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Hero fight, done right: ‘Captain America: Civil War’

May 12, 2016

CALEB DANIEL

Managing Editor|csd020@latech.edu

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios

 

In my review of “Batman v. Superman,” I said the best comic-book movies achieve a satisfying balance between complex real-world issues and classic superhero fun.

 

 

Thank God for Marvel, because they actually know how to find it.

 

 

Released only a month after DC’s subpar attempt at a hero-on-hero story, “Captain America: Civil War” expertly avoids the trap of taking itself too seriously.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely some thought-provoking issues to sift through in Anthony and Joe Russo’s kickoff of Marvel’s Phase Three.

 

 

The story revolves around an ideological rift between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). This disagreement has two main causes: a UN hero registration act and the framing of Cap’s brainwashed friend, Bucky Barnes.

 

 

While the main conflict from Mark Miller’s “Civil War” comic series had to be significantly edited to fit the film, the core struggle of liberty and security (see my column from last week) is still present.

 

 

Cap and Iron Man’s disagreement tears the Avengers in half, culminating in the long-awaited six-on-six brawl of heroes.

 

 

In a heavily character-driven genre, “Civil War” writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely do an exceptional job of fleshing out the roles of the ever-expanding cast.

 

 

While the resolute Cap and guilt-ridden Stark are solidified as the main characters here, secondary heroes like Vision (Paul Bettany) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) are still given valuable screen time and further development.

 

 

Chadwick Boseman’s cool and mysterious Black Panther has a satisfying debut before his solo film. More exciting, however, is the introduction of Spider-Man into the Avengers universe. And not just any Spider-Man: Tom Holland’s iteration has real potential to be the best yet. His adolescent voice and worldview are a refreshing return to classic Spidey, and his comical mid-fight commentary became my favorite part of the movie experience.

 

 

Even though portions of it were spoiled by trailers, the big fight itself is easily the best sequence of the film. In true Marvel fashion, hilarious one-liners fly right along with the punches.

 

 

After considering the many serious issues presented in the film up to that point, fans simply get to sit back and have fun during the superhero clash. In fact, “Civil War” has the most fun moments in the Marvel universe since Hulk tossed Loki around.

 

 

That is what made this “war” so enjoyable. No civilians were in harm’s way in the big fight, and no planet was on the verge of destruction.

 

 

There were definitely compelling issues to fight for, but nothing so immediate the characters couldn’t have a little fun.

 

 

“Civil War” weaves together numerous characters, storylines and struggles in a cohesive way that is hardly ever stifling. Markus and McFeely succeed at this because they really are not doing it alone.

 

 

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a treasured gift to superhero fans. Ever since Downey Jr. donned the Iron Man suit eight years ago, these movies have led the world on an astonishingly well-planned and unified journey through Marvel storylines.

 

 

Now, “Civil War” has kicked off Phase Three of the master plan, all leading to a galaxy-shaking showdown with the mighty Thanos.

 

 

“Civil War” opened up the Marvel world a little more for us, and I can’t wait to see the final product.

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