Marvel’s newest addition, Captain America: Civil War is easily one of the franchise’s best and is a promising sign for things to come.  Civil War manages to stay fresh and introduce new players without losing sight from its main story. This is key, as past films seem to put more emphasis on pushing a spin-off  than they do focusing on the film at hand. The need to insert new, obscure characters makes seeing each new iteration feel like a game of superhero Guess Who.  Civil War tackles these issues with grace and seldom has to sacrifice narrative integrity for the sake of showing off some new flashy hero. Is he a kid from Queens? Yes. Does he have lighting fast reflexes and incredible strength?  Yes. Can he shoot web?  Yes! Is it Spiderman?!?!? Yes….That was an easy one.

Civil War pits two of the Marvel universe’s favorites against each other: Captain America and Iron Man. Decreed by the UN(?) all superheroes must sign an accord that would essentially make them property of the government.  Iron Man is in favor of such constraints, cognizant of all the destruction caused over the years by the Avengers. Captain America, on the other hand is resistant to any chain–literal or otherwise– around his bulging forearms.  The heroes pick sides and the battle commences. Civil War’s premise hits home and draws parallels to our own military’s occasional overreaching powers and strengths.  Read into these or not, the choice is yours, but it is nice to know a superhero movie actually tried to tackle a topical subject.

In the confines of the superhero genre Civil War does just about everything right.  Its fight sequences are some of the best we have seen and its superheroes are given a wide landscape to showcase their powers.  Civil War is able to dish out an abundance of well- timed one liners to help soften the mood.  Surprisingly little of these come form Robert Downy Jr, who plays a far more serious Iron Man than in previous films.

In a nut shell: With Batman vs Superman, DC served up the ball toward Marvel and it barely made it over the net.  If Civil War was the return volley, it’s a spike right between the naive eyes of DC. Civil War delivers on Batman v Superman’s promises. The film feels focused, it knows its objective from the get-go and doesn’t flounder in the final act.  There is no super villain forcibly inserted for a final climactic battle which is a welcome change. My biggest gripe with the film is its run time, which is far from a deal breaker. Yet, a tighter two hour movie would have been preferable. The ending keeps the door slightly open for sequels,and for the first time in some time, I am okay with that. (3.5 out of 4)