AM At The Movies: ‘Captain America: Civil War’

Captain America: Civil War
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson
Directed by: Joe and Anthony Russo
Run time: 2h 26min

This is the best Marvel movie to date and it’s not even close. This is also everything that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice could have been if handled correctly as well.

With such a large ensemble, finding a balance between making everyone feel essential and needed without overshadowing the handful of characters that are at the core of the story and the team behind this film handled things with a deft touch. While Captain America, Iron Man and Winter Soldier stay front and center throughout, none of the other superheroes that show up on screen – and there are a lot of them – feel like they’ve been short-changed.

From the new additions to this collective to characters that debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron and are taking on larger roles this time around, no one is there simply to make a cameo, smile at the camera and disappear; they all have a voice and a purpose and make their appearance count.

The reason this film works so well is that it’s the most robust and real story in the Avengers canon; something that isn’t just about the good guys going after and ultimately beating the bad guys. There are genuine emotions and internal conflicts at play here and those things bring out the best in some very familiar characters.

It’s not just Tony Stark rattling off snappy one-liners (though he obviously still has a few) or Steve Rogers being nothing but earnest; it’s about a team coming apart at the seams because of some legitimate concerns and disagreements. You could transport the basics of the story out of the realm of superheroes and it would still have a similar impact, which is why this film works so well.

As is always the case with Marvel efforts, the choreographed fight scenes are excellent, with everyone getting a chance to showcase their powers and special skills at various points, plus a couple surprises. Plus, Vision wearing clothes is unexplainably amusing for some reason, but maybe that’s just me.

One of the other things this story does so well is setup the next Avengers movie – Infinity War, Part I – which lands in theatres in 2018. With the battle between “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” and Thanos playing out over two flicks – and most people assuming Part I will be the bad guys getting the upper hand before the good guys respond in the finale – the events of Civil War serve as an outstanding prelude to things playing out that way.

It also resets the Spiderman franchise and – for the first time on the big screen – actually uses a believable actor to play high school student Peter Parker, as 20-year-old Tom Holland looks like he could be finishing up his senior year before heading off to college, unlike his predecessors Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield.

While there are a couple minor stumbles – Elizabeth Olsen’s inconsistent accent as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch – Captain America: Civil War is ultimately a wildly entertaining, engrossing flick that long-time Marvel fans and newcomers alike will thoroughly enjoy.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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