I had a general knowledge of the "Civil War" storyline of the comic book world. A "Superhero Registration Act" was created by the government, with heroes (and villains) all over Marvel choosing sides. Iron Man led the group that believed all superheroes needed to register, to reveal their true identity, to be trained, and to essentially become employees. Captain America headed the group opposed to the Act, believing that secrecy was essential to their safety and their work. The problem is, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, nobody wears a damn mask. The first Iron Man movie ends with Tony Stark (spoiler alert!) admitting he is Iron Man, Captain America rarely wears his cowl, Black Widow testified before Congress, Hawkeye doesn't even have anything to cover his face. The MCU covered that issue by making the Civil War not about revealing identities, instead about pure governmental oversight.

After an attack in Africa kills a number of innocent bystanders, the countries of the world unite to hold the Avengers accountable. Legislation is created for the heroes to sign that would basically turn them into a government task force. Iron Man and Captain America stand up as the leaders of opposing sides, and the rest of the Avengers (and a few newcomers) join up.

I'm still not tired of the MCU, and I'll keep watching until I finally reach over-saturation. "Ant-Man" had wrapped up Phase 2 (which also included Iron Man 3, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Age of Ultron); "Civil War" is the first movie in Phase 3 of the MCU, the beginning of eleven(!) movies to be released from now til 2019ish. As much as I still love the huge intertwining universe Marvel has created, I still have a few problems with individual movies as well as the over-arcing stories.

The first issue is that things still occasionally feel like as assignment, like if I miss something, I'm going to fall behind the rest of the class. I've fallen behind about a season-and-a-half of "Agents of SHIELD", so hopefully I didn't miss any major tie-ins between TV and movies. The movies have generally been enough for me, but I still feel like once they continue to expand, and new TV shows come out, there is potential for everything to get too cloudy and convoluted to remain purely entertaining.

Another problem is simply time. Clocking in at just under two and a half hours, "Civil War" could have left plenty on the proverbial cutting room floor. It's a high-wire act for the writers and directors - I wouldn't be happy with a 90 minute explosion-fest with no character development, but at the same time there were plenty of dialogue scenes that could have been trimmed and still kept their emotional impact, without slowing the pace down between battle scenes. There were so many bits and pieces that even as I was writing this, I realized I forgot major elements. I really feel like they could have made this two movies, one straight Cap movie, sort of a "Winter Soldier II: Bucky Boogaloo" and then a separate "Avengers: Civil War".

I also have an issue with the cinematography style of rapid cuts and shaky-cams, but I realize that's just part of being a snob, and that won't go away any time soon.

Technical issues aside, I had one big gripe with the story. I feel like I never had any reason to root for Team Iron Man. Outside of the cold logical reasoning of Vision, no one presented a pro-registration argument that brought me on board. Maybe it's my usual distrust of authority, but the whole time I was opposed to governmental meddling. I think more emotional weight could have been thrown around if the viewer was faced with more of a struggle between the sides.

Still, after all that, I had an incredibly enjoyable experience. I laughed a lot, I got hit with some emotions at a point or two, I developed a strong crush on Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and continued my man-crush on Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). I'm still interested to get to the next installment and see where things go.



On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "Captain America: Civil War" gets an 8 out of 10. #TEAMCAP




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