I’m a lightweight superhero fan, which means I’ve got no allegiance to the Marvel Cinematic Universe over DC Comics. Like any film lover, I simply enjoy a great story-line packed with even better action. However, screening “Captain America: Civil War” changed everything for me. By the time the film actually started —ten minutes behind schedule — the theater was so rife with anticipation that people were nearly fidgeting out of their seats. It was as if everyone but me knew just what we were about to experience.
So often as viewers, we are relegated to the sidelines when watching superhero films. We sit in our seats, eagerly taking in the spectacle that is laid out before us. However, Joe and Anthony Russo’s latest entry into the Marvel Universe proved that the audience can be active participants in the action. Since “Iron Man” dropped in 2008, all Marvel roads have been leading up to “Captain America: Civil War”; and somehow, the film lives up to every bit of the hype. The Russo brothers invite their audience into the story alongside the Avengers, while eloquently dealing with all of the characters and storylines that are intertwined throughout the film.
The divide between Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), and Tony Stark, aka Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), starts slowly, with an initial disagreement. Cap’s comrade Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is in grave danger, but The First Avenger’s interest in helping his friend goes directly against Stark’s newly established status quo. As the film continues, the divide between the duo begins to crackle and spread. This split slowly infects every other member of the Avengers team, forcing them to choose sides. By now, the audience knows these characters, their motivations and their ideals. However, the Russo brothers’ story brilliantly requires their viewers to exercise patience. Nothing is rushed in this film, which makes the climatic sequences all the more exquisite. Where “Civil War” succeeds, while DC Comics recent “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” failed, is it’s willingness to allow its characters time to develop. The film digs well below the surface and into the history of the Marvel Universe. Just as we are invested as fans, these characters are steadfast in their beliefs and their particular experiences.
Continue reading at Shadow and Act.