‘Captain America: Civil War’ has everything a superhero movie needs to save the day
The Fantastic Four are the first family of Marvel Comics. Created in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (apocryphally, the result of an edict by Marvel publisher Martin Goodman to tryout a superhero team, a la rival DC Comic’s super-successful Justice League) and heavily inspired by the monster comics Marvel was publishing at the time, their tremendous popularity and success is responsible for launching Marvel’s Silver Age superhero renaissance, transforming a middling publisher of romance and sci-fi comics into one of the “Big Two” publishers of superhero adventure stories, leading to the creation of some of pop culture’s most enduring and beloved characters. Without the Fantastic Four, there would arguably be no Spider-Man, no Hulk, no X-Men or Avengers. Fantastic Four #1 is, simply, the Big Bang of Marvel Comics.
Avengers: Age of Ultron represents the zenith of Marvel Studios’ Phase 2, the culmination of all the films and television shows that represent the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the last two years. Like the first film, this superhero team up pulls out all the stops to astound, taking the audience on a thrill ride of almost unrelenting action.
The Avengers clicked with both Marvel fans and general audiences because we loved watching these massive egos clash for the first time. It was the perfect blend of action and attitude, and its mastermind, Joss Whedon, was handed the golden ticket to Marvel’s keystone franchise. The long-awaited sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, shows the strain of trying to be bigger-and-better while still indulging the subtle pleasures of its predecessor. It succeeds, just barely, on the strength of a talented cast and our fondness for these characters. Still, it’s a decidedly somber affair that will turn off casual fans, and it stands as the most impersonal, and arguable weakest installment of Marvel’s vaunted “Phase Two.”
The premise to Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer (2013) is one of emancipation from a class system specifically designed for a superficial idea of balance – if there is no poor then there can be no elite. The elite in Snowpiercer enjoy showers and sushi, bright clothes and music; the poor freeloaders enjoy jelly protein bars and a ball that doesn’t bounce. This class system is deemed necessary for the insurance of humanity’s survival, perhaps because it is society’s longest lasting trait – the division of power, the subjugated and the subjugator. To lose this in 2034 is to lose humanity, at least that’s what the haves like to say to the “have nots”. So the impetus behind this revolt is to give equality to all the citizens of the train by taking over the engine – he who controls the engine controls the train and thus the system by which everyone lives.