Captain America: Civil War ★★★★

Assemble, if you will, the humor and charm of The First Avenger, the action and intrigue of The Winter Soldier, and a cast list that makes me wonder how many of Chris Evans' future lives he had to sell to the devil to get top billing on the real Avengers 3. What you come up with is Marvel's best film yet, finally beating Johnston's classic origin story and Whedon's winking homage to golden age gusto. I'm still scratching my head as to how Civil War works; it is most certainly a Captain America picture, yet none of the characters (save the villain, as is par for the course in capeflicks) feel underdeveloped or lacking in screentime. A baker's dozen of prior world-building feature-lengths certainly has something to do with it, but the near-mathematical precision of blockbuster scripting on display here would have Reed Richards jealous.

This is a movie Marvel (and Marvel fans) should be proud of - not only for the assured boost to bank accounts, but for a decade of build-up without an ounce squandered. The gauntlet has been thrown for any other studio to wrest The House of Ideas from the throne.

Props also to Holland and Boseman for not only walking the tightrope of character introductions in an already crowded film, but pulling off the act with aplomb. Bring on Spider-Man Mk. 3 and Black Panther.