After the destruction of Sokvoia, The Avengers are under pressure because of their supposed lack of care about the human life they swore to protect. Further pressure is heaped upon them when Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch's (Elizabeth Olsen) mistake costs the lives of several Wakandan humanitarian workers in Lagos. Following this high profile incident the Sokovoi Accords are drafted, and agreed by 117 countries, this will effectively put The Avengers under the control of a UN panel. The morality of this splits the group with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Black Widow (Scarlet Johnasson) and others on one side and Captain America (Chris Evans), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and others on the opposing side.
One of the biggest criticisms of the superhero genre is is the complete neglect of human life, Man of Steel was chastised for this and the regard for human life in the recent X-Men film was non-existent as director Bryan Singer seemed happy to destroy the world without any due care for non-mutant life. Captain America: Civil War is different, however, as the cost of human life becomes the theme, the central driving point of the story and thing that divides The Avengers. It is an accident in Lagos, one which cost human life, that began the fracturing of the Avengers tight, knit group with the Sokvoia Accords being a major reason for this division.
The division between The Avengers is what drives the film, and opens interesting discussions about their accountability for the human life lost in their attempts to save the World. Is the billions of lives they potentially saved enough to save them from the public view that they seem to lack accountability for the destruction they leave behind(quite frankly the answer is resounding 'yes')? This means the fighting is mostly amongst themselves and thus innocent human life isn't lost, and when it is it often becomes a major talking point. This is good because far too often superhero films tend to be rather mindless when it comes to this.
The large, ensemble cast creates issues where characters are not only fighting each other for their own their different beliefs, but seemingly for screen time as well. It was an issue that plagued the recent X-Men film and it's an issue that Civil War also has because there are so many characters it becomes rather overinflated. However, despite the over-abundance of characters the film doesn't suffer from an messy story as it's told with surprising clarity. The reasoning for each avenger choosing their side feels believable and their division generally creates an interesting fracture in their relationships. It's a well-written film in a genre prone to lacking in a clear and concise storyline.
Despite a clear storyline there are one or two issues, there is a sense of repetitiveness is the fact that an avenger always seem to save another avenger at the last second, this means that no real tension is created from the film's action sequences which, whilst being enjoyable and well directed, lack any threat meaning they are severally devoid in any real substance. Another issue is the comedy, some of it works, some of it doesn't and in the latest film there's more examples of the comedy not working as well as it did in the previous films because of the third film's more serious take on the story.
There are some welcome additions, and the regulars return with fine performances in one of Marvel's best films.