by Alan Yudman
Earlier this year, another superhero franchise that shall not be named tried to mine the conflict between heroes as a storyline. That did not go so well. CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is a playbook on how to handle it correctly.
The basic story revolves around The Avengers. The countries of the world feel they are out of control and causing more destruction than lives saved. New York, Sokovia, and in this film, Nigeria. The United Nations wants to create a committee to supervise The Avengers activities. They are seen as loose cannons.
Tony Stark agrees. Matter of fact, half of the team agrees. The other half is with Captain America. He thinks any kind of outside control is bad. Cap wants to save everyone without political consideration. He fears that is where they are headed. That difference of opinion sets up the conflict and splits the team down the middle.
And in the middle of all this the whole team is battling someone who wants to awake a whole team of super soldiers who are even more dangerous than Bucky Barnes. And that is Captain America’s greatest strength and weakness. His devotion and blind loyalty to Bucky. He has an enormous blind spot because Bucky was and is his friend, and he feels responsible for Bucky becoming the Winter Soldier. Oh, and Cap has another moral dilemma. He knows what happened to Tony’s parents, yet has never shared that with him.
The conflict comes to several heads, including an epic battle between team Cap and team Iron Man. Several new players are called on to help. There is a cameo by Ant-Man. There is the introduction of Tom Holland as the new Spider-Man. And CIVIL WAR also introduces us to the Wakandan prince who is the Black Panther. The scene is well staged, well thought out and works on every possible level. But that is not the end of the movie and it is no where near the climax. I will leave that for you to discover.
The stakes are high, yet they do not feel at all false, contrived or forced. The Russo brothers do an excellent job balancing all of this and making it all work nearly seamlessly. Ok, I could not really find a flaw in anything. The introduction of Black Panther and Spider-Man are handled perfectly. In the case of Peter Parker we know his story, no need to rehash it again. And the origin story for Black Panther is touched on, but the full details are best left for his own movie.
The Captain America trilogy is the best thing Marvel has done in its Cinematic Universe. Each of the three movies are tight, focused and hugely entertaining. The Russo’s are responsible for Winter Soldier and Civil War. They are also taking over The Avengers. I believe those films are in great hands.