Civil War

I went to see Civil War yesterday afternoon. (I took a half-day off from work.) I enjoyed it a lot. I like that the Marvel film universe has matured to the point where they can just throw a bunch of heroes into a movie and not feel like they need to recount everyone’s back story. The film is loosely based on Marvel’s Civil War series from about ten years ago. (I was surprised when I checked that and realized how long ago it was. Time is just flying by…)

I had read that series, and some of the tie-in books, when they came out, and I had mixed feelings about the event as whole, though parts of it are quite good. In particular, I liked J. Michael Straczynski’s Spider-Man tie-in. There’s a really good sequence that’s referenced in the movie, though in a different context and with the dialog coming from a different character. There’s a good article about it here, with the original comic pages included.

Spider-Man is included in the film, on loan from Sony, which is kind of neat but also kind of ridiculous. There’s an article from the LA Times about how this happened, and how hard it was to arrange to “borrow” the character from Sony. Spider-Man’s appearance does actually add something useful to the movie: the perspective of a new, young, hero who hasn’t interacted with all the “big shots” in the Marvel universe, like Cap and Iron Man. And of course some typical light-hearted Spider-Man banter.

The movie is quite long, almost two and a half hours, but it holds up pretty well over that length. I think that’s a little too long for a superhero movie. A tighter two-hour movie would have been better. It will probably work well on home video though, where you can pause it and take a break, or watch it in two or three sittings.

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