I predict with a continuing trend of uber-franchises and mega-sequels we will also see the emergence of co-directors. Joe and Anthony Russo who cut their teeth on ensemble tv-shows like Arrested Development and Community made their big screen debut with the superb Captain America: Winter Soldier. It’s sequel does what Joss Whedon struggled to do with Avengers: Age of Ultron. Balancing a heavy list of characters then adding some new ones Civil War provides the right motivations for each and every involved character and has them interact in new exciting ways. By being the 12th official film in the Marvel brand, Civil War is a triumph of blockbuster film-making its only short-sight is that as a direct-sequel to a solo-marvel film Captain America doesn’t quite earn his title card.
The fight scenes are well choreographed and the all important tone remains fair and consistent. It captures important light-heartedness at times to give the story flow and weight and also doesn’t take itself too seriously. In comparison to Batman V. Superman it makes the former look embarrassing. I am slightly in awe at how well-coordinated and paced this film is. One of my favourite movies Fast & Furious 6 did a hell of a job balancing an ensemble and giving every character their deserved moment. Only here you have a bigger and greater number of characters with more history and more learned interactions with one another. There are so many charming parts to focus on, you’ll have to see them yourself.
Other parts of the film; the music, the streamlined art direction, the visual style with use of natural lighting, are designed to focus on the things at hand. Flashy actors come in to grab your attention until the next plot device walks in. Which without spoiling anything about that last part I will say, as much as I like the film it ranks lower than The Winter Soldier for me as it doesn’t tie up many of the threads it introduces, and the identity behind much of the driving conflict leaves a little to be desired, but that’s expected for Marvel at this point. At least we know the answers when they arrive, whenever that may be will be ably delivered with confidence.
Where will this franchise go from here? Besides Avengers 3: Infinity War Parts 1 & 2, its hard to see another Captain America happening for some time just as it was when Iron Man 3 came out. For that last one Downey Jr. has come back on maybe doing one more. It’s worth stating this movie provides an interesting new shade to the character that hasn’t been present since Iron Man 3. I do find it hard to believe due to laws of diminishing returns and entropy that Marvel can continue to keep all these plates spinning fast enough. It’s possible dissatisfaction with minor loose threads pulled again and again can make one uncivil.