With the Avengers franchise hitting 13 films with Captain America: Civil War, there are understandably questions as to why we keep watching. The fact is that in terms of commercial success, critical acclaim and durability, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the most successful movie franchise ever.
Success doesn’t automatically mean artistic value however. Indeed, those two imposters rarely make for willing bedfellows, with one normally having to be sacrificed for the other. But while the Avengers movies are undoubtedly a money making machine, they also boast the cream of the acting crop and some of the best directors in the business pulling the strings.
Captain America: Civil War may at times feel like a WWF royal rumble, but away from the explosions there are some genuinely good ideas lurking under the surface. This is something that sets these films apart from the Transformers franchise for example.
The concept of the Avengers collateral damage coming back to haunt them is not only ingenious but also long overdue. The MCU has flirted with showing the human cost wrought by superheroes before but never has the devastation been laid bare and confronted so vividly. This realism sees the MCU pull a little closer to the excellent TV series’ that Marvel is currently putting out over Netflix, which so successfully manage to marry the concept of fantasy mutants with real world problems.
Perhaps Civil War‘s greatest achievement however, is to blur the lines between superhero’s and super-villains in order to make them inhabit the same morally ambiguous grey area as the rest of us, thus evoking a more emotionally enriching experience.
Not everything here works out so well though. The decision to have the Avengers facing off against each other makes for an amazing action set piece but leaves the stakes feeling a little low what with common sense dictating that we aren’t going to see Iron Man kill Captain America any time soon (or vice versa).
The plot is overly complicated and slow, at times recalling the dreaded intergalactic trade agreements of The Phantom Menace and while the inclusion of Spiderman and Ant Man is mostly handled well, Peter Parker’s brief inclusion does at times feel a little rushed.
Overall however, the good points mostly outnumber the bad and the human element of the story makes a refreshing change in comparison to DC‘s take on the VS movie which asked the question ‘how epic can we make this film look?’
Captain America: Civil War is not going to win any Oscars, nor will it win over any MCU sceptics but in terms of successfully continuing a juggernaut of a franchise, it must be considered a success.