The summer blockbuster season kicks off this weekend with a superhero-filled popcorn movie that – despite featuring more heroes than any before – doesn’t carry ‘The Avengers’ in its title.
The ‘Captain America’ franchise has (arguably, of course) been the strongest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. ‘The First Avenger‘ was a fun throwback to the propaganda films of World War II, while ‘The Winter Soldier‘ took on the style of a 1970s political espionage thriller. Unfortunately, by bringing back the Russo Brothers, ‘Captain America: Civil War‘ feels like a simple rehash of ‘The Winter Soldier’. But if you’re able to look past that, you’ll find a whole lot of fun within.
With a dozen of the franchise’s superheroes reprising their roles, you’re probably wondering why ‘Civil War’ doesn’t carry ‘The Avengers’ in its title. The reason is simple: This is Cap’s movie. After the disbanding of the HYDRA-infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. organization, the Avengers have gone rogue. We open with an action sequence that shows Cap leading a team comprised of Falcon, Scarlet Witch and Black Widow through a clean-up mission that will tie up loose ends from the ‘The Winter Soldier’. When they’re unable to stop a villain from killing innocent bystanders, an international committee is formed to regulate the actions of the Avengers. With the new law splitting the team down the middle just as a new threat arises, they go head-to-head with one another while trying to persuade one another of what’s morally correct. The superhero line-up includes Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Falcon, War Machine, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ant-Man and Spider-Man.
Unsurprisingly, nothing else dares open wide against Marvel this week. However, debuting on five screens is ‘A Bigger Splash‘, Fox Searchlight’s drama about the twisted lives of a few fictional high-profile celebrities. Tilda Swinton plays a rock star whose relationship and vacation are about to take a left turn. Ralph Fiennes plays a longtime friend of hers who unexpectedly runs into her with her boyfriend (Mattias Schoenaerts) while traveling with his daughter (Dakota Johnson). Tensions rise as the four characters cross paths and the film appears to head into thriller territory. There’s something about this odd and scandalous-looking story that appeals to me.