The Best Marvel MCU Blockbuster Is Not An Avengers Entry

By TeeJay Small | Published

These days, the MCU seems to be struggling to recapture the magic it once held, with outings such as Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and The Marvels taking major losses at the box office. While some fans of the franchise yearn for the days of Avengers: Endgame, it bears reminding that the highest watermark for success in the entire MCU actually came years before the Infinity Saga reached its stunning conclusion. The best standalone film in the MCU, without a doubt, is 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

Captain America: Civil War

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Captain America: Civil War premiered during a time where the MCU was still the biggest force at the box office by a country mile. In recent years, the brand has been watered down by too many low-quality outings, forcing even the most loyal of viewers to pick and choose which entries they care about and skip the rest.

When Civil War arrived in theaters in 2016, it was still “cool” to be obsessed with Marvel films, whipping audiences into a fervor.

So Many Huge Additions

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So you can imagine the uproar that occurred in theaters across the world when major events were unveiled in Captain America: Civil War, such as the existence of Spider-Man in the MCU, or Ant-Man’s ability to grow gigantic.

The film also serves as the first entry with Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther, in a landmark performance that completely steals the show.

The twists and turns take place throughout the film and are exciting without requiring extensive background knowledge of Marvel canon or other MCU entries, making it the perfect film for new and returning fans alike.

The Avengers At Odds

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The plot of Captain America: Civil War revolved around two central disagreements between the Avengers crew. The first of which was the introduction of the Sokovia Accords, which would limit superhero power and force entities such as The Avengers to operate under UN scrutiny, in stringent compliance with international law.

While this would undoubtedly protect the average citizen from becoming collateral damage to a semi-truck being tossed across the island of Manhattan by the Incredible Hulk, Captain America and his pals argue that the Accords turn the Avengers into a weapon to be ordered into place by politicians funded by greed.

The Winter Soldier Is Back

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The other major disagreement at the center of Captain America: Civil War arises as Cap’s old bestie, Bucky Barnes, returns to public life after spending decades under Hydra mind control.

Some of the Avengers want Bucky dead, or at the very least incarcerated, as they fear he will always be a Hydra asset. This is especially true of T’Challa, who believes Bucky to be responsible for the death of his father.

An Emotional Payoff

All of this conflict comes to a head with a staggering emotional beef between Captain America and Iron Man, who find themselves embroiled in a civil war, both physically and in the arena of morals and ethics.

While the MCU certainly continued to peak with installments such as Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, no other film in the franchise reached the emotional density of Tony Stark lamenting that he believed Steve Rogers was his friend, but now sees things differently.

At least, not in a way that could stand alone as a single film, without hours of necessary backstory required to interpret.

Streaming Captain America: Civil War

REVIEW SCORE

For those who require a rewatch, Captain America: Civil War is available to stream on Disney+. The film is truly a shining example of what superhero media can accomplish and stands firm at 4.5 stars out of 5.

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