THE MOVIE GUY: Marvel hits a ‘Civil War’ homerun

Published 10:55 pm Thursday, May 5, 2016

Marvel Studios’ latest superhero movie, “Captain America: Civil War” proves what we already know: that the studio certainly understands how to make entertaining, audience-friendly films. Even as their “Avengers” movies delve into darker and more serious subject matters, the filmmakers never lose sight of the all-important issues of character, story momentum and keeping audiences thrilled and entertained at all times.

This won’t come as a surprise to anybody, but nobody is making better popcorn movies than Marvel right now.

If something has changed in their latest film, it’s that this popcorn superhero movie is dealing with some serious contemporary issues—things that would feel right at home in a political debate. The story begins with our team of superheroes being called onto the carpet because every time they set out to save the world, they end up destroying half a city in the process.

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Hoping to staunch the collateral carnage, the U.N. wants to regulate the Avengers. Iron Man, a.k.a. Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), agrees to these new restrictions. Captain America (Chris Evans) takes issue with this plan and vows to remain independent from government control. It’s a decision that puts him directly in conflict with Iron Man.

Passions flair between the two heroes as they try to do what they both honestly feel is best for humanity. More important, other superheroes choose sides as conflict becomes inevitable. This is what DC Comics was going to do with last month’s “Batman vs. Superman,” only this time the superhero vs. superhero concept actually works.

Much of this is due to the fact that these characters are genuinely interesting, and most of them are fully fleshed out by now. OK, Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) still gets the short shrift, but credit to Marvel for giving everybody their moment in the spotlight as well as for introducing several new superheroes this time around. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) gets a notable screen debut that should get a lot of people excited about his upcoming film, and of course, it’s wonderful to see that Spidey dude (Tom Holland) finally back in the Marvel Studios fold.

Mix that fanboy excitement in with some genuinely thrilling action sequences, as well as state-of-the-art special effects work and you have a superb, crowd-pleasing film.

“Captain America: Civil War” features all of the things that Marvel does right in their movies: It’s an engaging story with interesting characters and a knowing directorial touch that deftly mixes action and humor. This time around it even features a storyline with grown-up concepts buried underneath all that fun action stuff.

What more could you ask for?

What better way to kick off the summer movie season than with yet another amazing “Avengers” movie?

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and KBTV. Sean welcomes your comments via email