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Captain America: Civil War review

If you want to not read this entire thing to understand my basic point, Captain America: Civil War is everything Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice wasn't. Pretty basic, but I'll expand. Also, ***Spoilers*** this review will contain them and I will offer no further warnings. Turn back now if you care that much about it. You have been warned.

It might seem unfair to compare this summer's two major superhero movies, but they kind of invite the comparison. One's DC, one's Marvel, but they both deal with the same fundamental issue: Vigilantism and its collateral damage. By and large, superheroes generally operate outside the law. They kind of have to. There really isn't a place in most police forces or armies for a dude who can fly or sling webs or shoot lasers from his eyes. Also, they tend to fill in the gaps left by such organizations, doing the jobs no one else can do (as Nick Fury said of the Avengers).

That being said, much of the conflict in Civil War comes from the actions of the Avengers over the past 8 years or so (the length of time since the Marvel Cinematic universe began with Iron Man). Yes, they've caused a lot of damage, but it can be argued they prevented far worse things from happening by taking matters into their collective hands. These two sides are personified by Captain America, siding with the rights of the heroes and Tony Stark, who believes that maybe it's time to put a leash on the team in order to make them more accountable for the fights they fight.

Throughout all of this, Cap is still trying to track down his old friend Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, who has been framed for blowing up a UN meeting, which also draws Black Panther, the newly crowned king of Wakanda (a fictional African country in the Marvel world). Also, Stark has sussed out Spider-Man and brought him into the fold, upgrading his suit and hitting on his far too attractive version of Aunt May (weird casting, but hey, we'll see how she does in the next Spider-Man movie).

The movie has so many super powered individuals, you'd think it'd collapse under the weight of it, but somehow it doesn't. Iron Man, War Machine, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Vision, and Black Panther vs Captain America, the Falcon, the Winter Soldier, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, and Scarlet Witch... yet somehow everyone gets their moment to shine and be awesome, no one feels under used or out of place. Yes, it makes the movie into Avengers 2.5, but it's still undeniably a Captain America story. He is the heart and soul of the picture. His refusal to accept what Stark has (and Stark's eventual realization he was mistaken about Barnes) underlines that Cap may have a point, blue boy scout that he is.

It's astonishing how well its point is made... and, in hindsight, how BvS tried to make the exact same point and failed so fucking miserably. The huge title bout in BvS lasts about 5 minutes and feels totally worthless since they become best buddies immediately after. The huger title bout in Civil War goes on for what felt like 10, maybe 12 minutes, but knowing that most of the heroes involved are friends that have seen the issue differently, they aren't out to murder one another (except in Black Panther's revenge filled case), they've just reached an impasse where it's time to bring the other side to heel... which makes it far more interesting to see.

In every possible way, Civil War is the superior movie to BvS. It also feels like a worthy follow up to Marvel's ever increasingly well made pantheon. It's amazing how they've managed to make their movies into the visual embodiment of their comics. This is a big event issue that will have ramifications down the line, and I hope this comes together well in Infinity War. Good work Marvel. DC, hire better filmmakers, for fuck's sake.

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