Make it Civil War. Because, to absolutely nobody’s surprise, Marvel also does grim and gritty movies about moral dilemmas better.... The idea that they only do lighthearted and funny has of course been disproved with Winter Soldier. As is the defence that if you don’t do it lighthearted, it has to be depressing as shit. Minor spoilers ahead.
Because you know what BvS lacked? Apart from colour and joy, that is? Motivation and meaning. I have said before that that movie showed us two dickheads being dickheads and hitting another for being a dickhead. I have no sympathy for two wannabe heroes who both leave a path of devastation behind while acting above the law and blaming the other one for doing - exactly the same thing.
Now - who I have sympathy for is this: Two people fighting who have reasons for what they do. Good reasons. Identifiable reasons. One of them is wrong in this particular case, but it doesn’t matter - because he has a point. It is so much better when you sympathise with both sides instead of none. And when they come together they don’t do it because their mothers have to happen the same name, but because it is the right thing to do. Because in the end, when what has to be done - has to be done.
And when then there comes a point where it doesn’t matter anymore what’s right (because at the time when the conflict seems solved, you may wonder why we haven’t seen that one fight from the trailer yet - don’t worry, it’s coming) - we get it. Because it has weight. It has importance. If one of our heroes clearly crosses the line from justice to revenge, we’ve been following him down that road.
It of course also helps that the fight in and of itself has meaning to these people. It’s not just two random strangers going at each other for being dicks. It’s friends. Family. Torn apart from the inside. Because - as the villain in CW rightfully states - that’s when it really matters. When it breaks from the inside, it can’t be healed. Well, I guess it will be in the next Avengers movie, but coming out of CW - it’s not. A meaningful cliffhanger is another thing CW can do better.
And if that sounds familiar, it’s the plot of The Dark Knight Returns. The comic book classic BvS claims to be based on. In which that fight means something because Bruce and Clarke. Were. Friends. Not two caped guys who never met and whose only thing in common is their mothers’ first names.
(And by the way - as in BvS it’s the villain orchestrating the conflict from behind the stage in CW. Only this time - it makes sense. He, like the heroes, has a motivation why he does it. And an Endgame other than Luthor’s “See Them Fight.” And we get to see how he does it - he doesn’t randomly show up knowing what he needs to know like Luthor knowing Bat’s and Supe’s identities out out nowhere. Also - Daniel Brühl can play more than one character. Which helps. Not a fan of Eisenberg’s....)
Now - obvious DC/Marvel comparison out of the way - how was it as a movie? A bit crowded, maybe. It’s certainly not one of the standalone hero movies where you have to wonder “Why isn’t the rest of the Avengers here?” A more clear decision if this is an Avengers movie or a Capitan America movie might have helped to tighten the film a little.
Spider-Man was..... not - particularly nessecary for this, to be honest. If we didn’t know the reason why they were so eager to bring him back into the Marvel Universe, I would have recommend to cut him out and solve some pacing issues with that, but - I wore a Spiderman shirt to cinema, I won’t complain. Tom Holland is good in the part - this definitely feels most like the comic book version of a quippy teenager who’s just excited to be there of all his silver screen incarnations.
Sexy Aunt May is - weird though. ESPECIALLY sexy Aunt May getting hit on by Tony Stark! Don’t. Do. That. Ever again! Just because you are so close to breaking the fourth Wall by admitting that this is not the Aunt you expected doesn’t make Aunt May/Iron Man a thing.
Talking about just being happy to be here - Ant Man. Who’s apparently a huge Captain America fan. :) And when I say huge I mean.......Giant. Man, you know? ;)
Black Panther was cool. Actually serving a point and fitting the narrative of revenge and justice, so of all the new guys, he fits in best.
The new guys do take a little too much time away from the - not quite as new ones, though. I really would have loved to see more Vision and Wanda. (That could be a buddy comedy ;) ) Especially more of Vision’s fashion tastes, I was not promised too much!
We get the first honest to God benefit of the fact that Marvel and Lucasfilm now both belong to Disney.... I would not call it a Spider Man/Star Wars crossover. As such. But it’s...... there. :) Look out for rebel scum fighting style!
PS: Marvel is really, really confused about the political and geographical maps of Europe. Now, I know the Marvel Universe isn’t our universe, especially Law Enforcement must be gravely different from the real world, with Superheroes and villains flying around, but still... Why. In the name of all the Gods in Asgard is a German Swat Team in full combat gear trying to arrest Bucky - in Bucharest??? I’m not sure about how often you see German Cops patrolling the streets of Romania. Maybe blackpanther can help out with that question (ours, not the Avengers’ ;) )
PPS: Marvel really knows their rejuvenation software by now. It’s a little weirder to see young Tony than it was to see young Michael Douglas because he’s a teenager and not a 40-something and so the change is more significant, but - it really works. Again.