In more ways than one, I could sit here and describe all the ways Marvel have changed the landscape not only of superhero movies, but movies in general, but I am not doing it as I think that’s there for anyone to see.
Ever since Spider-Man, Marvel’s first big project took off in 2002, it’s never been the same. Captain America Civil War represents a crescendo of what Marvel started some 14 years ago.
The run-up to this had established several characters in the Marvel universe. Iron Man is a bona fide star (so is Robert Downey Jr.); Hulk played a few movies, but stuck around (spoilers: because he is kinda important for Marvel’s Phase 3).
Captain America has taken on the mantle of the franchise smoothly and Chris Evans has done amazingly well in his second coming as a superhero. Characters like Black Widow, Hawkeye and others have all been introduced and developed well.
Oh, and Ant-Man is the bee’s knees!
All this brought us to Civil War where dissension between the characters is teased, and achieved, while it could break down in each and every scene (read every Easter egg), here are three pivotal moments that made the movie what it is. (Warning: Spoilers ahead)
The Winter Soldier is a Godsend
If you ask the critics, Marvel turned the corner from loud, obnoxious action flicks to intriguing storytelling features with Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014).
Not only did they introduce a character unheard of in The Winter Soldier (Bucky Barnes), they also managed to turn him into a legit badass that could take some serious screen-time. They fractured The Shield, introduced an arch-nemesis (then best bud) to Cap and also managed to make huge profits at the box office all the way.
In Civil War, the Winter Soldier is revealed to be at the centre of everything. After the Avenger’s botched mission in Lagos, Tony feels the remorse of war and its toll. The subsequent giving into his guilt and is one that Downey pulls off perfectly. For once, you see that Downey Jr. does more than just delivering one liners, he gives some of the most compelling moments of the movie.
Winter Soldier, on the other hand, is portrayed as a ruthless mercenary, especially when he is reprogrammed by the brilliant Baron Zemo. Again the acting here is quite exquisite, and writers have created the perfect equilibrium of what is right and wrong in the world, we see how perception can create flaws even in the shiniest suits.
The web-slinging, happy- go- lucky hero is back and boy, it’s fun! This is exactly what Marvel was been missing all this time.
I don’t know how many of you reading this ever watched the 90s Spider-Man Cartoons on Star Plus growing up (I’m half tempted to post a ‘Your Childhood Was Awesome…’ meme here but that would be digressing). But that was what made Spidey go really big. It was a tremendous success, aired in many countries at the same time, the Peter Parker from the show was cheeky as sweet hell. Duly, so was Spider-Man.
It was this sort of cheery-eyed humor that Spider-Man always had. From the comics to the first animated series to the one I just talked about, Spider-Man was fun. He took down Rhinos and Hunters with a smile on his face and a song in his heart. The Spider-Man with Toby McGuire was close, the one with Garfield was like Spider-Man trying to be Batman, but with Tom Holland in the movie, it’s a homecoming (wink wink).
Civil War introduces Spider-Man as the dorky, vintage tech lover who stumbled upon some great abilities. It’s Tony Stark who finds him and then introduces us to an Aunt May. He knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man and their first scene together is an absolute gem. Downey showcases that whip-ish delivery while Holland plays the lovable super nerd immaculately.
And guess what Iron Man gifts Peter for what is to come–the Spider-Man suit. And the movie-end credits reveal that this suit is like no other.
The Big Scuffle
Right. So almost everyone who went to see the movie, went to see Iron Man and Cap actually go head to head.
With sides now already chosen, the big fight sequence does not let you down, with a story being told from the beginning to the end. How Spider-Man is introduced to the other Avengers, and how his stock is cemented with an awesome performance are all worthy of mentions.
Little one- on-ones steal the show really; Ant Man’s getting inside Iron Man’s suit is one of the legit LOL moments in the movie. Black Panther battling Captain America and Spidey getting a crack at the First Avenger all make for good cinema.
Falcon saying “Is that stuff coming out of you?” to Spider-Man’s web attack is gold!
Story wise, the real cause at hand is Captain Rogers and Bucky heading to Siberia where Zemo is about to activate five more Winter Soldiers who would probably bring the world to its knees. In the process, Vision almost kills his own teammate in War Machine and we get a glimpse of what Stark is trying to save around him.
As the Brooklyn Buddies race Zemo to the site, many plots are cleared and Iron Man and Cap are eventually back on the same page.
But not for long.
For the first time ever Iron Man snaps and forgets his moral oaths. For a movie to create such a major permanent shift, to move from the same old archaic happy ending to something that means more in the long run is laudable.
How Marvel has blended its stand-alone superhero movies and mega-starrer flicks has been a work of art. Although the story is convoluted at times and, yes, it only makes complete sense when you watch the entire series. But it is all worth it.
With each movie, Marvel is building to a threat from beyond this dimension and one that will require all the Earth’s heroes.
Maybe even the Hulk won’t be enough.