Monday, May 9, 2016

Movie Review #421: "Captain America: Civil War" (2016)

Movie"Captain America: Civil War"
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 26 minutes
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As the Avengers perform their duties worldwide, collateral damage caused by their actions continues to increase. It has reached a point where Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) no longer believes the Avengers can operate without oversight of some kind. A United Nations coalition headed by Secretary of State Ross (William Hurt) is constructed to enforce that oversight. However, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) believes a committee like this could prevent the Avengers from performing their duties properly and could be corrupted like S.H.I.E.L.D. This leads to a conflict between Rogers and Stark that could tear the Avengers apart from the inside.


Directed by the Russo Brothers, "Captain America: Civil War" is the 13th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Some might think that after 13 films, the franchise is losing steam and running out of ideas. Those people would be wrong. Somehow, Marvel Studios keeps churning out movies with compelling stories and interesting new characters. "Captain America: Civil War" is just the latest example of their overall success.

This installment puts the two most prominent figures in the MCU film series, Captain America/Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, and Iron Man/Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., against each other. They come to an impasse regarding the way they believe the Avengers should be run. Iron Man thinks they need to be put in check and must have someone to answer to, whereas Captain America believes the Avengers are the ones who should be making all of the calls regarding when and when not to act. Cap. believes having a third party calling the shots would be bad because those individuals could also be too influenced by personal agendas and politics. This struggle over who should control the Avengers comes to a head in an epic battle between the two as the other members of the team are forced to choose sides. Half of the Avengers support Tony's idea and the other half support Steve's line of thinking. Existing characters such as Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson, Vision played by Paul Bettany, War Machine played by Don Cheadle, Falcon played by Anthony Mackie, Hawkeye played by Jeremy Renner, Scarlet Witch played by Elizabeth Olsen, The Winter Soldier played by Sebastian Stan, and Ant-Man played by Paul Rudd, are essentially torn apart in one fell swoop, as are their "leaders." The aggression mounts and mounts until it spills over into one badass action fight scene where everyone's powers and personalities are put on full display for the audiences to marvel at.........................get it???

Two brand new Marvel characters are also introduced to the franchise, including the very popular, very anticipated Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, and Black Panther, played by Chadwick Boseman. Both these characters are welcome editions, and we must say, it is extremely cool to see Spider-Man in a film alongside the Avengers. We thought it might never happen, but the day is here. Both newcomers perform their parts wonderfully and fit right in amongst the veteran Avengers. Holland, in just a few short minutes, has solidified our faith in him where his stand-alone Spidey film is concerned. Much younger than past incarnations of Spider-Man, many were skeptical of newcomer Holland, and boy, were they and we wrong. Holland bring a fresh and snarky but nervous geekiness to Peter Parker. Never judge a book, man! We have been huge fans of Chadwick Boseman in his past movies, from "42" and "Get On Up." We have always known him to be a good actor, but his performance as Black Panther is really something else. We get a bit of a back story into why his character is the way he is and why he does the things he does. His abilities, and his fly suit featuring some killer claws, are showcased just right. Again, another stand-alone film we cannot wait for. It seems as if "Civil War" gives us some hints as far as what to expect from both of these individuals movies.

One might think with this many characters, the movie might feel bloated or unfocused. To us, we do not feel this way at all. Filmmakers Anthony and Joe Russo do a great job keeping the movie honed in on its narrative, pushing the story forward exactly where it needs to without a lot of unnecessary detours. Even the new characters, as we mentioned, receive a good amount of development, and we never once felt bored or disinterested in them or anything else. The action sequences are both expertly shot and expertly choreographed. We never felt like were watching a movie, but rather, it's as if the things happening on screen could actually happen somewhere, someway, somehow. There are tons of exciting sequences mixed in with a lot of engaging human drama, some appropriate laughs, and a couple of standout performances. You'd think we'd be tired of Robert Downey Jr., but we're not. Downey finds ways to keep his character developing every chance he gets. We thought we were clearly Team Captain America going into it, but "Civil War" will keep you switching sides until the very end credit roll. The Russo brothers have brought a wonderful balance to darker subject matter while keeping it fun, enthralling, and entertaining. The first thing we said to each other when this movie was over was: "this is what we wanted for "Batman v. Superman," a well-rounded movie you can both get invested in and be constantly surprised by, something that doesn't feel like a drag to get through, and something with outstanding special effects, good dialogue, and great characters. If that makes us Marvel nut-huggers, we're fully prepared to open wide at this point. Do yourself a favor and watch this on the big screen, it's well worth your money.

My Rating: 9.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 9.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~8.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~90%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!
One year ago, we were watching: "Hector and the Search for Happiness"

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