Monday, May 9, 2016

[Review] Captain America: Civil War


Understandable echos of superhero movie fatigue have been ringing out, but as long as Marvel keeps delivering films as entertaining as this, the hype doesn't seem to be dying down any time soon. Captain America: Civil War blasts into theaters as the third installment of the very solid Captain America series, and the 'I lost count' addition to Marvel's cinematic universe. As expected, the film packs in a lot of material. And for the most part, it's a wonderfully satisfying crowd-pleaser.

Opening amidst a rapid fire chase and street fight sequence, the team is back at it: Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). They dismantle the bad guys, but in the process there's an unfortunate explosion. Afterward, the government comes down on the Avengers in regard to the innocent casualties of their plight for the greater good. This creates major conflict between the squad, and especially propels the highly anticipated rift between Captain America and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.).

We have some newcomers here too, including Chadwick Boseman as the swiftly cool Black Panther, and Tom Holland as Spider-Man (another one), who adds some fresh and naive babyfaced nerdism to the ensemble. Recent recruit Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) carries over the everyman awe and spunkiness from his solo film, and he's a great burst of humor. Then there's the returning Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan)--still brainwashed and caught between it all, while also playing a very significant role in this story.

Even with the abundance of characters, the film surprisingly never feels too messy or over-bloated. Sure, you might be wishing for some more screen time from certain heros, but the multi-plot leaves a lot of room for them to each get their shine on. It also helps that this thing is nicely paced and constructed, gliding together relatively smoothly even given its 150 minute runtime--unlike another big screen comic book battle from this earlier this year, Batman v Superman (you knew it was gonna come up).

Compelling and meaningful, Civil War earns our investment into its fights. (Although if you haven't been keeping up with these franchises, it's probably just a bunch of stuff flying around and pounding each other.) The highlight setpiece of the film is an extended showdown at an empty airport, where all (and I mean ALL) the characters spectacularly go head-to-head. It's a giddy and well-executed scene that boasts a smorgasbord of diverse powers uniting and clashing. The stakes don't necessarily feel like an ultimate life or death situation (which is fine), but it's a rumble that's a whole lot of quippy and exuberant fun anyway. Shouts out to the Russo Brothers for pulling this together.

If you've been along for the entire ride of this film series, it's difficult to witness former comrades (and friends) Captain America and Iron Man seriously go at each other. But they both strongly represent an age-old weighty moral dilemma, and it also makes for a pretty dang good blockbuster.

* 8.7/10 *


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3 comments:

  1. Entertaining and informative, this review is well-written. Keep up the good work.

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  2. Very well-written. I also subscribed to your blog feed. Hehe.

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  3. This maybe second only to the first AVENGERS movie as my fave Marvel movie. It just works one every level and you actually care about the characters and what happens to them (unlike BATMAN V SUPERMAN).

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