It’s difficult to talk about Captain America: Civil War without comparing it to that other superhero extravaganza that happened this year, Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice. Yes, Civil War and Batman v Superman are quite different in terms of tone and what they’re attempting to achieve (DC’s film is trying to jump-start an entire shared universe, while Civil War is cresting a wave that was started years ago) but as these are the two biggest superhero films of the year from rival studios, some comparison between the two is justified. The only real problem is that, for comparison’s sake, there’s really no competition here because Civil War is superior to Batman v Superman in just about every way imaginable … and I say this as someone who generally prefers DC’s comics and characters to Marvel’s. Here’s why DC’s superhero battle royale doesn’t have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with Marvel’s.
10. The Main Event
The marketing campaign for Batman v Superman focused heavily on the conflict between the titular characters, promising a titanic battle between “God and man.” Unfortunately, the actual fight between Batman and Superman lasts all of ten minutes and amounts to little more than the two punching each other, with occasional pauses so Batman can hit Superman with a kryptonite trap. The main problem with this fight is that it barely has any impact on the film’s final outcome; Batman and Superman fight for a bit and then they’re pretty much buddies for the rest of it until Superman unceremoniously dies in the final act.
On the other hand, Civil War builds to its final confrontation between Captain America and Iron Man and then at the last moment, throws in a dramatic wild card that changes the dynamic of their relationship even more. Even though neither character dies, the friendship between the pair feels dramatically different by the time they finally stop punching each other, which is a good indication that this fight is integral to Civil War’s entire structure. You could take out the Batman and Superman fight out of Dawn of Justice and the only thing that would change is that the film would be shorter and we would all be spared from having to endure any Martha memes.