This seems to be the year of superheroes fighting each other. Batman versus Superman, Mutants versus Mutants and the guys who started it all in Captain America: Civil War. Expectations are phenomenally high, especially coming off the back of a mixed reaction to Batman V Superman. Can Marvel delivery what, to some, DC didn’t?
The story, as we all know, follows Captain America after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Cap and the Avengers are forced to answer questions concerning the damage they’ve caused avenging around the world. It’s all good and well that they’ve stopped an alien invasion and robot apocalypse, but innocent people were caught in the middle.
The world’s countries want the Avengers to work for them and only be used under their supervision. This places the members of the Avengers into an awkward predicament and causes two teams to be formed. On one side, Captain America’s view that the safest hands are their own concerned with governmental corruption and each countries true and less desirable motives. Meanwhile, Iron Man stands opposite him (as you’ve probably seen in all the marketing #TeamIronMan) with the opinion that the Avengers need to put in checked.
This is the first positive (from a list of many) about this film. Both characters are right. Everyone involved is right. Countries are corrupt. Avengers have killed a lot of people in collateral. Instead of side-stepping the issue, Marvel have decided to take it head on. From that we are gifted an interesting debate and discussion about what it means to be a hero on a global scale.
However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. The humour is surprisingly one of the biggest selling points to this film. Although from the plot synopsis this doesn’t sound like your typical comedy, myself and the audience I was watching with were laughing on multiple occasions. I had a stupid grin on my face that I couldn’t shrug off. For those who have seen all the Marvel films know these characters and this film takes full advantage of that. Those who know the comic version also get a nod, with particular character’s interactions. Every character is given the love and attention they deserve (yes, even Hawkeye).
Attempting my hardest to not ruin anything, the villain in this film is also brilliant. They manage to avoid the typical superhero big-bad-showdown-at-the-end-of-the-film trope and give us a layered and compelling villain who’s motivations and actions are understandable.
Ensemble films always dance with the fear or overcrowding. This wasn’t evident at all, each hero was given their equal share of screen time and character development. The new heroes are distinctly different and great additions to an ever-increasing roster of superheroes. I, and many others, are hugely excited to see their solo adventures.
One of my biggest gripes with Batman V Superman was the lack of character development and motivation. Albeit, it may be unfair to compare as Marvel have had over 10 movies to build their characters, however the Russo brothers didn’t take that for granted and effectively showed the audience where each character is coming from and why they’ve taken the side they have. I knew, and more importantly, understood why these characters were divided. It wasn’t over some temporary threat but an ideological paradigm shift. How they’ve conducted themselves is no longer accept by the global community, things have to change.
I’ve really struggled to think of any gripes I had with the film, I was smiling throughout and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I can see criticism being aimed at the slow down in pace after action sequences, but to me those slower periods where necessary to explore characters and push the story along. Everything was answered, everything was laid out clearly. Each scene was important to the overall narrative and provided comedy, debate and in moments real emotion.
Actually, on second thought, I did have one problem: the use of massive text that spanned the entire screen to state which year or what location we were now in. It felt out-of-place with the tone of the film and something I would have expected to see in a music video and not in a multi-million dollar blockbuster.
Being a Marvel fanboy, to me, this film was perfect. However, trying my best to put my bias aside, I still struggle to pick out anything that didn’t work or could have been made better. This is the pinnacle of however many films Marvel has made and placed in the correct hands of the Russos who live and breathe the Marvel world and community. They know what the fans want and they know how to make good films. The marriage between those two ideas has given birth to the best Marvel film to date.
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