Theaters

Captain America: Civil War made a big splash over the weekend, bringing in more than $180 million and garnering rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.  Marvel expands further with the introduction of more familiar and not-as-familiar heroes.  But, the question heading into the film is: What will make Civil War different from all of the other Marvel superhero movies?

The answer is: quite a lot.

Captain America and his sidekicks open the movie saving Lagos from criminals attempting to steal a biological weapon.  In the aftermath of their fight, some innocent bystanders are killed.  Because of this and other collateral damage from films past, the UN forces S.H.I.E.L.D. to make the avengers an international peace force, rather than a private group of crime-fighting mercenaries.  This treaty divides the superheroes into two groups led by Captain America and Iron Man (Tony Stark).  Tony sees the oversight as a good thing.  He thinks they are too powerful to be able to run wild.  Captain America trusts his own judgement and doesn’t want politics involved in saving the world.  As the film progresses, the two sides become more and more combative until the ultimate showdown between the two super groups.

The film is perhaps the most thoughtful Marvel film since Iron Man.  The script is tight, the action is fantastic, and the story is surprisingly gripping.  At a time when superhero movies dominate the summer cinemas, Civil War asks, ‘are Superheroes really a good thing?’  There are legitimate debates over the costs of war and how we are supposed to manage powerful weapons.  At one point, Tony even argues, “Do you see Hulk or Thor here?  How would the government feel if it lost two nuclear warheads?”  The argument is important as we grow into a culture that idolizes these heroes.

If you haven’t had the chance, I’d definitely recommend seeing Captain America: Civil War in theaters.  It is a grand, fun experience for everybody over 12 or so.  Families could have some interesting discussions after the film about the cost of fighting crime and whether or not it’s okay for powerful people to have so much control.

Streaming

A recent release on iTunes and other streaming services is the Oscar-nominated romance Brooklyn.  It’s a sweet film starring Saoirse Ronan as an Irish woman looking to make her own life as an immigrant in Brooklyn.  Deep family and cultural ties clash with her budding romance with a young Italian man.  It’s a lovely story with great performances from the entire cast.  It’s certainly worth a rental for a date night or even as a glimpse into what life was like for a 1950s immigrant in New York City.

On Netflix, be sure to catch two ESPN documentaries, Of Miracles and Men and Fantastic Lies.  The first examines the famous 1980 USA Men’s hockey victory over the USSR from the eyes of the Soviets.  The loss had a serious impact on the hockey and national sporting culture and the documentary is eye opening and brings humanity to the team most Americans would have considered simply “the bad guys.”  Fantastic Lies tells the story of the accusations and media firestorm surrounding the Duke lacrosse team after a party in 2006.  The documentary is told in the vein of Making a Murderer and sheds light on many details that may be muddled after 10 years.  It’s fascinating and sad but well worth a viewing for adults.

What else is out there?  What are you looking forward to seeing in theaters?  Any hidden gems on Netflix I should check out?  Hit me up on twitter (@KerosLowder) or in the comments below!

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