Friday, May 6

Captain America: Civil War Review

Captain America: Civil War

Directed by: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, William Hurt, Emily VanCamp, and Daniel Brühl

A splash page in comic book terms is a full page, sometimes two page, illustration that is meant to set the mood and grab the reader's attention. These iconic images would often show the hero meeting the villain for the first time or introduce the reader to a new world in a far off planet or alternate dimension. However, none grabbed my attention more than the images of hero verse hero altercations and few were as effectively captivating as Marvel Comics "Civil War" saga that set an entire team of heroes against one another.

The Marvel cinematic universe has crafted an exceptional world were all their superhero characters can coexist with one another if the setting calls for it. While inviting more people to the party has potential to confuse elements, Marvel's world has taken meticulous steps to establish all the characters and their motivations, we know who and what Captain America stands for, we know how Iron Man will respond to conflict; this is one of the primary reasons a film as jam packed with characters and storylines like "Captain America: Civil War" is works so well.

The Avengers have battled hordes of flying aliens and a powerful living automaton. They have prevented the world from coming to an abrupt end numerous times; though in the process have left a trail of damage, destruction, and devastation. After a recent battle to prevent another weapon of mass destruction from getting into the wrong hands, significant collateral damage in Lagos, Nigeria provokes the action of world leaders to put limitations and stipulations on the activities of The Avengers. Steve “Captain America” Rogers (Chris Evans) is conflicted with the decision to comply with these measures while Tony “Ironman” Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is assured that the actions of The Avengers have consequences and they need to held accountable and regulated. This becomes a significant rift within the team, placing allegiances on the side of Captain America and Ironman. Further complicating the situation is Captain America’s old friend Bucky “The Winter Soldier” Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who reappears as the primary target in a deadly explosion.

The superhero film continues to get bigger and bigger, packing more action and more characters into their films in a consistent game of movie one-upmanship. However, Marvel has taken their time, over many years now, establishing these characters. Ironman has three standalone films and Captain America has two, the viewer has an in-depth understanding of the history shared individually and between each of these characters, which is why the subsequent battle brings about as much emotion as it does. It should be stated that for those coming into this film without any prior Marvel character film knowledge may have a difficult time keeping up, however the film does its best to try and explain the events that have led up to this point.

While this film may have a primary emphasis on Captain America this is very much an Avengers film. Most of the team is here, with the exception of Thor and Bruce “The Hulk” Banner, but there are also some new recruits. The Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), the prince and protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, joins the team to capture the wanted Bucky Barnes. In a clever addition directors Anthony and Joe Russo give a refreshing spin to the familiar Spiderman (Tom Holland) story. In every scene the teenage Peter Parker, with a finally recognizable New York accent, adds a youthful comedic charm to cut into the serious tone just when it seems to be taking over. Even the recurring characters have their place in the film; Natasha “Black Widow” Romanoff continues to play a critical role within the team structure of The Avengers, Wanda “Scarlett Witch” Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) have an interesting chemistry, Sam “Falcon” Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Clint “Hawkeye” Barton (Jeremy Renner) have some good moments with Captain America, and Scott “Ant-Man” Lang (Paul Rudd) steals every moment in his small cameo in the film. Again, just reading these last few lines may call out warning signs to some viewers thinking that this many characters all in one film would be a mess, they are all utilized effectively and play their role, big or small, within the film excellently.

We’ve talked about a wealth of heroes, but what about the villain? Here lies the small issue with “Captain America: Civil War”. Talented actor Daniel Brühl plays Zemo, a mysterious terrorist with an equally mysterious motivation. Mr. Brühl is hardly utilized and the villainous plot that he puts into action doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s not hard to question the lack of attention paid to this aspect when the whole reason for this film is to see Team Ironman faceoff against Team Captain America. And once the amazing, jaw-dropping action scene everyone is waiting for happens at an airport, it becomes much harder to pick out the flaws when you just watched a comic book splash page come to life, however once the dust of settles questions arise.

“Captain America: Civil War” is an enjoyable and fun experience even though the film tackles more serious subject mater this time around, you can sense darker days on the rise for the characters in the future. While some narrative points, specifically those concerning the villains, don’t completely connect one action to another in the long run, the superhero franchise at work here has established enough confidence throughout their film journey that they can pull off a showcase this complicated with ease. While “Captain America: Civil War” may not be the best film in the Marvel cinematic universe, it is definitely one of the best ensemble superhero films the studio has put together so far.

Monte’s Rating

4.00 out of 5.00

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