The best hero is the one we can see in the mirror.
That’s what the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been able to understand and its newest iteration, “Captain America: Civil War,” encompasses this idea perfectly.
During the “golden age” of comic books, the United States was in the midst of World War II and readers needed an out-of-this-world hero, like Superman and Captain America, who epitomized the story of good vs. evil. Now, the world has shifted to a point where reality is key and heroes can’t just solve our problems – they need to have our problems.
The last film in the Captain America trilogy, which was directed by Anthony and Joseph Russo, may not be the perfect traditional comic book movie, but it sets the bar for the the trend of realism that accompanies superhero movies.
There’s a level of maturity throughout the film that has not been achieved in either the DC or Marvel universes this side of “The Dark Knight.”
The plot is set up simply. The two vocal leaders within the Avengers, Captain America (played by Chris Evans) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), have always had very different ideas of the the world and finally an issue has arisen where they can’t continue to work together and have such different consciences. They’re set with a politically charged dilemma; allow themselves to be under the direction of the United Nations and sacrifice their freedom or operate above the law and endanger countless civilian lives.
Everyone loves watching the Avengers crash through the streets of New York, but the conversations concerning how those actions actually affect the normal person have never happened until now. This theme is a bold statement from Disney that comic books are just as much about the average readers as they are about the unrealistic versions of themselves that readers fantasize about.
This real life-styled issue sets up a clear reason for there to be a “civil war,” and it allows audience members to feel invested in the fight and conflicted about which side to support.
Although this is a Captain America film by title and Iron Man plays the clear foil, every character has their moment to shine and not a single storyline comes across as underdeveloped.
The acting is overall superb and everyone is interesting, but Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) steal the show in their debut as a part of the MCU.
Spider-Man is a character that has been surrounded with speculation regarding how he was going to play off the rest of the Avengers, and the final verdict is that it worked flawlessly. His nerdy style of humor was integrated seamlessly and Holland held his own in his character’s first scene, where he played opposite Downey Jr.’s Iron Man.
The most surprising part of the film was how crisp it looked in 3D. It gave the film an all-around more intense feel, and there was a sense that you weren’t getting the complete experience of the film without it being in 3D.
“Captain America: Civil War” has set the bar for how a superhero movie should be made and if the MCU continues to follow this film’s successes, fans are in for a good time.