Weekender

The tangled web Marvel weaves

Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan star in “Captain America: Civil War,” which opens Friday.
Chris Evans, Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan star in “Captain America: Civil War,” which opens Friday. Marvel Studios via Tribune News Service

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while.

Because this isn’t technically a review, I feel comfortable not only in stating that bias upfront, but expanding on it in ways that are sure to come back and haunt me if/when my application for “The Bachelor” ever goes through.

When I was a senior in high school, I left a graduation party early so that I could go home and finish reading the novelization of the movie “Superman Returns.” In 2012, I made the four-and-half-hour drive from Syracuse, N.Y., to Cherry Hill, N.J., so that I could see “The Avengers” three weeks early.

My name is Frank Ready, and I am a comic book movie fan.

And aside from a few noteworthy speed bumps, these are good times for my people. “Captain America: Civil War” opens on Friday, capping nearly eight years and 12 movies worth of world building.

Marvel’s latest pits its sizable stable of cinematic heroes (plus one Spectacular Spider-Man) against one another in a battle royale of conflicting ideologies.

To what extent this plays as an engaging interpersonal drama or a big budget video game with excellent location work will largely depend on how invested general audiences are in the totality of the universe that Marvel has managed to build.

“Civil War” promises to be the culmination of several storylines and character arcs that span multiple movies across multiple franchises.

If you’ve viewed all of the assigned chapters, then great, good for you, gold star.

If not, well...

This isn’t like trying to enter “Lost” in the third season — this is like trying to get caught up on all six seasons of “The Walking Dead” while riding a unicycle and writing the last four pages of your term paper on the Industrial Revolution.

And it’s important to take into account television series like “Lost” or “The Walking Dead,” because they are in large part what has prepared us for the rabid serialization that has crept into movie theaters.

Think about shows like “I Love Lucy” or even “Friends.” You could drop in and out of Monica and Rachel’s New York City apartment sporadically throughout the year and still have a pretty good idea of what was going on with the gang.

“The Walking Dead” requires a longer memory and an infinitely closer attention to detail — and that’s just one show.

I love Marvel, but if Jenga has taught us anything, it’s that the taller the tower gets, the harder it is to remove even just one individual piece.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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