How 'Captain America: Civil War' Finally Got Spider-Man Right (and 6 Other Things We Loved)
By John Boone
Photo: Marvel Studios
Captain America: Civil War does the impossible: makes us excited for yet another Spider-Man reboot.
Tom Holland plays the first Peter Parker to be integrated into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe, and, at the risk of falling into hyperbole, he's the best one yet -- no disrespect to Andrew Garfield, who got the shaft in the revolving door of friendly neighborhood Spideys.
As Deadpool seemingly ushers in an era of anti-superhero superhero movies, Marvel leans even further into what they do best, letting Spider-Man fanboy over all the superheroes he encounters -- even as they exchange blows. "Have you ever been in a fight? There's usually not this much talking," Falcon (Anthony Mackie) quips in one of the movie's best moments.
And the best news? Civil War basically acts as Spider-Man's origin-ish story and there's not a dead Uncle Ben in sight!
Here are six other reasons Civil War instantly became one of our favorite Marvel movies yet.
1. It Does Batman v Superman Better Than Batman v Superman. It's unfair to compare Civil War with Dawn of Justice, but it's impossible not to when both films hit theaters in the same box office cycle. Civil War builds off the events of the 12 films before it, so it never feels like the genesis of the movie was, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool to see two iconic heroes fight each other?"
There are stakes. There is character growth. And the reasoning behind the heroes ending up in fisticuffs is more sensical than why, because why not.
2. It Does Avengers 2 Better Than Avengers 2. There's been much ado about how Civil War is truly Cap 3 and not Avengers 2.5, but, honestly, it's Avengers 2.5. Which isn't a slight against Steve Rogers -- Chris Evans gets plenty of meaty stuff to dig into, but so does every other hero in rotation.
It's clear after watching Civil War that it couldn't exist without Age of Ultron -- whether you loved AoU or not -- but it also manages to do everything just a bit better, down to the shoehorned-in romance that might have potential in a less crowded film. This is the movie where Marvel says, "Look at all the cool tricks we have and everything we can do."
3. It's a Sign of Phase 3's Potential. To be clear, Civil War is a stand-alone movie unto itself. It never feels like it's a building block setting up Infinity Wars or Cap 4 (whatever iteration Cap 4 will take). But, as Marvel does, it sets things into motion that will continue on in later movies. And if Civil War is any indication, those movies are going to be gooood.
Naturally, that includes Spider-Man: Homecoming, but also the Black Panther movie! Similarly to Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and her sometimes vaguely Eastern European accent before him, Marvel is clearly embracing the African roots of King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman). It's refreshing that the studio isn't attempting to water down his culture to make the movie more "mainstream," but delivering much-needed diversity and then some.
And there are more seeds planted as to exactly how weird Marvel can get. We saw the very beginnings of it in Ant-Man, and Civil War pushes the boundaries even further, with Vision (Paul Bettany) phasing through walls and, at one point, through another character, prompting a cry of, "A man just flew inside me!" It just makes us more excited for the inevitable weirdness of Doctor Strange.
4. It's Got Jokes. Along with everything else that it is, Civil War is funny. There are many things to praise Captain America: The Winter Soldier for, but no one is heralding it as a comedic tour de force.
Civil War still has the gravitas and action-packed-ness of Winter Soldier -- in fact, the stunts might be even better this time around. Good luck, Infinity Wars! -- but characters like Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Spider-Man impart a welcomed dose of humor. Really, everyone gets their quippy one-liner or two. This seems like the right time to mention your new favorite bromance, too: Falcon and Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). Who knew?
5. Everything You Don't Want to Be Spoiled On. It's hard explaining why the film works so well without venturing into serious spoiler territory, and your Civil War experience will only be better if you do not know certain things going into it. Like, you don't want to know who dies -- or doesn't die...if anyone dies, that is.
And you already know Black Panther and Spider-Man pop in during the much-hyped airport brawl, but you don't want to know that scene's biggest -- literally -- surprise.
6. There's a Star Wars Reference. Because synergy. But also, it's amazing.
ET was on the set of Captain America: Civil War and found out how the cast hazed the new heroes and who got challenged to a dance-off. Find out in the video below.