Let’s face it, when Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice came out in cinemas, it almost blew people away with its dark rendition of the realities of being mutants or superheroes, and the dark side of human beings. People thought that finally, DC Comics is giving Marvel Comics a run for its money, even though there were themes somewhat similar to the Marvel Universe movies.
And then Captain America: Civil War showed up, and showed the world that, once again, the Marvel Universe rules the cinemas, and storylines, gaining the best reviewed superhero movie of all time with a staggering 98% overall positive rating from all major movie review aggregators. That means Cap’s Civil War even beat its own Marvel Universe movies (that averaged between 88% and 94%), and ousted the all-time leader, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight (95%).
Look at it this way, if you needed to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond today (well, his contract is up, anyway), you wouldn’t want Henry Cavill or Ben Affleck saying, “Bond, James Bond,” would you? But when you see Civil War, the acting alone will make you think, “wait a minute, Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Evans would make great shoo-ins as James Bond.” Even Jeremy Renner would make a great Bond agent.
Now, since they tried to cram in as much superhero and mutant characters as they could, how did it go? Utterly fantastic is the only way to describe it. Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Don Cheadle (War Machine), and Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) have always given their stellar best and are no longer considered as just supporting cast. They are paramount, part-and-parcel, and all-important in the Marvel movies.
Chadwick Boseman playing the role of T’Challa (Black Panther), and prince of the African nation of Wakanda convincingly played the third party and fresh eyes that was really needed in Civil War. Of course, there is also the fact that this debut is a harbinger of better things when he returns in the third Avengers movie and eventually starring in his own solo movie. And this isn’t because he needed to fulfill a “black actor” role lest the rest of Black Hollywood decides to again boycott the Academy Awards. If you follow the Marvel Comics, Black Panther is the final piece of the Marvel Universe puzzle to bring in the African continent into the picture, so Black Panther has nothing to do with being an African-American. That’s the department of Falcon and War Machine already.
Another exciting pair that viewers were anticipating is Paul Bettany as Vision and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlett Witch, especially after debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Bettany is perfect in his role as not human and yet human, powerful and omnipotent and yet naïve. He does admit that he grew up with Marvel Comics. Olsen is perfect in her portrayal of being powerful and yet confused, like she’s always the wild card. You can actually feel the dramatic conflict that keeps welling within her.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with how Paul Rudd as Ant-Man goes about his role, and he’s proven this in his Ant-Man film. And in Civil War he’s better equipped and more streamlined in his suit, and still the comedian. He certainly holds a lot of promise when he comes back in the third Avengers film and with his team up with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Emily Van Camp (S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carter) is actually a bit of a surprise ever since she debuted in the Avengers and Captain America movies. She had always been identified in dramatic family roles, so taking on an action role was a complete turn in her compass. But she pulls it off quite well, as she should, being the only blood relation of the original Sharon Carter in the first Captain America film.
The most awaited transfer and debut from Sony to Marvel is no small feat as Tom Holland plays the pivotal role of Spiderman. Critics say Marvel did the character a favor since Sony wasn’t willing to part from the stereotypical spider-bitten-bullied-kid-guilty-feeling-Aunt-May-devoted superhero. At least in Civil War Spiderman gets to banter with other mutants/superheroes instead of constantly kowtowing with J. Jonah Jameson.
Captain America: Civil War, in the Marvel Comics tradition, brings with it the tradition of showing a villain at the start but towards the end, isn’t a villain after all. We’re talking, of course, of Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier and Alexander Pierce, that S.H.I.E.L.D. traitor, and of introducing extra special supporting characters such as Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson and Anthony Mackie as Falcon. Now it’s Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther.
But in Civil War, there’s no hiding the villain as it’s obviously shown with Daniel Bruhl as Count Helmut Zemo from HYDRA. This is because the central focus of the film is how it is so easy to fracture an already fractured group as the Avengers, all because the United Nations wants to pass the Sokovia Accord (similar to the Superhero Registration Act in the Marvel X-men Universe), and thus, laying all the blame of any collateral damage solely on the feet of any mutant/superhero out there, without regarding the evidence that the Avengers were defending the world. Daniel Bruhl is seen as the benign and yet unhinged human version of Loki, though not as fun to watch, but that’s not Bruhl’s fault because of the role.
Overall, the movie justifies all the hype, and as they say, the movie is worth every cent of your money and time. It’s comic storytelling and escapism (what else is it, anyway?) that was done very, very well by the Russo brothers. So even if Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was really good, DC still has a lot to chase because Marvel Comics is just great, more than good, and very rich in original stories and characters. Marvel even has the ability to create a great story even from a supporting character or small role (take note of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, and Jessica Jones).
Now, here’s hoping that Jessica Jones can somehow fit somewhere in the third Avengers film and in the succeeding Marvel Universe films.