Monday, May 9, 2016

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR REVIEW - "WE USED TO BE FAMILY." [SPOILERS]

*Sigh. If only DC Comics could make movies like this. I recently read that 'Captain America: Civil War' was a direct response to 'Batman v. Superman.' Well, let this DC fan be the first to tell you that Marvel does 'Batman v. Superman' better than DC Comics/Warner Brothers does. It's such a shame. Someone at DC Comics/Warner Brothers Studios needs a different job because they really suck at making superhero films. This problem goes beyond Zack Synder and Henry Cavill--both of whom I firmly believe need to be replaced as well.

In the past I have had issues with Marvel Studio Head Kevin Feige--namely because of his refusal to feature female superheroes in starring roles. But Marvel has changed this stance once DC announced the 'Wonder Woman' film. Feige has publicly committed to making films featuring Captain Marvel and Black Widow. So whatever DC does, it seems Marvel just does it better (with regard to film). DC Comics has the corner market on television. Bless DC Comics' hearts, but Marvel Studios sure knows how to make a good superhero movie and they know how to use their character catalog. Unlike DC, they're not stuck making Batman or Superman films for 40 years. Side note: I would exclude 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' from the "good movie" category.

STAYING TOGETHER IS MORE IMPORTANT
THAN HOW WE STAY TOGETHER.
[Natasha Romanoff.]

Getting to the topic at hand--the great thing about 'Civil War' is that it truly felt like an 'Avengers' film. 'Civil War' was the Avengers film that 'Age of Ultron' should have been. When I reviewed 'Age of Ultron' last year I thought the problem was that there were too many characters to feature. Yet 'Civil War' has even more characters. The difference between 'Civil War' and 'Age of Ultron' is that 'Civil War' features Captain America at its heart and rightfully so. Whereas 'Age of Ultron' was all over the place, 'Civil War' is focused.
YOU'RE A WANTED MAN. 
[Steve Rogers.]
I DON'T DO THAT ANYMORE.
[Bucky Barnes.]
THEY'RE NOT PLANNING ON TAKING YOU ALIVE.
[Steve Rogers.]

The film begins with the origins of the Winter Soldier/Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) who is Captain America/Steve Rogers' (Chris Evans) best friend and fallen comrade in arms. We learn how the mad scientists kept Bucky brainwashed with a flashback scene in 1991. Bucky was tasked with running a car off the road to retrieve a package. We don't know the significance of this act or who he has run off the road, but we can assume it's important.
ARE YOU SAYING THEY'LL COME FOR ME?
[Wanda Maximoff.]
WE WOULD PROTECT YOU.
[Vison.]

As I noted above, 'Civil War' was made in response to 'Batman v. Superman.' However, the storyline is taken directly from the comics. In the comics a young group of superheroes takes on a group of villains they weren't prepared for, which results in the deaths of hundreds of civilians. In the film, the Wanda/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson) accidentally diverts an explosion into a crowded building. This incident (among others) is enough to create an outcry for regulation of the Avengers.
I KNOW WE'RE NOT PERFECT BUT, 
THE SAFEST HANDS ARE STILL OUR OWN.
[Steve Rogers.]

After a grieving mother (Alfre Woodard) accuses Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) of murdering her son, Stark agrees with the rest of the world (117 countries) and signs an accord giving the United Nations power and oversight over the Avengers. Steve is the holdout. It doesn't help matters that Steve's "frienemy" the Winter Soldier is being accused of causing an explosion that kills Wakanda's president and emboldens his son T'Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) to seek revenge. Side note: Chadwick is my friend's first cousin. Small world.
I DIDN'T KILL YOUR FATHER. 
[Bucky Barnes.]
THEN WHY DID YOU RUN?
[T'Challa.]

The world and the Avengers want to bring the Winter Soldier to justice, but Steve knows his friend has been previously brainwashed and suspects he is innocent. This causes a rift between Steve and the Avengers, namely Tony Stark. That's when the fun begins. Tony recruits none other than Peter Parker/Spiderman (Tom Holland) and Steve recruits Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) for some fantastic cameo roles. I was a little disappointed at the idea of yet another Spiderman franchise. Seriously, Peter Parker's origin story has been done to death over the last 10 years, but that's exactly why he works so well in this film. His character needs no introduction.
BUT HE'S MY FRIEND.
[Steve Rogers.]
SO WAS I.
[Tony Stark.]

The film is not without major flaws-- one of which was the lack of a villain. Marvel tends to have this problem. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) was the best villain Marvel has had. Most of the other villains have been mediocre at best. 'Civil War' is no different. The villain of the film is just some disgruntled guy played by Daniel Brühl. There's not much backstory as to how he is able to do the things he does. There's only a vague explanation as to why. This is where the storyline weakens. Perhaps this was intentional, as in the comics there wasn't necessarily a villain responsible for the civil war. I don't know, but the lack of the villain's backstory was noticeable.
WHAT DO WE DO?
[Sam Wilson.]
WE FIGHT.
[Steve Rogers].

Also noticeable was the length of the film. The film felt every inch of 147 minutes (or 2-1/2 hours). There were many unnecessary scenes that could have been cut, bringing the film closer to 2 hours. What the film gets right is the energy and the anger between Tony and Steve--juxtaposed by Steve and Bucky's friendship. There was a moment of banter between Steve and Bucky that was really lovely. I wish there had been more banter, and less everything else.
I'M TRYING TO KEEP YOU FROM
TEARING THE AVENGERS APART.
[Tony Stark.]
YOU DID THAT WHEN YOU SIGNED.
[Steve Rogers.]

I should also note that there is no "passing around" of Black Widow. I think the makers of this film took a few clues from the insane Widow storyline in 'Age of Ultron' and went in the opposite direction. It wasn't difficult to do since the film centers on Captain America. That said, there were a few heavy handed hints that Vision (Paul Bettany) has fallen in love with the Scarlet Witch. That's fine, but don't give the Scarlet Witch a new love interest in each new film. Give us some consistency.
CAN YOU MOVE YOUR SEAT UP?
[Bucky Barnes.]
NO.
[Sam Wilson.]

The film ends in the climatic fight scene between Captain America, the Winter Soldier, and Iron Man, which is nothing short of fantastic. This is a probably my favorite scene in the film. It was well choreographed and well acted. I should also say something about Sebastian Stan, who is perfectly broody as the Winter Soldier. Evans is still terrific as Captain America. It's difficult to play the "good guy." It's so much easier to play a sarcastic oaf or a crude villain. Playing a happy go lucky, nice guy with a perfect smile is more difficult than it seems. Evans really doesn't get the credit he deserves for bringing this character to life.
STAY DOWN...FINAL WARNING. 
[Tony Stark.]
I CAN DO THIS ALL DAY.
[Steve Rogers]

This is not a film that inspires deep thinking, heartfelt talks, or beautiful cinematography, but it's incredibly entertaining and fun to watch. It's a popcorn movie and a darn good one at that. The best thing about this film is that the filmmakers (Anthony and Joe Russo) understand that the audience is not stupid. 'Captain America: Civil War' is just as good, if not better than its predecessors. No easy task, since 'The Winter Soldier' was a great sequel. If only all superhero films were as good as the 'Captain America' films then I'd have nothing to complain about.

FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS. 

32 comments:

  1. DC used to dominate. How quickly that can change.
    Thought this was a great film, and the more I think about it, the more I liked it. Will probably go see it again.
    You're only two degrees from Black Panther - that's cool.
    I didn't mind the weak villain. He was just there to drive the character conflict within the Avengers.
    Now, just wait until the next Avengers when they throw the Guardians in this giant mix of superheroes.

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    1. The way I look at it, without Nolan DC would have faded into obscurity. Thank goodness Christopher Nolan, but then again all DC has done for the last 40 years have been batman or superman franchises. They've had some one and done films with Green Lantern and Catwoman, but that's pretty much it.

      DC doesn't even have the same issue with its tv shows that Marvel does. Marvel has to maintain consistency with both its tv show and its films. DC keeps those separate, which is frankly easier and allows for more creative control. Marvel has had some notorious fights btw the tv franchise and the films.

      So I really don't understand how/why DC can't seem to get its act together. As a DC fan, I've been super disappointed with them.

      Yeah, she invited me out to see his movie '42' a few years ago b/c he was her cousin. I didn't know how he was back then, but he's since carved out quite a career for himself since his film debut. I'm looking forward to seeing him in Black Panther.

      I can't imagine them combining Guardians with the Avengers. That's too much. My head might explode.

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  2. I really had a blast watching this. It did all the things right that DC got wrong. Most impressively, they made a movie with even more characters than BvS feel much less cluttered and confusing. Don't know how they're going to keep that up because, yes, the Guardians of the Galaxy are going to figure into this somehow. Love your tidbit about Chadwick Boseman. And he was great, here. Great review.

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    1. I almost feel bad being a DC fan sometimes. DC gets so much wrong. Geez. Marvel has flaws, but not as deep as DC. Thanks! I loved your review as well!

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  3. This reminded me that I really need to catch up on these movies. I've only seen the first Avengers movie. I do agree that DC is definitely losing the movie battle.

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    1. I thought this film was definitely better than the original Avengers film and a million times better than Age of Ultron. I truly think you can see this film without seeing the others. It is definitely a stand alone film.

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  4. Great review! I loved this film, I didn't think it felt like it was 2 1/2 hours though, it flew by for me. Maybe I was hyping too much. lol

    I'm realizing even more when reading other people's reviews that I liked Age of Ultron way more than everyone else. It's the twins, I'm bias.

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    1. Thanks! Ha ha, I know what you mean. Had the twins had more screentime I would have liked that movie a lot more.

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  5. Again, I LOVE your banners, you're so talented Mariah!

    "If only DC Comics could make movies like this" I know!! I'm more of a DC girl initially as I love the characters of Batman & Superman, but even though Nolan did a stellar job w/ the Dark Knight trilogy, everything just went south for DC. I mean BVS is just a huge mess compared to this.

    Glad you mentioned Evans being terrific as Cap, it's so true it's hard to make the good guy interesting but I think the reason Captain America films have been good is a testament to the direction AND also Evan's performance. I immediately rewatched the first two Cap movies and enjoyed the heck out of them!

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    1. Thanks Ruth! I appreciate that! I feel like I don't do that many reviews anymore so the reviews I do write should be beautiful. If I wrote a review every week I don't think I'd be able to be as artsy.

      I really wish BvS had been better. Batfleck was awesome though. I heard that Ben will be getting more control over the Batman movies so this is a good thing. Ben will only improve DC. Less Synder, more Ben.

      I am rewatching the winter solider. Geez that was a great movie! I'm not as big of a fan of the first Captain America film, but the sequels have been great.

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  6. I heard it's getting great reviews...definitely Team Cap Amer all the way:)

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    1. Yes, it was really fun to watch. A little long, but great great movie. I hope you enjoy it!

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  7. Great review! Captain America: Civil War was a good Captain America movie but a slightly better Avengers movie. The Russos knew how to deal with so many characters and make the storyline interesting throughout. Maybe it's because Daniel Bruhl can do no wrong, but I really liked Zemo and thought he had a lot of layers. Mainly because there's an interesting duality between him and T'challa that mirrors Cap and Iron Man's feud. Overall, it's a pretty awesome movie.

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    1. Also, I totally agree. Chris Evans made Captain America work. He could've easily been an over-the-top character vying for good ol' American patriotism (especially in The First Avenger) but he made Steve well-rounded, lost, and grounded as time went on. He's why Captain America is one of my favorite superheroes. :)

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    2. I like Daniel Bruhl as an actor. He's really quite good. I just wish there had been more of a backstory for his character. I do wish Widow and Scarlet Witch were better utilized. It's like they were asleep in this film.

      All that aside, this was a great movie. I feel like it was as good if not better than Winter Soldier. And I loved Winter Soldier!

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    3. I was concerned that Chris Evans was taking on the Captain America role so soon after his role in Fantastic Four, but he proved me wrong. He's really an underrated actor. He does great work as Captain America. He's miles better than Cavill's Superman.

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  8. We need to check this out soon! Great review.

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    1. Awesome! Thank you for your kind words. I hope you enjoy the film.

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  9. Sn: this is a nice blog/site you have. Sorry it took me so long to come visit.

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    1. I will check out your blog as well. Thanks!

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  10. Great review, and I really liked the comic book strip at the top. I just wish I could agree with you! I seem to be the only person on the planet who doesn't like this movie! :(

    BTW, just found ur blog via twitter, LOVE the blog title! Genius ;P

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    1. Hi there, thank you!! Ha ha, the movie had it's moments, but I could see why someone wouldn't like it. There were definitely flaws throughout the film! I'll be visiting your blog soon. Thank you for your comment!

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  11. I don't know where they go from here. I could do with some solo hero movies for a time because the bar has been definitely raised for these large cast superhero movies. I have high hopes for Suicide Squad even though that is coming out of DC's wheelhouse. Great review. Once again you got it right.

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    1. I totally agree with you. I feel like the Civil War movie has run its course. I really don't want to see ensemble superhero films for a while. I'd prefer a solo Captain America film next time. I am very excited to see Suicide Squad. It's definitely not your typical ensemble. Thank goodness Zack Synder isn't directing.

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  12. I will never understand how DC's comics can be so good, and yet they continue to struggle translating things to the movie realm as successfully as Marvel has

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    1. You and me both! I just don't get it. It's so confusing. I really feel like someone at DC/WB needs to be fired. They do not know how to properly use their own catalog. It's a problem.

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  13. I'm not a big superhero film fan but I know the fans are legion. I've heard mixed reviews about this one, most skewing toward positive. I was even told we were "stupid" for not watching it because it's that good. :)

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    1. Ha ha, it was good, but it wasn't that good. It was a decent film, but it still had major flaws and I can understand why some people didn't like the film. You would be in good company to wait for it to come on dvd/on demand!

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  14. A wonderful film Ms. Mariah and I always love your breakdowns. This movie treated the female characters very well in my opinion. The Vision\Witch romance is inevitable since they were married in the comics (although the actor's age differences will make it pretty creepy). But it was subtle enough that it didn't feel forced or define the character as just Vision's girl-crush. Your point about Chris Evans playing the "good guy" is one I hadn't thought about. Some define characters by how evil they are but he's bold enough to just stand up and be the true hero (although the events in the finale act do call that into question). Another good film. I'm a Superman fan myself so I do hope the movies get better. I have hopes they will and bring the two franchises to the same level of excellence.

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    1. I still feel like there should/could be more character development for the female characters. Captain America's love interest for example could have been played by a lampshade. She really is a pointless character with little to no character development. You never really even understand why there is a romance between them. Agent Peggy Carter was a different story.

      Widow was treated better in this film, but I wish there would have been more backstory about the Scarlet Witch and Vision. Very little information. Perhaps they will expand on that in the future.

      I really do enjoy Evans as Captain America. He brings a lot of charisma to this role and he really makes these movies for me. Without Evans, I don't know if the Captain America movies would have as much of an impact. I'm a huge Superman fan, but Cavill has 0/zilch/nada charisma. That was a big problem in BvS. Overall I did enjoy Bvs. I wish I would have reviewed it, but I probably didn't have time to in March. I'll do a recap on my best/worst list at the end of the year. Batfleck will be on my best list for sure. He was excellent.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I enjoyed it. It was flawed, but still a lot of fun!

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