Thursday, May 12, 2016

Captain America: Civil War Review

Captain America: Civil War
Director: The Russo Brothers
Cast Headliners : Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Sebastian Stan, Daniel Bruhl, many more...
Original Release Date : May 6th, 2016

  Captain America "3": Civil War is a high level of monumental achievement for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the superhero film genre as a whole. Based upon the iconic comic arc Civil War, it has the ever harder job of tying into all of the past entries of the MCU franchise and bringing them to new and exciting places and people. Especially as this one feels like the culmination of most of the core themes and plots to date while also offering most of a new beginning, but as any observer knows its far from the end. But it marks a climax of sorts for two key members of its team, and on the way some mostly incredible stuff happens.
The franchise has become even harder to walk into fresh (though the great spectacle and hero mish mash here will entertain anyone) and this is even truer after its key tie into Avengers 2: Age of Ultron which is nearly a must view before this. The movie picks up with the current Avengers squad of super soldier Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), winged suit wearing Falcon/Sam Wilson(Anthony Mackie), mage Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff(Elizabeth Olsen), and super spy Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff(Scarlett Johansson) on a mission to stop mercenaries led by Cap 2's fearsome armored traitor Crossbones/Brock Rumlow(Frank Grillo, in a menacing but logically too brief appearance). The frenetic action craft of directors Anthony and Joe Russo is quickly evident, with both sweet maneuvers and doses of witty humor. The mission is completed but not without causalities, setting the world over a line which leads to the spiraling down of the titular Civil War showdown.
A great meta real world element of these movies, and others of their like (ahem DC, handeld better here...well the film in mostly every way but that's another conversation) is how the action scenes take a destructive toll on wherever they are. These real world critiques lead to the core central plot and driving themes of this film, which is done great and makes it interesting. After a haunting encounter, armor using staple Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robery Downey Jr) acts on the will of Secretary of State Ross(William Hurt) to enact the Sokovia Accords which will put the Avengers, and all superheroes in the world, under government control. Naturally, this deeply divides the team, at first morally and due to other events violently as well.
The movie, as can be seen, is filled with a mind numbingly amount of characters, a record for any in this genre. Not only does it include everyone seen in the past 2 Avengers crossover films, but even some of those are given more than just cameo appearances and new people are introduced as well. However in the sea of great actors and actresses those that shine do indeed. It's ironic that Robert Downey Jr has previously been the comic relief but here is one of the film's most quality, nuanced and dramatic characters through Tony. Tony stark certainly has some jokes lurking around but its surprising that so much of his past and makeup of his soul are explored. This makes sense with the core “versus” theme, and while he at times seems even..villiarnous from a sense one will feel confliceted who they cheer for. And of course to rival him, the movie is called Captain America for a reason. While it features nearly the whole Marvel universe to date, it very much places the perspective on him and his quest to find Winter Soldier/Bucky(Sebastian Stan) again which is what aids in leading to conflict. Through this all, Chris Evans as Steve Rogers brings his usual greatness, if not a new bar, with his charisma, coolness, and heroic moralness. The exchanges between him and Stark, whether verbal or in fists, are fantastic, and its especially great to see him really reconnect with Stan's turn as Bucky that wasn't seen as much in the first two core Cap films.
The returning cast all has their moments of the Russo's great balanced use of writing and action usage. Situations like the mysterious android Vision(Paul Bettany) getting used to off duty life or Hawkeye(Jeremy Renner) meeting new people on the field of battle cause laughs. War Machine/
Rhodey” (Don Cheadle) and Sharon Carter(Emily VanCamp) and the surprise of Everett Ross(The Hobbit's Martin Freeman)'s more minor turns drive the plot forward. Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow and more all play their solid parts. It never feels like anyone is forgotten even when minor, for humor or coolness, which is great. Immense praise as well to the villain Zemo(Daniel Bruhl), who has slight charisma but heaps of menace and vengeance that places him among-st the MCU's best and most be seen firsthand to see why.
Then there's the utmost newcomers, which is another awesome highlight of the film. Technically he was first the main star in 2015's film of the same name but praise must be given to Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). He carries tons of the films funniest lines, and his action scenes rival and surpass the inventiveness seen in his solo film with some surprising uses of his abilities. Rudd brings his charm and humor to every film he is in, and its great to see him really meet most of these heroes (Falcon aside...) for the first time. Another main character who is almost as core to the plot as Stark/Rogers is Black Panther/T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), a leader and catlike supersuit using warrior from the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Boseman's Black Panther has some awesome new abilities and he brings a suave, menacing, mysterious new presence to this world that has some key parts in this and leaves one extremely excited for more appearances in sequels and his solo film.
The most important newcomer of all, perhaps not in a story sense as he is relatively minor, but in a dream come true (last seen owned by Sony Pictures even when MCU was running) is the new reboot of... Spider-man/Peter Parker(Tom Holland)!!. Parker's role in the plot is surprisingly more than a mere cameo, but less than a key player. But he has some incredible action additions. The best part of him is he fits in so naturally and feels right. Holland brings the best aspects of both Tobey Macguire an Andrew Garfield, being funny and sincere in and out of the costume. It's exciting to finally see him where he belongs , and there is a very bright future for him in more films as wel.
The Russos take on the Marvel universe is very disctinct by new. This movie very much feels like Avengers through a Cap2: Winter Soldier lense. There's the tight frenetic aciton, the drama, the snappy humor. But also in some parts, such as the amazing awesome that is the huge airport battle containing every superhero in the film at once, it is something new for them with its craaaaazyness. Sequences like these make it seem not just like a comic to life but surpass Whedon and make it seem like a special event comic come to life with its scale. While when its amazing, its great, the movie is brought down a bit by the fact that this is not Avengers 1 anymore, this is the 14th installment in the universe and even when its being amazing it can never quite be as fresh. But with future installments and even more additions maybe it can be even more of the same it can potentially be even better.

Overall, due to including nearly every hero and side character to date (sorry Hulk and Thor, see you in 2017) it is very much a Marvel dream come true. Seeing the heroes fight, seeing additions like Black Panther and Spider-man, seeing how well all the drama and humor is balanced. There's even some stuff from the actual comics recreated on screen. But while it is a lot of the same, it is handeld with a near complete great directorial effort by the Russos. It's the end of a long road of building tension and consequences, but also, it provides a strong sign for the rest of their “Phase Three” of films ahead. That's going to be a hard , and anticipated, bar to top. 9.55 out of 10