With Captain America: Civil War the clockwork-like efficiency of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is on full display. Nearly a decade after it was kicked off with Iron Man (2008), Marvel has perfected its formula which mixes a blend of humor, light pathos, and bright-eyed optimism. The problem is the cracks in this methodology are beginning to show and these films desperately need to start coloring outside of the lines.
In Civil War, the strengths of the MCU brand—reliance on quips, increasingly smooth easily commodified storytelling, exceeding lightness—feel like weaknesses. As the superhero genre continues to balloon Marvel’s desire to tell the same types of stories with the same types of characters is proving to be increasingly rote.