WARNING: There are several spoilers in the following story, so tread with caution. Calling something 'the best' is a very lofty thing to assign. It is somebody's opinion after all, and you know what they say about opinions. However, something like a movie has the ability to be the best until something comes along and knocks it off it's "best" pedestal. Well, within the Marvel universe, as far as this writer is concerned, Captain America: Civil War is the best Marvel film to date.
The great thing about Marvel at this very moment is that we have passed the origin stories. Sure, they keep rebooting Spider-Man so we have to, once again, see how Peter Parker became a web-slinging superhero. For the most part this is done and we now get to see how the characters live together. In many ways, Marvel's Civil War is like a version of MTV's The Real World...Just on steroids.
To say that The Avengers are dysfunctional is an oversimplification of the term. There is a genuine moral issue. Have they operated autonomously for too long? Is it possible to save the world when you are beholden to different interests in said world? Then add to this that the people we are talking about have powers that make them more than human.
So deliciously good is Captain America: Civil War that it makes the issues the characters faced in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice seem passe. This isn't a dig at Batman v. Superman. In many ways that film, with it's juxtapositions in story lines and its odes to the comic book faithful, make it groundbreaking in its own special way. However, the motivations for why Iron Man and Captain America ultimately feel the need to try and kill one another is crystal clear. Due to this, there is a coherence in Civil War that Dawn of Justice is missing.
It is this coherence, mixed with so many iconic and mind-blowing scenes, that is the through-line layered deep within Civil War. Sure, there is the usual light Marvel moments. At the same time there are very real questions raised, very deep subtexts tackled, and that is why we present you 9 Reasons Captain America: Civil War is the Best Marvel Movie To Date.
Captain America has Heart
The heart of Captain America: Civil War Is the debate regarding oversight. After The Avengers inadvertently cause a tragedy, every one of them is given pause. Some, like Captain America, feel that in order to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs. Others, like Iron Man, feel that if The Avengers truly serve the people, they should be discharged at their discretion. Right now, one of the biggest debates happening in the world is Government oversight. Do we need it? How much of it do we need? When is it too much? That this discussion is played out in arguably the biggest superhero film ever puts Captain America: Civil War in a class by itself.
The reveal of Black Panther is truly astounding in a calm and quiet, yet very powerful way. To call Chadwick Boseman's incredible portrayal of the Black Panther groundbreaking is right on the money. In this year of hashtags like #Oscarssowhite, it's nice to see that a multinational conglomerate like Disney is showing such diversity in Captain America: Civil War and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. However, from the very moment Black Panther comes on the screen you can tell it is important. It goes beyond the fact that Boseman is African American. He plays this role with such surefire grace, such a sense of purpose, that whether you are on his team or not (and ultimately how could you not be?), you recognize that a page has turned and the Marvel Universe and the real universe will never be the same.
The Spider-Man set-up is done in a way we haven't ever quite seen. It was recently announced that Robert Downey, Jr. is going to reprise Iron Man in the new Spider-Man movie Homecoming. Apparently, the studio loved the way that Downey and new Spidey Tom Holland worked together. However, with less screen time than most of the other characters, Holland manages to make a big impression in Captain America: Civil War. His portrayal is somewhere between what Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield did. At the same time, there is immediately a buy in because of this erstwhile Holland performance. In the end credits, we see that Iron Man has given Spider-Man a gift. It is this moment that makes us realize their may be hope for The Avengers after all. And if these people can get past their superhuman differences (which are very human at their core), maybe humanity has a chance after all.
Young Robert Downey Jr.
When we first see Iron Man, we are not seeing the Iron Man we know. Through the magic of CGI we are literally seeing the Robert Downey, Jr. (Benjamin Button style) from Tuff Turf and Back to School. Why is this important? How does it contribute to the weightiness of Captain America: Civil War as the best Marvel film? In those moments when the young Downey, Jr. is on the screen, we are reminded of everything the actor went through to get to his current lofty position. By proxy, we are reminded of who Tony Stark is and the demons he battles. I defy you to name a superhero movie that throws down the gauntlet so early, and so deeply, in the first few minutes.
Airport Battle Sequence Act 1
The Airport Splash Page Fight is the most incredible fight scene in the movie. Perhaps in any movie, at least in one we'll be seeing this summer. And it demands to be broken down into three parts. In part one, Iron Man and his posse engage Captain America and his crew so quickly, that it might be easy to think that their issues will be solved easily. This doesn't happen, and in this 'get to know you' moment, we are introduced to everything that makes this wild cast of characters special. There is an almost gleeful joy as we see them realizing that iron sharpens iron, and a respect is forged for all the parties concerned. Never, in the history of the films Marvel has released so far, has it seemed like a battle scene was broken down in this way. Like the feeling out session in a boxing match, we know that the major blows can't be far behind. Honestly, we may not actually want The Avengers to throw them at one another.
Airport Battle Sequence Act 2
Once the pleasantries between The Avengers are out of the way, they all regroup and meet again. As you can guess, another fight ensues. This one is more dangerous, the stakes are higher, and it is quite a bit more high octane than the first encounter. However, this isn't what adds to Civil War's strength. No, it is the hang fire moment. That point in time where, after regrouping, the battling parties stand across from one another. They've tasted each other's steel and like it or not, know that they are going to have to really get down this time. It is sad, bittersweet, and incredibly iconic because unfortunately there was really no way to avoid this moment. Civil War hinges on this 'splash page fight' and it acquits itself masterfully.
Airport Battle Sequence Act 3
We could talk about everything that leads up to War Machine suffering a near fatal blow. We could discuss how Ant Man becomes so large that Civil War openly pays homage to The Empire Strikes Back. What makes Act 3 so major is it is as if The Avengers realize that the issue tearing them apart has now become a living, breathing entity within them. Now that this superhero vs. superhero genie is out of the bottle, now that the tensions from all the other films are given a chance to run amok, we see not only how divided this family is but how reconciliation may be impossible. The effects of this on this franchise are immeasurable, and as such it is another example of how Captain America: Civil War leaves nothing on the table.
Peter Parker and Tony Stark's Relationship
The Moment Spider-Man Gets Through to Iron Man is subtle, yet amazing. There is a line when Spider-Man and Iron Man first meet that changes the tenor of the film. It is when Spider-Man explains why he has decided to fight crime. To paraphrase, he knows he has this special ability, and to not use it for the greater good of humanity would be just plain wrong. It would be like allowing the bad guys to win. In this moment, we see Iron Man truly caught off guard. It is like he is seeing Captain America's point for the first time in the film. That it comes from a neophyte like Spider-Man makes it that much more special. It is as if Captain America: Civil War is slowly passing the torch to the people that can ultimately redeem The Avengers from within.
A Fragile Truce
Just when it looks like all is lost, Iron Man seems to realize that he needs to give Captain America and the others an olive branch. This is eagerly accepted and for a good half hour, it seems like we are getting a glimpse of the good ole days. Sadly, this truce isn't meant to be. Eventually, Iron Man finds out some information regarding the Winter Soldier and his own family, and it becomes clear that these men are going to fight until the end. It is Captain America: Civil War's ability to take viewers to these different emotional, visceral and visual places that makes it like nothing any superhero film has ever done.
So, is Captain America: Civil War the greatest Marvel movie of all time? Or did it leave you thinking "Bring on Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Doctor Strange?" As big as Civil War is, Avengers: Infinity War promises to be even bigger. More insane. So, while this might be the best Marvel movie to date, it probably won't be able to hold onto that title for very long.