Captain America: Civil War (2016) | Directed by Joe Russo, Anthony Russo | Action/Sci-Fi | PG-13 | With Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle | Marvel Studios | Box Office: $1.153 billion | Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Captain America: Civil War was not only the most critically acclaimed superhero movie of 2016, but one of Marvel Studios’ highest-grossing projects to date. Marvel’s implementation of real world issues into the lives of characters forces each of the heroes to stand for what they truly believe in, allowing them to show the inner personalities that make each of them unique yet, collectively, an ensemble. The chemistry between the characters is shown to survive the split in the team on several occasions, displaying the loyalty that the war seems to contradict. The fast-paced action throughout almost the entire film makes it maintain the high level intensity of its predecessors, The Winter Soldier and The First Avenger.
The smooth integration of Marvel’s essential characters into its Universe is what makes Civil War a success. Marvel’s Cinematic Universe allows it to release new, anticipated movies starring characters that most have become familiar with. For instance, T’Challa, or Black Panther, is introduced as the prince of Wakanda, seeking revenge against Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier. This allows for the viewer to see the conflict in a point of view that is outside that of the Avengers or of the Winter Soldier, whom the public have all grown accustomed to. In addition, the comedic appearance of the new Spiderman leaves a very memorable impression on the viewers, bringing further anticipation for the future installments in the upcoming reboot. Character introduction and development is executed effectively, generating fan excitement for future projects such as Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther, set to release in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Marvel Studios succeeds once again in the aspect that Civil War doesn’t feel like a mere continuation of the Avengers trilogy, due to the conflict being amongst the heroes themselves, as well as containing more insight on the true nature and intentions of the characters. It also maintains the main elements of a Captain America film in that it revolves around the more sensible decision of Rogers and his stubborn loyalty to his friendship with Bucky, which originated in The First Avenger and continued in The Winter Soldier. Ultimately, Civil War further develops both the righteous character of Captain America as well as the obvious tensions between him and Tony Stark.
Civil War goes down as perhaps the best superhero movie of 2016 because it has everything that its rivals had and more. Capitalizing on DC Entertainment’s rather lackluster year, Civil War is what Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice could have been, and shows the depth and interconnectivity of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe in the process.