I’ve been hearing and reading a lot lately about how and when this superhero craze is going to end. Even though this it the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe which seems unbelievable and it’s just beginning its third phase with the release of “Captain America: Civil War” they are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. So much so that I’m going to say it right now, this is the best Marvel movie up to this point.
Since the events of “Winter Soldier” and “Age of Ultron” Captain America (Chris Evans) and his new team of Avengers consisting of Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Vision (Paul Bettany), Black Window (Scarlett Johansson), and Scarlet Witch (Elisabeth Olsen) have been attempting to keep the peace where ever in the world that happens to take them. While on a mission they are faced with human collateral damage, much like when they saved the world in the first and second Avengers films. Added to that the guilt that Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) feels about how what they do affects the people caught in their crossfire, it’s doesn’t take too long for the world governments feel the same way. This brings about an accord that requires all of the Avengers heroic acts to be officially sanctioned by the United Nations. This causes a division in the team which pits hero against hero, and with the unpredictable Winter Solder (Sebastian Stan) and Wakandan hero Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) thrown in the mix with their own agendas, things get even more complicated.
With the returning teams of writers Markus and McFeely and directors Joe and Anthony Russo they have found their grove with not just Captain America, but with the entire cast of Marvel characters. They strike a perfect balance of action, drama, humor, and character development. With more attention paid to the previously under developed Vision and Scarlet Witch and newcomer Black Panther the filmmakers still manage to pay off the build up of tension between Cap and Iron Man that has existed since their first meeting. Also with a total of 12 superheroes in this film it in no way feels over-stuffed, everyone gets their moments to shine with enough left out to keep you thirsty for more. Which is as it should be, since one of the bumps these Marvel movies have come across is too much set up for other films. The Russo brothers know where to focus their attention, so much so that this feels as much like an Avengers movie than it does the third Cap film.
“Civil War” is certainly the darkest of the Marvel films, some of the violence is harder and the effects of the heroes actions seem like they will have more of a lasting impact that will be felt in future films. But there is enough levity and fun at times to keep this up there with the best of Phase One’s “Avengers” and “Iron Man” and Phase Two’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Winter Soldier”. I just love seeing these characters interact and get more interesting with every new film, plus they can still manage to tell a strong story where the stakes are high enough but it’s not world threatening as in previous films. And I purposefully have not mentioned the films villain who is certainly the most unconventional one so far. Again I feel that “Civil War” is the best Marvel film to date, as the fans and average moviegoers will get everything they want here and as a bonus the most comic-book accurate Spider-Man ever put on screen.
–Robert L. Castillo