Well, it’s official. Marvel’s latest film installment to their cinematic universe was another smash hit. Critics loved it. Fans loved it. I loved it. It was a finely-made movie. There really isn’t anything to complain about. But it’s not perfect. And the imperfection is something the filmmakers themselves weren’t directly responsible for and something that may just be totally of personal preference.
The movie is technically brilliant and it does almost everything right but it didn’t really propel comic book superhero movies to new heights. It was excellent but had a very run-of-the-mill feeling to it by Marvel’s lofty standards. Still, there are so many things to love about it:
Beautiful Action: the narrative is interesting but the action really carried this movie. From start to finish there are beautifully choreographed action sequences mostly done in camera. The special effects are cool but stunt team cannot be praised enough for the work they put in here. The airport sequence where the title actually takes place is one of the finest action sequences ever created. Every comic book lover’s wet dreams were realized then.
Mature Storyline: Civil War manages to tow the fine line between discussing mature subject matters like balancing accountability with liberty or focusing on individual freedoms versus the greater public’s expectations. The film talks about these to an extent and doesn’t go beyond what’s expected of a summer action film but still manages to add enough depth to keep the movie from being too dumbed down.
Pinpoint Editing: we all know what bad editing can do to a movie (see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). In a movie like this that juggles well over a dozen important Marvel characters, the editing had to be on point and Jeffery Ford and Matthew Schmidt manage to fit in sufficient screen time for most of them as it related to their roles.
Comic Relief: this is probably what makes the Marvel movies so difficult to bash. Even the toughest critic would find it hard to not find some of the scenes in Civil War cute. There were a lot of meaningful moments that ended up being funny like the bromance between Cap and Bucky (the Winter Soldier) and Falcon, Spider-Man and Tony Stark’s relationship and everything about Ant-Man (who stole the show in certain parts). And they weren’t forced in there. They all flowed naturally.
Easter Eggs: there are so many of them. Play a game with your fellow nerdy Marvel fans and see how many you can all get and whoever has the most wins. There are countless. From panel-for-panel recreations of iconic scenes like the final battle between Captain America and Iron Man or the many subliminal hints from dialogues, fans can keep going back to this film to unearth more.
With all those said, I still couldn’t get the feeling that after a few weeks or a month we’ll forget about most of the film and move on to the next movie. I may be reaching a point in watching these movies where “oversaturation” is actually having an effect. I felt the same with X-Men: Days of Future Past and Captain America: Winter Soldier a year ago. Two well-made films with plenty to love and little to hate yet for some reason can’t put in my most cherished list of films.
Watch Civil War. Watch it twice. Enjoy all the many great things about the finely produced action, balanced storyline, and many Easter Eggs but don’t look for anything beyond an efficient summer blockbuster film we’ve become so accustomed to. ★★★★