Anyone who has been watching the Marvel Universe movies should be in love with the latest edition Captain America: Civil War. The first scene had me nervous that they were starting down the path of crap expected from the DC Universe: stories driven by plot with little pathos and no interesting character developments. In that scene they have corny jokes and flippantly kill henchman. Then some people got blown up and I was happy again.
Due to the ensemble cast that are mostly in the previous Avengers movies some people are calling this Avengers 2.5. However, after that first scene the style and tone are more in line with Captain America movies than they are with Avengers movies. The primary villain, Zemo, is a Captain America villain and global politics take a bigger role in the movie than they do in Avengers movies.
The downside to Captain America: Civil War is that in comic book terms it’s not a good jumping on point. If you haven’t watched many (possibly mostly) of the other movies it’s not going to be enjoyable. There are even a bunch of Ant-Man references that are going to be hard to get without seeing that movie (in their defense, the references are not important to the movie). At the very least, you would need to see Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Winter Soldier to understand this movie.
In terms of story telling, Civil War serves a similar role to the overall saga that Iron Man 3 served. It deals with the consequences of the previous Avengers movie and bridges the gap to the next movie. With Iron Man 3 Tony Stark was dealing with post traumatic stress disorder from the battle with the Chitauri aliens from the first Avengers movie. In Civil War the main driving plot line is everyone dealing with the consequences of lifting a city in the air in Sokovia during Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Marvel Studios and Disney schooled Warner Brothers in a couple areas of adapting comics with this movie compared to Batman V Superman. First of all it allows itself to be one part of a bigger story and end the movie at a natural spot without tying off every loose end. Batman V Superman didn’t know when to quit and dragged out by the end as it tried to wrap it all up. Even though Civil War ends naturally, there are a lot of loose ends left out there for the future movies.
Another way that Marvel Studios schooled Warner Brothers is with introducing lesser known characters. In Batman V Superman Wonder Woman has a handful of scenes and there is quick mention of Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman. Anyone can imagine a way of rewriting the movie without any reference to those four characters without making the movie any less entertaining (unless you were already a fan of those characters and easily geek out over things).
By comparison Marvel introduces Black Panther and its new Spider-Man while bringing Ant-Man into the mix. If Black Panther is removed from the movie the story loses a large chunk of its pathos and plot points. This new character, which is much less known to the general public than Wonder Woman, is almost as important to the movie as Captain America and Bucky. While Spider-Man and Ant-Man do not play pivotal roles in the movie, they make a huge splash and were two of the most entertaining characters. Both of them are used as comedic relief, which was much needed to break up the serious nature of adults in tights flying around slapping each other. After the movie many people were talking about those two and thinking about watching Ant-Man if they had not seen it.
If Batman V Superman had Ambush Bug and his nemesis Argh-yle the sock woven into the story, we would not have a sad Aflec.