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Captain America: Civil War

Posted : 1 year, 1 month ago on 17 May 2016 06:52

This is what the thematic material of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice looks like when it’s injected with, you know, joy, emotional coherence, and narrative thrust. Not that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is without its own problems, there’s the frequent lack of prominent characters of color, female heroes leading the way, and a general sameness in structure for the films. Captain America: Civil War sets to push those boundaries and limitations, while never completely transcending the thick borders mastermind Kevin Feige has placed around the franchise, Civil War emerges as the best work from the studio, and still the most satisfying Avengers film, without actually calling itself Avengers.

 

Let’s start with the major trapping of Civil War, and all of superhero cinema really, which is its dependence on mass collateral damage. The plot machinations of Civil War depend on exploring and questioning the constant destruction of property and untold civilian causalities as a result, then breaking away from these lip-serviced thoughts to demonstrate more technical wizardry in mass destruction and rubbery bodies thrashing into each other.

 

While this persistently undermines the general dramatic tension and narrative thrust, Civil War is still continually engaging. The great thing about the Captain America films is that they simply have to preserve him from movie to movie to ensure that he’ll be around for the next Avengers film, and they’re frequently free from the painted corners of, say, Iron Man 2 or Thor: The Dark World which shoved too much extraneous narrative threads from other sub-franchises. Civil War is a meeting of them all, with Cap leading the way, as it should be.

 

What’s shocking is how smartly and effectively this film introduces our third go around of Spider-Man, the first one to appear like a believable high schooler and successfully translate the lovable smartass from the comics to the big screen, and our introduction to Black Panther, which just had me ready and waiting for his 2018 solo film. These two slip into the established narratives with ease, providing unique voices and much-needed levity to some of the darker twists and turns.

 

I know that Joss Whedon was proclaimed the savior of superhero cinema with Avengers, but the most successful writer(s)-director(s) for the MCU has been the Russos. They find a way to marry humor, heart, thrills, spectacle, and quiet moments of character development into compelling popcorn entertainments. The Winter Soldier was one of the best comic book movies, and Civil War takes that platform and builds something bigger and better off of it.

 

The long list of names, faces, powers, and locations can be overwhelming for the uninitiated, but the Russos find a way to make decades of material into digestible chunks. They manage to make the obligatory beats into thrilling moments. Look, we all knew that another Spider-Man could be met with groans and eye-rolls, but Tom Hollander’s gee-whiz approach to the role, complete with a never-ending series of snarky comments, makes him a rooting interest.

 

Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther practically steals the movie from all of the long-running establishment, finding the grace and regality in the role. Hopefully his movie star charisma will lead to a career rivaling the likes of Denzel Washington. Thought was put into how to utilize these characters, and while some still get the short-end (Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch deserve more to do), they still manage to get brief moments to shine.

 

What smacks you in the face about Civil War is how closely it follows many of the same beats and themes of DC’s Batman vs Superman, but how it contrasts what that film did poorly. My god, imagine it, a film bringing together the titans of a comic publisher’s body of work, and finding the fun in it! Imagine that! And I didn’t even hate Batman vs Superman, so imagine how those that did must feel watching this film.

 

Marvel still has a long way to go in catching up with DC’s representation of minority characters (check the line-up of Suicide Squad, and the makeover of Aquaman) and female-led vehicles (next year will finally see Wonder Woman getting a solo film after decades of development hell), but Marvel’s ability to coherently tell a story that isn’t lackluster in live-action is unrivaled by its major competitor.

 

Now, if only Marvel could do something to make Thor’s solo films as interesting as the source material…. 



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Captain America: Civil War review

Posted : 1 year, 1 month ago on 3 May 2016 08:40

So I ended up seeing this for a special screening at a local theater that wasn't mine. I'm a huge fan of comic films specifically the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I ended up tagging along unexpectedly with some friends from work. It was even more worth it than I expected. I would even go so far as to saying this is probably either my favorite or at least tied with Guardians of the Galaxy. The Russo brothers really know what they are doing here. They actually have an understanding of the source material. They keep things interesting and only two movies in and you know you can trust them with everything. The writers here know what they are doing as well. They have done all the Captain America films as well as Thor: The Dark World. I feel the only film they didn't quite grasp me with was their second trip to Narnia with Prince Caspian. This is the kind of storytelling that Batman V Superman should have tried to do. They did just fine here with having all these main/side characters and still managing to make it all interesting rather than a jumbled fiasco. Just to throw it in I'm team Iron Man. I honestly say of the two he is my favorite. I also feel like he tends to show more range of emotions. The fight scenes are constant, brutal, and keep you at the edge of your seat. I swear some of the punches thrown just make you want to wince. The MCU veterans keep strong here as expected. Some people are missed, but the new additions make for worthy entries. Chadwick Boseman was excellent as Black Panther. If I didn't know any better I would think he wasn't even really American. Tom Holland was probably my favorite Spider-Man so far. He had the jokes. He had the courage. I'm interested to see how his solo film will be. I would have like a tad bit more of Paul Rudd as Ant-Man. What we did get was pretty great though. Specifically him turning into Giant Man! I wish we had gotten more Hawkeye as well. I'm a sucker for bows and arrows. This is typically my weapon of choice if I have the option in video games. I feel Alfre Woodard and Martin Freeman were high talents for such tiny roles. I actually quite enjoyed the route they went with their villain here. I would say technically Zemo came as a secondary antagonist, while Iron Man was the main antagonist due to the storytelling perspective. It was a very unique way of doing things. This had some good comedy albeit it being a darker tone of story. I liked the little hints of true comic knowledge throughout. If you are a comics fan you will catch what I'm talking about. The ending was quite good and leaves you of course longing for more. Make sure to stay until the very end as there are two credits scenes for this one. I couldn't believe this was the longest of the series so far and yet still felt short. It's definitely a must see!


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Captain America: Civil War review

Posted : 1 year, 1 month ago on 1 May 2016 08:15

"Sorry, Tony. You know I wouldn't do this if I had any another choice. But he's my friend."
"So was I."


Now this is how you do a super heroes fighting each other movie convincingly! After The Winter Soldier surprising me so much with how good it was, i was really looking forward to The Russo Brothers' next movie, and they did not disappoint. This movie was just not stop action and tension. Unlike Dawn of Justice which never felt like it was gonna end, this was over way too quickly. The movie is over two and a half hours, but it felt like maybe and hour and a half. I was surprised when it started to end because i was sure there was at least 30 or so minutes left. While the action did get a little too choppy at times, it was still some of the best action sequences of the Marvel movies so far. Especially the airport scene. I want to go back just so i can watch that again.

The cast were also all great. The returning cast is as good as always. Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. have great chemistry together and you really believe it when they start to fight. But it's the new cast i really want to talk about. First of all, Chadwick Boseman was fantastic as Black Panther. He had some of the best fight scenes in this thing and i can't wait for his own movie now. But honestly, the one that completely stole the movie was by far was Tom Holland as Spider-man.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he is the greatest live action interpretation of Spider-man so far. He was a far more charming and funny Peter Parker / Spider-man in his small part here than both Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield has been combined in the five total movies. He absolutely nailed both parts of the character, and best of all, he is actually a teenager and not a man pushing 30 pretending to be one. That has always bothered me with the other movies. His stand alone Spider-man movie just became not just one of my most anticipated super hero movies now, but one of my most anticipated movies overall based on his performance here alone. Spider-man was always my favorite super hero growing up so it's just really great to finally see such a perfect live action version of him now. But as much as a want to keep talking about him, let's move on.

The villain of the movie on the other hand, was not very good. I know the main conflict of the movie is supposed to be Captain America vs Iron Man, but they could have given the main bad guy a little bit more to do at least. Daniel Brühl is a fantastic actor and he is barely used here. Same goes for Martin Freeman. I assume he is gonna be back for future movies though, because his role could have literally been played by anyone. I think he has like two or three scenes and he does barely anything in them. So that was disappointing.

But honestly, i can't really think of anything else to complain about. The story was not great or anything, but the reason for Captain American and Iron Man fighting each other sure made a hell of a lot more sense than the reason Batman and Superman fought each other in Dawn of Justice. The resolution was also way better here. Now we just have to wait until 2018 for the Russo Brothers' next movie Avengers: Infinity War - Part I. I need a time machine.


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A good movie

Posted : 1 year, 1 month ago on 1 May 2016 08:20

Well, even though it might sound surprising but, in fact, I actually preferred 'Batman v Superman'. Not that it was perfect, in the contrary, but I thought it worked better than this super-clash from Marvel. I mean, sure, this movie was very entertaining, actually technically better than 'Batman v Superman', with a least a dozen of awesome super-heros and, yet, it didn't completely win me over. The main issue I had is that the story was actually rather weak in my opinion. For example, let's take this so-called 'war'. In fact, at the end of the day, it was just about Iron Man and Captain America having an argument about some company policy, not much more than that. To call it a 'civil war' was a huge stretch and the supposedly huge showdown never really took place in my opinion. At some point, you had this huge fight between 2 sets of Avengers and it was indeed pretty neat but you knew all the time that they were not there to really fight each other, that nothing really huge was at stake, and, even the characters were fully aware of this as they keep cracking some jokes throughout the whole thing. Then, the villain was also disappointing. I mean, it was nice that, for once, they didn't bring someone who wanted to destroy the Earth but the guy and his scheme was just so underwhelming. Finally, I think they have to stop to bring all these characters together. It worked only once with 'The Avengers' but, now, it is getting rather tiresome to see all these heroes as they end having nothing much to do. I think they should make their movies smaller, focusing on 1 or 2 characters and leave the rest alone. Anyway, to conclude, in spite of its flaws, I have to admit it, it was still quite entertaining and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you like the genre. 


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