Last night marked the premier of one of the most highly anticipated films of the year, Captain America: Civil War. While I personally have not seen it yet, early reviews are quoting multiple critics saying that it is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s “best film yet.” These early reviews are already faring much better than last month’s critical failure Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now while this might not be one of the BIGGEST surprises to many of you now (though it certainly is a pretty big let down), if you were to say that a movie about Captain America fighting Iron Man would be better than a movie about Batman against (for most of the film) Superman ten years ago, most people would think you’re insane.
So just what exactly does make a situation like this possible? Well for starters, Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has been going on for just over eight years now. While this might seem like the obvious answer, one has to keep in mind that the Caped Crusader also has been featured on the big screen for decades now, and has quite the devoted following.
Does that mean that Batman Vs. Superman was that awful, that not even the most die-hard fans would rally up enough to see it? I, personally, do not think so. BvS, in my opinion, wasn’t nearly as awful as many people made it out to be. I think it was misunderstood. Now I’m not saying it was a GOOD movie, but I would give it about a 65 or 70 out of 100, which is much more forgiving than many other reviews.
My belief is that much of the misunderstanding came from the fact that Zack Snyder (clearly an avid comic book reader and fan) tried to make a movie that caught up to eight years worth of competition, and attempted to make it appeal to the devoted comic fans like himself. The problem with this is that he didn’t do a very good job of either, putting too much in to try to catch up, and adding “easter-egg” material that just caused convolution in the plot. If Snyder had chose one OR the other (catching up to competition, or making a story that remains truthful to its source) there may have been a chance that enough fans would have forgiven its faults and made BvS destroy Captain America by a financial landslide. Instead, the in between approach alienated both the devoted fans of Batman and Superman comics and the masses of the world who just wanted to see the biggest blockbuster of the year.
Many people have also suggested that Batman Vs. Superman is “too dark” compared to the films of the Marvel Universe, but honestly, often times dark can be better. Batman’s bout in The Dark Knight was, at the time, one of the darkest superhero films yet, and went on to become a financial juggernaut (okay, so Heath Ledger’s death probably helped that statistic, but still…). I for one find that some of Marvel’s movies are a little too light sometimes, making me well aware that I’m watching a ridiculous superhero film, and making me not feel as empathetic towards what really happens to our characters. I never fear that someone may actually die because in the end “it’s a Marvel movie, heroes never die in Marvel movies.” I honestly didn’t believe that (I guess SPOILER alert? But if you haven’t seen Age of Ultron yet you probably shouldn’t be here) Quicksilver was really dead at the end of Avengers 2. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he really ISN’T dead and they bring him back later on with some ridiculous reasoning (can anyone say “Hello, Phil Coulson”). In Batman Vs. Superman, however, I actually believe that, when someone dies, it’s quite possible they stay dead, making me much more involved in the narrative.
While Captain America: Civil War hasn’t officially been released to the public, the fact that initial reviews are so positive, coupled with the fact that the MCU has an incredibly massive following, makes it almost a sure thing that Cap 3 will soar past Batman Vs Superman after it’s released.