Opening this week:
Captain America: Civil War—In March it was Batman and Superman that couldn’t get along; now it’s the gang over at Marvel. The U.N. wants the Avengers to agree to regulation. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) thinks it’s a good idea. Captain America (Chris Evans) doesn’t want anyone telling him what he should and shouldn’t do.
I’ve become a bit of a curmudgeon about the current run of superhero flicks; technically eye-popping though they are, most of them seem overlong and humorless to me. That’s true of Civil War too, but I will say I enjoyed it more than Batman v Superman. About midpoint the quarrel leads Iron Man and his pals into a brawl with Cap and his pals at an airport, and the goofy, semi-slapstick action and the trading of corny quips between adversaries really conjured up the fun of reading an old-school comic. For once, the movie didn’t feel like Wagner without the arias.
The point of contention between Iron Man and Cap is, I suppose, a fair dramatization of a central conflict in the American attitude toward the rule of law, especially international law. But whichever side with which you may sympathize ideologically, there’s little doubt of which leading man wins this Civil War from an acting standpoint—Downey is as manically vibrant as ever, while poor Evans is as pleasantly bland a leading man as you can find in American movies right now.
Also adding some liveliness is Paul Rudd, returning as Ant-Man, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther, and Tom Holland as another new Spider-Man. Spidey gets a new Aunt May his time, too—Marisa Tomei. Yes, that’s right; since the first Spider-Man flick back in 2002 the role of Aunt May has gone from Rosemary Harris to Sally Field to Marisa freakin’ Tomei. It’s a bit of a jolt to realize that Aunt May is two years younger than I am (and looks at least ten years younger).