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Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War” prepares for an epic big screen fight

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Sort of quietly and without nearly the fanfare of some other properties, Marvel has seen their Captain America series of films become some of the most popular in their cinematic universe. With the release this week of Captain America: Civil War, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (or MCU) might very well have their biggest hit yet. High praise, I know, especially considering how well The Avengers did, but this seems to have a groundswell of support. From the newcomers joining the fray to seeing basically every hero go toe to toe, it’s an event film in the very sense of the word. For all the ways that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice seemed not to satisfy audiences/critics, this one could be picking up the slack. It looks like a slam dunk blockbuster is coming our way.

A quick refresher for you all who might not be completely in the know about this one. The film, which is the third in the Captain America franchise (now a trilogy after Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier) and the next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, picks up following the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. In some ways, this is essentially a pseudo sequel to that and basically an Avengers movie in everything but name. When government regulation of superheroes is proposed in the aftermath of a tragedy and the previous destruction caused by various heroes, as well as dealings with Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), our protectors take up opposing sides of the law. On one end, opposing regulation, is Captain America (Chris Evans), while supporting the act is Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.). All of the Avengers and other heroes take up one side or the other, with newcomers including Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who have their own agendas. The movie is directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (who previously did Captain America: The Winter Soldier and will be doing the next Avengers sequel), the screenplay is by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (who are Winter Soldier vets too), while the cast, aside from the aforementioned big players, includes Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, and Daniel Brühl, among plenty of others. The Russo Brothers are obviously helming their second Captain America flick and have the Avengers: Infinity War on their plate (a two parter, no less), so this is a big title for them, to say the least.

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So far, reviews have been absurdly strong for an MCU property, even by their fairly high standards. Some have even called it the best Marvel film to date. At the very least, it seems to have upped the already impressive game demonstrated in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and erased most of the shrugs that were associated with Avengers: Age of Ultron. We’re still a bit of a ways away from Avengers: Infinity War (more on that below in a moment), but the next phase of the MCU (we’re now in the third) is looking to be just as exciting and well regarded as any other so far. That’s really something, when you stop and actually think about it.

From here, we’ve officially entered Phase Three. Up next for Marvel is, in release date order, Doctor Strange (November of this year), Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May of next year), Spider-Man: Homecoming (July of next year), Thor: Ragnarok (November of next year), Black Panther (February of 2018), Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 (May of 2018), Ant-Man and the Wasp (July of 2018), Captain Marvel (March of 2019), and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 (May of 2019). That’s a really full slate, one that will see just about everyone in this new film featured at least twice. Marvel’s MCU is as healthy as ever, with their movies, especially this one in particular, capturing adoration on every level.

This weekend, audiences will flock in droves to theaters and watch almost all of their favorite heroes duke it out in Captain America: Civil War. Whether you’re on Team Cap or Team Iron Man, it seems like you’re set to have your mind blown. The box office should be huge, with an opening weekend among the best ever, and in all realms this is playing more like a new Avengers outing than just a Captain America one. For Marvel, as well as audiences, it’s really the best of both worlds. I’m sure the vast majority of you are going, so enjoy and stay tuned for much more on this one in the coming days, including a report on what is expected to be a tremendous initial haul at the box office. Sit tight…

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Be sure to check out Captain America: Civil War, in theaters everywhere starting tonight!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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