Do you have superhero fatigue? Were you tempted to skip this post when you saw the title? What if I told you the movie is terrific?
Which is what I’m doing. Captain America: Civil War is one big bundle of entertainment, something that other recent superhero movie decidedly was not.
Also unlike that other superhero movie: the feud between Captain America and friends makes sense. After the heavy collateral damage that occurred in the Avengers movies, world governments want oversight of the heroes, to monitor and approve their involvements in combat. Some agree to the arrangement, others do not. Hence the discord.
The best conflicts are ones in which neither side is all wrong or all right, and that’s how it is here. Each hero has valid arguments for the side he/she chooses, because they’ve all come from different places—and time, in Cap’s case—and lived different lives. What makes it painful for them is that they really don’t want to fight. They plead and remind one another they’re friends, but ultimately feel they have no choice because each believes his/her position is just.
By now these seasoned actors know exactly what they’re doing in their respective roles, and the group is a well-oiled machine. There are many characters but each has moments to shine. Their chemistry and banter are tight.
But hey, here comes the new guy, joining the Avengers on screen for the first time.
As soon as he appeared, from behind—just his butt, really, walking down the hall—I yelled, “Spideyyy!” It was actually Peter Parker, but, you know, same difference.
I have liked Tom Holland since I saw him play Naomi Watts’s son in The Impossible, so when the announcement came about his being cast as the new Spider-Man, I thought it was a great choice, much better than Andrew Garfield.
And Holland delivers in Civil War. His Chatty-Cathy Spidey is endearing, especially during fight scenes, when all the other heroes are busy throwing punches and no one wants to converse with the young webslinger.
Let’s talk about the fight scenes. I’ve become inured to them in heavily CGI’d action flicks, and they’ve all started looking the same to me. Boom! Pow! Crash! What else is new?
But one pivotal fight scene in this movie—the one at an airport—made me say, “Whoa!” It caused my eyes to go big and gave me that sense of wonder I used to get at the movies as a kid, that feeling I wasn’t sure I’d ever experience again since I’m now old and jaded. As I was sitting there smiling, Civil War threw in a Star Wars reference. My poor nerdy brain could barely handle it.
Oh, and the Stan Lee cameo? Best one ever. He made me laugh out loud.
This movie is a great big bang-up, with very few hang-ups, and like a streak of light, these heroes arrive just in time.
Nerd verdict: America the wonderful