The fact that a Marvel movie dares to question the big, shiny spectacle that is its bread and butter - and acknowledge that untold thousands die in the name of entertainment - seems rather novel.
The motto of the directors, Anthony and Joe Russo, appears to be: If you can make it happen, do it. Don't hold back.
As they did in Winter Soldier, the Russos have achieved an uncommon balance of plot and action, humor and drama, all of it once again deeply grounded in character.
It's the Vibranium standard for super-team flicks.
Civil War reminds us it's OK to enjoy a few laughs, even while diabolical villains plot doom, outraged citizens demand accountability and your best pal mistrusts you.
In the end this is a movie about friendships and conflict, and what can happen when the latter overwhelms the former. It's about two genuine heroes who can't reconcile their obligations and duties with the friendship they both cherish.
Downey Jr. persists in trying to give a real performance in these Marvel movies, and, against all odds, succeeds.
Dependable, reliable, comforting - like ordering at a chain restaurant. You know what kind of meal you're going to get every time, and you'll most likely enjoy it.
Simply put, when it comes to juggling multiple superheroes in a single movie, Marvel's latest comes close to setting the standard. And the studio, as well as the villagers, should have cause to rejoice.