Captain America: Civil War launched the third movement in Marvel’s magnum opus and its their best work so far. Civil War is an over sized comic book that all logic says shouldn’t work for film. Nearly a dozen super heroes appear in this film, but under the steady and capable hands of writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, what could have been a jumbled mess blossoms into a heart-felt story full of impossible decisions.

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I don’t want to get into the story. If you don’t know, remain as ignorant as possible until you can get into a theater. If you have read Civil War or have read through the Marvel Wiki page just know there are some key element changes made for the cinematic universe and they play out beautifully.

 

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What I want to talk about are the performances. Marvel showers long time viewers in rewards. Some rewards take the shape of developing characters from the Age of Ultron. Other gifts are entirely new heroes introduced without back story, a story that can be left for their own indecent series. The final gifts come in the form of six epic fight scenes.

 

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Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (Paul Bettany) are both explored deeper in this film. As Scarlet works to gain control of her powers, Vision is trying to understand man and the chaotic world he’s been thrust into. It’s great to see another woman get some time to shine in an Avengers film. (Yes, this is Cap’s movie, but let’s call it what it is Avengers 2.5.)

 

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Civil War’s second greatest gift is a teenage Spider-Man. Though I had originally been cheering for Miles Morales to make his debut, an idea that could, have played out well in this film, I can’t be too disappointed because they nailed Peter Parker. Tom Holland is exemplary as the web shooter blending the naivety and cockiness of youth to full satisfaction.

Robert Downey Jr. admitted to being the linch pin that sealed Holland in the role, reading their scene together as part of the audition. Director Anthony Russo recalled watching the actors on set. Holland looking up to Downey as a mentor. They were Spidey and Iron Man.

 

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The greatest gift is undoubtedly seeing Black Panther played  by Chadwick Boseman. Boseman in his short career has proven himself a world class actor and the regal air he brings to T’Challa will go down as one of the best interpretations of a superhero, ever. In the same way Robert Downey Jr was able to penetrate the persona of Tony Stark so too does Boseman see into Panther’s soul. Boseman shifts easily between future king and skilled warrior. Expect the hype going into the Black Panther movie to be lit.

 

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Now we’ve come to our final gift. It comes in six parts. Each one is better than the last. I’m speaking, of course, of the fight scenes! The Russo Brothers – Joe and Anthony – deserve monuments built in their honor. Their mastery of story through action is unparalleled in our time. In their fight scenes there’s always something at stake and the heroes own lives are the the least of their worries. Since we as an audience know the nuanced histories of these relationships each punch becomes terrifying. Each blast a potential end of a friendship, a limb, or life. It will have you on the edge of your seat.

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Captain America: Civil War is without a doubt my new favorite superhero movie. Not just Marvel, but of all time. It manages to capture the super hero team as its only ever been done in animated series. It’s next to impossible to get this kind of emotional connectedness in a few hours, but over the course of eight years and eleven films there’s no way not feel emotionally vested.

Get your tickets early. You’re going to want to talk about it right away. Let me know what you think of the airport scene.