Super mega spoilers abound. Please, if you haven't seen the film come back later. I'm not joking.
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Well, here goes!
[Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409) is already a box office smash, and that is before it is released in America. Critics love it, and more importantly, the fans love it. A true rollercoaster of action, suspense, and shocking revelations that will make you want to see it again. Believe me, I want to see it again right now! In my opinion it has just eclipsed its predecessor, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, to take the title as Marvel's best film so far. Not only that, I'd put forward the argument that Captain America: Civil War is the BEST SUPERHERO MOVIE EVER! (Sorry, The Dark Knight, your title has been taken!)
Those were the words that left my mouth when the credits started to roll, and that was before I saw the two post-credits scenes (which I loved by the way). The action was fantastic and the journey all of the characters were taken on was a joy to see. It did differ from the source material, but then again, it was always going to. Rights issues meant that the sheer scale of the war could not possibly be as big. But the Russo brothers certainly managed to adapt the story brilliantly. So without further ado, here are my 5 reasons Captain America: Civil War is the best superhero movie ever.
1) Black Panther
Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther was an excellent addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bearing in mind he has not yet appeared in his own film, this was our introduction to the character, and he had a big role to play. At the beginning of the film, Captain America leads a team of Avengers on a mission in Lagos to stop Crossbones from stealing a biological weapon. The mission goes awry when Scarlet Witch accidentally blows up a building, leading to the creation of the Sokovia Accords. We then find out that this building was full of aid workers from Wakanda — the nation ruled by the Black Panther's father, T'Chaka.
At a UN meeting to ratify the accords, another bomb kills King T'Chaka and straight away we feel his son's pain. T'Challa takes it upon himself to seek vengeance over his father's death and suits up, giving us our first glimpse of the Black Panther in action. The Panther is more than a match for Captain America and Bucky during a chase (seriously, how fast can these guys run?) and he proves his fighting prowess in the showpiece battle. After his father's death he tells Black Widow about his nation's belief on death, hinting at the more mystical elements of his character.
The Russos chose to use Black Panther as he would be a third party, someone who had no prior connection to the Avengers and their world. This was so they had a character that the audience did not have a prejudice; a character who could make his own decisions about the validity of the Sokovia Accords. All of the initial reviews praised Boseman's portrayal of the Panther, and they were right to do that. Not only do we get how honorable he is, there is also a very real sense of the weight on his shoulders that comes with ruling a country.
Another hero who manages to steal the show is Paul Rudd's Ant-Man. After making his debut in the previous MCU film, Scott Lang is recruited to Team Cap by the Falcon. He is not in the film for long, but he manages to make a big impression. In his first scene, we immediately see the sheer joy on his face from meeting Captain America. He is clearly starstruck and shakes his hand far longer than any handshake should last. He comments that the Scarlet Witch is great too and the film lights up. Paul Rudd's natural charm adds a unique quality to the character.
During the battle, Ant-Man is clearly having a great time. Again, he is slightly starstruck by meeting Iron Man, but then gleefully proceeds to shrink into his armor and start messing with the circuitry. When Stark realizes something is amiss he asks F.R.I.D.A.Y. whose voice he can hear, to which Lang responds: "I'm your conscience!" And then we have possibly the standout moment of the battle. Cap needs a distraction, so Ant-Man suggests he has an idea and tells the captain to wait for his signal. Cap wonders what this signal could possibly be until he gets his answer — Giant-Man appears! Yes, the big man appears in the MCU, and Scott Lang certainly enjoys it. It is truly an excellent moment. Iron Man's response to this is also brilliant:
"OK. Anybody on our side hiding any shocking, or fantastic abilities they'd like to disclose, I'm open to suggestion."
3) The Humor (Or: Bucky and the Falcon's Bromance)
As you would expect from any entry in the MCU, the film has a lot of humor. One of the Russo's earlier projects was directing episodes of Arrested Development (which is excellent). The humor in Captain America: Civil War is very similar to Arrested Development's style which is obviously something the Russos' strive for. One of the biggest examples of this is the excellent relationship between Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson. Though the two characters are ultimately on the same team, it is clear that they do not particularly like each other. It could well be that they both feel threatened by one another's friendship with Captain America.
When Cap meets Agent 13 to get his shield and the Falcon's gear back, Agent 13 comments on the tiny car Cap has brought along. We then cut to Bucky and the Falcon sitting in the car, both looking really fed up and clearly not enjoying each other's company. Bucky, who is sitting in the back, asks if Sam will move his seat forward and, with perfect comic timing, the Falcon simply says "no."
Tony Stark is noticeably less jovial than he has been. It is pointed out that he is quiet during the meeting with General Ross about the Sokovia Accords. His journey throughout the MCU has led to this point where he personally feels accountable for the actions of the Avengers. Despite this more serious tone, he still gets to show his humorous side. The scene with Peter Parker (more on that in a moment) is a particular highlight. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was recently criticized for not being very fun, Marvel has certainly given us a treat with Captain America: Civil War!
Small disclaimer: I am biased in this, as Spider-Man is my favorite superhero. However, Marvel has got him right! Spider-Man's appearance in the film is a joy to behold, THIS is the Spider-Man we have been waiting for! Ever since I got my first glimpse of the MCU Spider-Man in the final trailer I was eagerly anticipating this film (even more than I already was). I actively avoided all of the TV spots that Marvel released in the run-up to the film as I didn't want to spoil anything for myself — and I have to say I made the right decision. Spidey totally blew me away. He was everything I wanted him to be on screen and more! His youthful exuberance and wisecracking nature are perfectly portrayed here.
Even the scene where we meet Peter Parker for the first time is perfect. Tony Stark is talking to Aunt May when Peter walks in and is taken aback. Stark tells him he is there to discuss a grant so asks for some privacy. Peter plays along despite not really having a clue what is happening and then Tony hits him with a bombshell by revealing he knows he is Spider-Man. The two heroes start talking and Stark asks Peter why he does what he does and his response is perfect. Instantly, Peter Parker is defined as a character. He has not joined the football team because he could not do it before he got his powers for example. And ultimately, the reason he became Spider-Man is because he has a responsibility to uphold. Without actually saying it, Peter Parker teaches Tony Stark the lesson that 'with great power, there must also come, great responsibility.' Stark is immediately impressed by this, and recruits him.
Tom Holland manages to portray a totally different Spider-Man to any that we have seen on screen before. That is not to say that Sam Raimi's films or The Amazing Spider-Man series got the character wrong, but in Marvel's hands we have THE definitive Spider-Man and I, for one, cannot wait until his solo film next year!
5) Ultimately, it is a Human Story
All of the buildup pitted Avenger against Avenger, but ultimately the story builds to a crescendo that is a fight between three men. The final showdown is manipulated by Baron Zemo, a survivor of the Sokovia attack, who seeks vengeance against the Avengers. Instead of becoming a supervillain, he sets out to destroy the Avengers and does so with a crucial piece of information. Zemo reveals to Tony Stark that Bucky Barnes killed his parents. This comes at a key moment in the film as Stark has just realised that he might not be right with his opinion of the Accords and reconciles with Cap.
But once this secret is revealed, Tony can't forgive Bucky for his actions and attacks him. Captain America tries to calm Tony down by telling him that Bucky was not in his right mind, but at this point Tony does not care. So, after all the build up, the final battle takes place between the three men. Bucky fighting for his life, Cap fighting for his friend and Tony fighting for his parents. The fight ultimately ends with no winner as Captain America walks away after Iron Man tells him he is not worthy of his shield (after all, Howard Stark made it).
All the while, Baron Zemo has been cornered by the Black Panther who now knows the truth that his father was killed by Zemo, not Bucky Barnes. Instead of killing him, T'Challa takes him in alive. He has realised that killing Zemo will not bring his father back, so chooses to ensure he sees justice. At the end, Stan Lee delivers a box to Tony Stark which contains a letter from Captain America. He tells him that although they might not agree on the Accords, he will always be there if needed.
So there you have it, my five reasons that Captain America: Civil War is the best superhero film ever. The incredible sequence at the airport is undoubtedly the pinnacle of superhero action so far and the emotional heart of the film is clearly important. This is why Marvel films are so successful. So I'm sorry The Dark Knight, you were a worthy champion, but the king is dead — long live the king!