battle, all the characters, from returning favorites to new heroes, are treated with equal enthusiasm and all of them more than once are given their moment to shine.

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Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is lethal as before, as she once again proves with her extreme fighting abilities and acrobatics, that she can stand toe to toe against earth’s mightiest heroes. War Machine (Don Cheadle) is amiable as ever, and does a great job garnering sympathy for the pro-registration side. The Vision (Paul Bettany), though a machine, is emotionally vulnerable like any human. Especially around Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who really comes into a powerful hero of her own, with all the weight of responsibility that comes with that. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is a mentor to her, but also proves once again how an archer can be a superhero.

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The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) is once again delightful as Steve Roger’s battle buddy and confidant in the modern world. His best friend jealousy with the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is also priceless. Stan himself gives an amazing performance as someone both tormented by their brainwashed past, but still trying to be a good friend to Steve Rogers.

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While Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is making a reappearance in the MCU, no doubt he competes with Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in stealing the movie. Rudd brings back his jovial charm seen in Ant-Man, geeks out over Captain America and has a giant moment that is sure to make audiences react with cheering. Boseman is mysterious, soulful and impressive as the agile and wise defender of Wakanda. No doubt after this movie, old and new fans of the character will anticipate his solo movie in 2018. Holland plays both Spider-Man and Peter Parker with youthful optimism and naivete, as well as teenage snarkiness, and his first foray into the MCU feels straight out of the pages of a comic.

Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) gives one of the most inspiring speeches of the movie, and proves herself worthy of continuing the legacy of Agent Peggy Carter. Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) is both enigmatic and wretched. Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt), not seen since The Incredible Hulk, is understandably authoritative.

In the halls of comic book movie fandom, Captain America: Civil War stands out as a cinematic achievement and celebration of everything that continues to make the Marvel Cinematic Universe so beloved by fans all around the world.

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