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For the past 8 years superhero movies have all but dominated the box office and for some, the fatigue is approaching critical levels. After shameful entries the likes of Fan4stic and Batman V Superman, that’s not a tricky thing to understand. Fortuitously, Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War arrives in the nick of time to proves the genera still has plenty of punch left. That is, when handed by creative teams that actually understand the source material and its audience.
So you know the plot goes like this: over the last eight years, the Avengers actions have saved many but also produced some collateral damage. Now the governments of the world are attempting to initiate an act that would ultimately control the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) considers this an infringement on his team’s liberties and ability to defend humanity, while Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) supports the idea of more accountability for the Avengers actions. As the argument spirals into an all-out feud, the rest of the Avengers must choose a side.
The hallmark of any good movie experience is how well it engages the audience from start to finish, and boy does this one deliver. Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and directed by the Russo Brothers; Captain America: Civil War not only maintains its awareness throughout the movies entirety, it also manages to keep its bulky number of characters distinctly balanced and wholly serviceable. So if you had any qualms about this movie feeling more like Avengers 2.5, I assure you, you have nothing to worry about.
New additions to Marvel studios, Black Panther and Spider-Man have been generating a lot of buzz over the last few months and let me tell you; they are both equally awesome! Chadwick Boseman nailed the role of Black Panther better than I could have hoped and as for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, I am now eagerly awaiting his upcoming solo film. I dare to say Holland may prove to be the best Spider-Man yet, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions after only a total of 15 minutes of screen time; although, the prospect of a hot Aunt May has challenged my sensibilities in a weird way.
The only real negative thing I could nit-pick about was the inclusion of the films villain, Zemo. There wasn’t anything wrong with Daniel Bruhl’s performance, it just felt like he was there for the sake of having a nefarious big bad and was overall minor to the plot. Admittedly, when I first saw the trailers I was a little worried about the airport scene. Let’s face it, it looked about as cartoonish as you can get (X-Men 92 opening, anyone?). Boy was I wrong. That scene turned out to be one of my favorite action pieces in a Marvel movie to date and proves once again, that just when you thought you’d seen it all, you haven’t.
Once again the action, comedy and special effects are all outstanding, but as it is with the better superhero films, the story and characterization never takes a back seat to distracting spectacle. Even though the situation is serious, it retains just enough lightheartedness to keep the experience from feeling dingy. With themes including: friendship, loyalty, choices and consequence, there is plenty of substance to go around. In other words, like 2014’s Winter Soldier, Captain America Civil War’s not just a great superhero movie, but a great movie in general.
Four star spangled shields for Captain America: Civil War!