Saturday, May 7, 2016

Captain America: Civil War

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! At this point, Marvel and Disney are pretty much unstoppable.

Captain America: Civil War – 5 out of 5

Who would have thought that 8 years ago, when Iron Man first debuted on the silver screen that we would get this vast and extensive shared cinematic universe that includes 13 films and several television shows?  Well, personally, I’m glad that we got it and here we are with their 13th film in the series and the movie that kicks off Phase 3 of the MCU films.  I had the privilege of seeing Captain America:  Civil War during a movie marathon at my local Marcus Theater the day before it's release.  That day, I got to see Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, CaptainAmerica: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron and then it was the moment I was waiting for: Captain America: Civil War (You can read all about my experience during the marathon by visiting, I wrote up a little piece about it).  The day was a blast and the epicness that was this latest Marvel film only made the day that much sweeter!

                                                                                                                            Marvel Studio
"Last one there is a rotten egg!"

Despite all the good Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and the rest of the Avengers have done for the world, there are still a lot of people who blame them for the loss of lives that happened during the Chitauri invasion of New York, Hydra infiltrating S.H.I.E.L.D. and the creation of Ultron and the damage he did to Sokovia.  Due to this, U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) approached the Avengers with an accord signed by many government bodies.  The accord would require masked heroes to be held accountable and operate with oversight from the United Nations.  Tony, racked with guilt, agrees to the accord and is followed by several of his teammates but Capt. can’t agree and is followed by his own team.  However, tempers boil over as a new player enters the game named Zemo (Daniel Brühl) and a bombing supposedly done by Capt.’s best friend; Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), occurs and forces a new hero to join the ranks of Team Iron Man: Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman).  Now Iron Man and Captain America must fight in order or what each man thinks is right--even if it costs them their friendship.
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It was a little strange that the fight ended up being a game of Touch Football.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the Marvel movies and I’m sure with my perfect score of this film and my less-than-perfect score of DC’s latest addition to their budding shared universe; Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice, might get me a few accusations of being Marvel fanboy or having the fun nonsense thrown at me that Marvel is paying me to give DC a bad review (even though I don’t think a 3 out of 5 is a bad review) and to give Marvel a glowing review.  The reality is, Marvel has had almost a decade at doing this and they’ve definitely found the right formula that honors the source material for the loyal readers and, simultaneously, gets the right amount of action, exposition, background and fun for the larger, mainstream audiences.  Once again, Marvel has gotten this recipe just perfect with Civil War.

                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
All he needs is a guitar and The Vision's power-slide is complete!

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We've come a long way from the Reb Brown Capt.
in the 70s.
A big concern I had when this feature was in production was the fact that the cast is HUGE!  This could have easily been disastrous as the story could have been over-inflated and way too bloated or, even worse, just a two hour long lip-service to the future features coming down the pipeline from Marvel.  Thankfully, this didn’t occur.  While the cast is gigantic—whether it be Hurt finally returning to the MCU after The Incredible Hulk or everyone on Team Iron Man:  Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Panther, The Vision (Paul Bettany) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and everyone on Team Capt.:  Bucky, Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and all the others who show up like Crossbones (Frank Grillo), May Parker (Marisa Tomei) and Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman)—the film could have easily been a mess of character cameos and completely forgotten development and intrigue but it didn't end up that way.  The writers really found that balance where the story does have a lot of characters but was still heavily all about Captain America’s journey and the conflict between him and Iron Man.  In fact, this part works so well and it really develops their relationship and the level of emotion they were able to bring with the characters really helped consume me in the story.

                                                                                                                          Marvel Studios
So, Marvel has brought back Ross but when will we see his daughter again?

The passion seen by the characters in the story and the strength of their convictions are only enhanced thanks to the great performances, fantastic drama, the great comedy thrown in here and there, and the amazeballs action sequences.  Every Marvel film has proven that they can do action like no other and the action set pieces in Civil War are some of the best the franchise has to offer.  Hell, the big fight scene at the airport that is teased in the trailers was so exciting and so ridiculously fun that I had a hard time not getting up out of my seat and cheering like a mad man.  The Russo brothers really know how to film action and can really make it look great and exciting.  They kicked ass with The Winter Soldier and I've very excited to see what else they bring to Marvel Studios.

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Awww, War Machines are so cute when they're napping.

Finally, one thing this film does exceptionally well is introducing two new characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, two characters who will be getting their own movies soon—I’m talking about Black Panther and the welcoming of Spider-Man to the MCU from Sony.  Their inclusion in the story never felt like a forceful cramming of familiar faces but rather like a natural evolution.  Both were brought in smoothly, both were played excellent by their respective actors and I’m very excited to see both of them get their own movies in the near future.

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I'll just be honest here, Tom Holland is my favorite person to play Spider-Man.

The only complaint I had about Civil War was the inclusion of Helmut Zemo.  While Daniel Brühl does a great job with the performance, the character just didn’t feel like a very strong presence in the story nor did he really feel like that much of a threat.  Granted, it’s obvious that there are big plans for the character in the future and we’ll see Zemo again but, for an introduction, it felt weak.  However, when you nail the intro of Black Panther and Spider-Man, it’s forgivable to miss the third—like Meat Loaf once said, two out of three ain’t bad.

                                                                                                                           Marvel Studios
This film really captured just how badass Black Panther is.

As far as my favorite films in the MCU go, Guardians of the Galaxy ranks as my top with The Winter Soldier and The Avengers coming up next but, after watching Captain America: Civil War, I think I might have a new Number 2 on my favorite list.  The action is exciting, the story is engaging and really captured the spirit of the source material it was based on, comedy and drama are blended perfectly and it does a great job of being its own self-contained story but also setting up stories and concepts that will come into play later down the line in the MCU.  Overall, it’s just another example of a very entertaining and very fun addition to Marvel’s already impressive library!

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