Here's why critics are so impressed with 'Captain America: Civil War'

Early reviews say the newest Marvel film, which opens next month, is an absorbing story that still retains humor. 

Disney/AP
'Captain America: Civil War' stars Chris Evans (center), Elizabeth Olsen (l.), and Sebastian Stan (r.).

Early reviews have been released for the next Marvel release, "Captain America: Civil War," and notices from critics are so far mostly positive for the movie, which finds superheroes such as Iron Man, Captain America, and the Black Widow taking sides against one another.

"Civil" will be released on May 6 and depicts a conflict between Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), who in the comics believes that a government initiative requiring all superheroes to register themselves is a good idea, and Captain America (Chris Evans), who opposes it. 

The movie will be the newest from the highly successful Marvel Studios, which has recently released some of the highest-grossing films of all time, including 2012's "The Avengers" and last year's "Avengers: Age of Ultron."

Dave White of The Wrap writes that "Civil," which features most of the Marvel heroes so far seen onscreen and also introduces a few characters new to the Marvel universe, "never forgets its humanity."

"Screenwriting team Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely ... efficiently move plot blocks into place and check off interlocking points of order, but they do so while never forgetting that their characters are more than brands to build," Mr. White writes. "Directors Anthony and Joe Russo ... juggl[e] all the members of their superhero family with a playful touch that both informs character interaction and delivers vital breathing room in between battles."

Brian Truitt of USA Today praised Mr. Downey and Mr. Evans for "outstanding performances" and writes that Tom Holland "nails" the role of Spider-Man. The film is "at its core a deep exploration of friendship and family and what sacrifices should be made to hold onto both," according to Mr. Truitt: "it hurts to watch these men [Downey and Evans], brothers in a sense, punch and blast each other into oblivion – a testament to two actors totally on their game but also to audiences' investment in these characters paying off in dramatic fashion."

Meanwhile, Sheri Linden of the Hollywood Reporter found the movie "overlong but surprisingly light on its feet":

Within genre requirements, [the screenwriters and directors] 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.... such charismatic actors as [Don] Cheadle and [Scarlett] Johansson feel sidelined through much of the story. The movie's center does hold, though, in the well-played contrast between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark.

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