Well, when it rains it pours and Marvel Studios continues its streak of duds with Captain America: Civil War. But really, the title should be Captain America: The Brief Scuffle as the overhyped action fails to captivate and leaves the audience scratching their heads in confusion wondering when the fights were going to start. If there’s one thing to say about Civil War, it’s that it tries so hard to be something it’s not…a good movie. Civil War would have you believe that you actually care about these characters. 13 films in and characters like Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow and Hawkeye still lack the kind of depth it only took the DCEU two movies to create.
To say that Civil War is an overstuffed and pedantic retread of every previous Marvel movie to date is an understatement. It is as if Marvel thought that all they had to do was give the audience everything they thought they wanted with no regard for cinematic structure. It’s acceptable to fill a cup of water to the brim, but it will backfire on you if you don’t carefully and expertly lift the cup to avoid spilling a drop. The Russo Brothers knocked their metaphorical cup off the table and the broken glass became lodged in the eyes of every audience member.
The stand out poor performance here is obviously Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther. Black Panther is a less than one dimensional character. Boseman, by all accounts, phones in his turn as the Panther who lacks any semblance of a complete character. After disgracefully portraying Jackie Robinson in 42 and James Brown in Get on Up the over glorified actor continues to prove that he has the theatrical flexibility of an arthritic turtle. Regrettably, Boseman will get another opportunity to fall short when the Black Panther solo movie premieres in 2018…
Another issue to be found was the MCU’s introduction of Spider-Man. Spider-Man has a rocky history in film, the first two directed by Sam Raimi were flops but the third in the franchise was what catapulted the character’s success. The rebooted films fared very well with high praise given to the grittier and darker tone. Now, for unknown reasons, Sony has struck a deal with Marvel and Spider-Man is getting yet another reboot. And it enthusiastically fails, subjecting audiences to the worst interpretation of a character from comics since Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. Spider-Man lacks any appeal and Sony would do well to pull out of their deal with Marvel and get the Amazing universe back on track.
The largest and most upsetting part of the film was the much hyped airport battle. Marvel miscalculated by already having shown the entirety of the sequence in the trailers. There were no surprises, no hidden card up the sleeve and no new scenes to astound and amaze.
Perhaps it is because it released so soon after the lauded Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that expectations for this film were so high. Surely Marvel had taken queues from DC after Man of Steel came out. Surely Marvel wouldn’t be so arrogant as to disregard the darker more realistic approach DC was taking. Surely Marvel knows by now that in order to make a successful comic book film faithfulness to the source material should be abandoned. But once again Marvel proves to be the sinkhole of comic films. Take the hint Marvel, do what has been proven to work and follow DC’s footsteps.
Make mine DC.