Eppler: 'Civil War' is a better superhero showdown

Eppler: 'Civil War' is a better superhero showdown

In an election year where there's deep division in both major political parties, superheroes are fighting each other too and guess what?  It's mostly over politics.

A couple months ago, we watched Batman and Superman battle over checks and balances on absolute power, and now in "Captain America: Civil War," the members of the Avengers are divided over a demand by the United Nations for these super-people to be held accountable for their actions that often leave collateral damage. Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark wants the oversight, but of course there's no way Chris Evans' Captain America is donning a U.N. blue beret.

So yes, these two movies are very similar in themes and plot structure, but the difference is "Batman v Superman" was mostly a brooding bore. "Civil War" is lively and fun. Although it's a "Captain America" movie, it feels like "Avengers 2.5." It plays like a kid dumping out his entire toy box and using all of them in some epic battle with each other. And the main event is a blast watching these guys use their powers and skills on each other.

Even though Hulk and Thor sit this one out, there are several new characters introduced: Chadwick Boseman resonates immediately as Black Panther, and the very young Tom Holland is a scene-stealer as the new Spider-Man.

"Civil War" does have plot holes big enough for Iron Man to fly through, and while the action sequences are fun, there's a lingering feeling that some of them don't have much at stake. The one exception is the conflict between Iron Man and Cap, which has proper emotional motivation. 

I wouldn't rank "Civil War" among the very best of the 13 Marvel movies so far. In fact, I prefer the last Captain America movie, "Winter Soldier," to this one. But for summer movie fun, the bar is already set very high.

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