Story

Captain America: Civil War opens with Avengers Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Falcon (Anthony Mackie) and Vision (Paul Bettany) in Lagos, Nigeria. They’re tracking Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo), who is threatening to release a stolen and highly contagious virus. Captain America and the Avengers retrieve the virus, but in the process a seven-story building is destroyed and numerous lives are lost.

Because the Avengers cause a lot of damage at the same time as they protect humanity, world governments decide that the Avengers should operate under the guidance of a panel. General Ross tells the Avengers that if they refuse to sign a document (the Sokovia Accords) agreeing to cooperate, they’ll be retired.

Not all members of the Avengers team agree with the Sokovia Accords and the team is split apart. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), War Machine, Black Widow and Vision sign the Accords, while Captain America, Falcon and Scarlet Witch refuse to sign.

In Vienna, the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) allegedly blows up the building where the Sokova Accords are being signed, killing hundreds of people. The Winter Soldier isn’t responsible but looks likely to be killed anyway. To avoid this before the person really responsible for the Vienna tragedy is discovered, Captain America and his retired team decide to track down the Winter Soldier. They’re immediately labelled criminals and are hunted by Iron Man and his team. The resulting clash between the two teams of Avengers has devastating consequences.

Themes

Superheroes; superpowers; suicide bombing; betrayal and revenge

Violence

Captain America: Civil War has extended sequences of action violence and scenes of torture and suicide bombing. There are many deaths, and several scenes that show some injury, blood and gore. For example:

  • There’s a brutal fight between Avengers and terrorists. During the fight Captain America repeatedly uses his shield to smash attackers in the face, head and body. He kicks one attacker in the head and slams another into a stone pillar. Scarlet Witch levitates attackers and then throws them through the air. Black Widow kicks and punches people in the face and body and also shoots a man in the head. A truck being used as a battering ram crashes into a building, while men with automatic guns, cannons and grenades fire at the Avengers. One explosion throws Captain America out of a multistorey building.
  • A man detonates an explosive device strapped to his body. His body is consumed by a bright flash and the explosion causes massive damage to an apartment building. Later we hear that several people were killed and injured in the explosion.
  • A torture scene shows a man hanging upside down from the ceiling with his hands tied behind his back. His head is directly above a sink that is being filled with water. A second man questions the hanging man while the sink fills with water. As the water reaches the man’s chin he struggles until he finally drowns.
  • A man is strapped to a mind control machine and his body convulses. He screams in pain when the machine is turned on.
  • A van packed with explosives explodes, destroying a building crowded with people. People are hurled through the air and bodies and debris cover the floor. A man sits crying on the floor cradling the dead body of his father in his arms. Blood is spattered on the man’s face and shirt front.
  • One extended action scene shows a head-on battle between two evenly matched groups of Avengers, each using their unique abilities to fight.
  • A man rides a motorbike next to the driver’s side of the car, which makes the car go out of control and then burst into flames. The man walks up to the burning car and pulls the driver out, and then repeatedly punches the unconscious driver in the face until the driver is dead. Before the scene ends, the man walks around to the passenger side of the car where a woman is trapped in the flames.
  • A laser beam hits an Avenger who is flying through the air in a powered suit. He falls to the ground. He lies unconscious in a crater with blood on his face. He’s later shown with spinal damage, trying to walk with leg braces.
  • Several dead bodies are seen inside tubes, each with a bullet wound to the forehead. A man says they ‘died in their sleep’, suggesting that he murdered them in the tubes.
  • A man describes how his wife and child were killed when a building collapsed. He says that when the screaming stopped it took him two days to find the bodies and that his dead father was still holding them.  

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Captain America: Civil War has numerous disturbing scenes and scary characters. For example:

  • An evil character wears a bone-coloured mask with skull-like qualities. In one scene he removes the mask to reveal a badly disfigured face with burn scars.
  • A man in a panther costume has cat-like claws.
  • A man has a metal arm.
  • A man with a bald head has red skin and implants on his forehead, and he emits a laser beam from his eyes.

From 5-8
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the scenes and characters described above.

From 8-13
Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by some of the scenes and characters described above.

Over 13
Younger children in this age group might be disturbed by some of the scenes described above.

Sexual references

Captain America: Civil War has some sexual references. For example:

  • A father guesses that his son has had sexual relationships with several women.
  • A man talks about separating from his partner. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Captain America: Civil War shows some use of substances. For example:

  • A man in a hospital-like setting is strapped to a bed with an IV tube in into his arm. A blue liquid flows throw the tube. As it enters the man’s arm he arches his back and screams.
  • One scene shows several men who have been physically enhanced by drugs. They’re fighting to the death. One of the men kills one attacker and then brutally slays a doctor.

Nudity and sexual activity

Captain America: Civil War shows some partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • A man passionately kisses a woman on the lips.
  • One female character wears a tight-fitting body suit.

Product placement

There is no product placement of concern in Captain America: Civil War, but products associated with this movie are marketed to children.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in Captain America: Civil War.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Captain America: Civil war is a superhero action movie featuring Marvel Comic characters. It’s all about the need to consider the real-world consequences of actions, and the grief, anguish and need for revenge that can result from actions.

This movie is the third in the Captain America series and is the most intense of the three movies. The movie targets older teenagers and adult fans of the series. It has intense scenes of action violence and torture, as well as a suicide bombing. This makes the movie unsuitable for children under 13 years, and we don’t recommend it for children under 15 years.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:

  • taking responsibility for your actions
  • protecting your friends
  • committing yourself to ideals.

You could also talk with your children about the beliefs of the opposing teams of Avengers, the issues involved, and whether it’s possible to say which team is right.