Sunday, May 8, 2016

"Captain America: Civil War" makes me happy and sad

When Captain American and Iron Man finally go at it, one on one, late in "Captain America: Civil War," it follows a scene filled with emotion. While it's fun to see all the superheroes take each other on as a result of a philosophical squabble, a terribly incident long ago seemingly permanently divides Steve Rogers and Tony Stark as friends and colleagues.

Although "Captain America: Civil War" has its share of tremendous action set pieces, it has enough human drama, emotional deft and touches of humor that it never fails to lose its connection with fans.

After all, this is a popcorn movie based on comic book characters. This and practically all other Marvel films still have retained their sense of fun, and they remain linked with their fans who have built up a relationship - if you will - with said movies (X-Men and Spider-man included) over the last decade or so. Even "Deadpool," with its language and graphic violence, is just like its comic inspiration -- a guilty pleasure.

I'm sure I'm among many people who also want to see some kind of success at DC with their efforts to crank out blockbuster movies based on iconic DC comic characters, finally arriving with Justice League. I wanted to like "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" so much. I'm sure this sentiment is familiar to other fans. But as expected, the differences between the DC and Marvel film universes are becoming only more stark, and worrisome for DC.

I could only recall the smile on my face when Stark and Rogers engage each other in "Civil War" -- about whether to reign in the Avengers whose efforts to save the world don't come without deadly consequences to innocent bystanders. It's intriguing that a similar subplot between Captain America/Iron Man/Avengers and B v S -- the debate over the actions of supposed superheroes and whether those heroes should show restraint while trying to do "the right thing."

And yet, almost every conversation between Batman/Bruce Wayne and Superman/Clark Kent in B v S is filled needlessly with dread, so overwrought.  You want to grin briefly at Easter eggs in "Dawn of Justice," but you're afraid to because the film is practically devoid of humor and joy. Cynicism abounds.

Sure, the battle with Doomsday was not as exhausting or destructive as the Superman/Zod fight in "Man of Steel," Jesse Eisenberg's Luthor was enigmatic, and Wonder Woman's full debut was electrifying. But as we have seen by now, the literal and figurative dark tone of B v S was distracting, at the least.

By comparison, "Civil War" -- buoyed by brighter colors and optimism - effortlessly zips from the plot's conflicts involving Zemo and Teams Captain and Iron Man to  bursts of sheer geek joy. There's Ant Man who shows up in - well - an impressive way. There's Chadwick Boseman who makes one eager to see the standalone Black Panther flick.

Then there is perhaps, finally, a definitive big-screen Spider-man/Peter Parker when we least expected it. World, Tom Holland. Tom Holland, the world. The newcomer gave Parker/Spider-man a a nerdy/dorky/wondrous feel that we had been missing for the most part from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.

"Captain America: Civil War" is definitely one the best Marvel films, and very important. It's all parts fun, funny, emotional and devastating. Pretty much like most previous Marvel films. It help lays a path for the future of Captain America and the Avengers with the same kind of adventurous personality of its cinematic predecessors without all the brooding and worry over "God vs. man" in B v S and the setup toward Justice League.

Perhaps with the behind-the-scenes troubles being endured with "Aquaman" and "The Flash" movies, and the promotion of Ben Affleck to executive producer," will give hope to the idea that Warner Bros. realize the DC/Justice League film universe can be fun and games without all the darkness.