Wednesday, May 11, 2016


As a DC guy, I hate admitting it, but Captain America: Civil War is everything Batman v Superman could have and should have been. From a well written and coherent script, to spectacular and flawless action sequences, to character development, it outshines BvS. The one area where BvS trumps Civil War is in the visual presentation. BvS looked like a live action comic book, where Civil War, like the Nolan Batman movies, has a real world tone, but otherwise directors Joe and Anthony Russo have blown away Zack Snyder.

The plot deals with Captain America's loyalty to his buddy Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier, to the point it divides the Avengers. The United Nations, after reviewing the collateral damage and political repercussions the Avengers have caused on various missions, want the team to answer and report to a committee. Tony Stark, on a guilt trip, agrees big government is the answer.  Steve Rogers says screw that bureaucratic red tape, the best government is a tiny government.  When Bucky is set up to take the fall for bombing a UN meeting, rifts begin with the Avengers picking sides between Iron Man and Captain America. Eventually, after roller-coaster rides of action sequences, Tony learns Cap was right, Bucky was framed, but then the film's "villain", Baron Zemo,  although "mastermind" might be a more appropriate word, reveals a dark secret to Stark about his parents' deaths.

Unlike BvS, there is a legitimate reason for the heroes turning against each other, unlike Batman's random and often unascertained hate for Superman.  And unlike BvS, there is no ridiculous "hey our moms have the same first name, let's be best friends" resolution. In fact, there is no true resolution to the divide among heroes. It is something that will need to be resolved in subsequent films. Marvel knows how to build these things, where DC seems trying way too hard to play catch up.

The introduction of Spider-Man into this universe is just one of the film's highlights, although the sight of Tony Stark flirting with a very MILFy Aunt May is something I never thought I would ever see. After the dismal Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies, the Russos have brought Spidey back on track in a stellar introduction. Add to this the introduction of Black Panther, and the introduction of Wonder Woman which was one of the best parts of BvS, perhaps even the MVP of that film, begins to look a little lightweight by comparison. The Russos were also able to balance drama, fun, humor, and action, again besting Snyder.

Going in, I thought this would be an Avengers movie mistitled as a Captain America movie.  Various Avengers do get moments to shine (the previously mentioned Spider-Man, Bucky, Scarlet Witch, and Ant-Man top the list, as does agent Sharon Carter, and the always dependable Black Widow), and in some spots Cap does seem to get lost in the shuffle. There's lots of Tony Stark, but very little of him suited up as Iron Man.  At the end, it does seem like Cap's show. As far as MCU movies go, Civil War doesn't quite top The Winter Soldier, but it comes in a strong second place on the list.  Ten years ago, who would ever have though Captain America would have the two best movies in the MCU?

1 comment:

Zach Murphy said...

"Civil War is everything Batman v Superman could have and should have been."

I totally agree.

Great review.

- Zach