Captain America: Civil War – 4.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

capt america civil warCaptain America: Civil war – 4.5/5 – From the release of the first Iron Man, Marvel has been building up this vast universe for the past few years.  They have provided us with a wealth of diversity through there comic book films.  When it comes to comic book films; they have a niche of sticking to the common elements of progressing with an origin tale, good vs. bad and the ultimate showdown with a triumph like conclusion.  Marvel (for the most part) has gone the route of telling deep stories with these added elements.  With this latest addition to the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), they have created a film that is more than just a traditional blockbuster.  From the amazing action scenes, dramatic tension and the overall character development; Captain America: Civil War goes beyond standard appeal and show how to make a near perfect superhero film.

Premise:  With further collateral damage from the Avengers, political interferences forces new rules upon them.  As a rift is driven through the team; each hero must decide if they will stand with Iron Man or Captain America in the end.

The main superhero cast is perfectly on point.  From all the supporting characters to the main two of Captain America and Iron Man; you see that they have evolved from their initial outings together in the First Avengers.  If you want to see a list of all the characters, you can refer to the IMDb page.  For this film, the main characters are:

Chris Evans as Captain America/Steve Rodgers

Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man/Tony Stark

After all the battles and conflicts, you see that these two men have gone down two different paths.  Chris Evans as Steve Rodgers is nothing less than amazing.  You have watched him evolve through the years, coming to a certain point of how he sees himself as Captain America.  In this film, the complexion of modern society unravels the concrete nature of his ideas and fortitude of life from before.  Having a dire reflection of society, it creates a fragile eye of conviction.  You see a man that wants to do right, but doesn’t know if is in the same form in today’s world.  It is a welcome complexion because it creates a great opposition to the other main character, Iron Man played by Robert Downey Jr.  Since the first iteration of the character, you see him as the embodiment of Tony Stark.  Even for the nature of his brash personality, Downey Jr has brought this character full circle.  You see Tony Stark has gone from the playboy billionaire image to becoming someone more humanized by his intellect.  Trying to help in a good way, the conflicts of his past has drawn out a more methodical like person.  He is one that’s flawed by his ego.  Seeing a different side of Tony Stark, he draws a different attitude of what is ‘right’ for the team.  This provides the opposition that fuels the dynamic with Steve Rogers.  Seeing these two evolve down two separate paths on screen is mesmerizing but daunting.  It is one that’s driven by deeply woven ideals of heroism.  There interaction is enveloped by layers of emotional wealth, thoughtful exposition and colorful banter.  The wittiness of their dialogue sparks human conviction that gets deeply explored through the direction (explained later).  With the supporting cast, they are all amazing in their roles.  From the returning cast like Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to the newcomers Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spiderman (Todd Holland), they add color, purpose and excitement to the world of the MCU.  From their own powers to the human element of their relationships; you see meaning of them to the overarching story.  They move along the main plot while also improving on their own individual stories.  Outside of the superheroes that are involved, the rest of the human cast add further depth to the story.  From the new and returning characters from previous film, they add continuing purpose to the overall narrative.  The one thing that has been the Achilles Heel for most of the Marvel films are the villains.  Even though there isn’t a traditional antagonist; the character used for villainous purposes plays the ‘pulling threads’ motto throughout.  Even when he has a hand in the narrative, there isn’t anything attachable to his character.  This villain has no strong purpose, becoming an obvious plot device.

The Russo Brothers (who were the directors to Captain America: The Winter Soldier) do another masterful job with this film.  Not only do they move the overall MCU plotline forward, they also tackle ideas, action and characters in an organic fashion.  Being a comic book film, there are laden aspects that are standard to storytelling (as explained in the introduction of this review).  Those standards are generally ignored by the Russo Brothers.  What they do is tackle the raw nature of storytelling first then layer it with the comic book elements.  There is an infusion of thematic detail with the stories from the previous films.  In the aftermath of continuous collateral damage, there is a driving force from the United Nations that creates a registration act that all super humans have to follow if they fight for The Avengers.  This is where the ideologies of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers come to head.  As you see the starting point of their conflict, it breaks the barriers of the traditional ‘black/white’ comic book scenario of hero and villain.  Even though there is some sort of ‘villain’ in the background, he doesn’t factor into the overall story of a division between The Avengers.  You watch as the direction characterizes both sides of the aisle.  You have Tony Stark’s motto that the team has to be held in check and needs to come together and sign the accords.  On the other side, you have Steve Rogers who doesn’t believe (because of past events) the group should sign these accords.  He believes they should work freely without restriction.  This dynamic provides depth of multiple threads that ripple from the two leaders of the Avengers to the rest of their allies.  This depth gets even more of a wrinkle when the Winter Soldier joins the foray because of an unforeseen situation.  The rising ‘Civil War’ between the Avengers along with the Captain America/Winter Soldier dynamic creates an infusion of dire conviction.  With ideals of what is right and wrong becoming two different things for both Iron Man and Steve Rogers, the rest of the cast are left to choose which sides to support in this chase after the Winter Soldier.  The division creates a realistic aura of our own humanity; seeing truth in the uncommon nature of the ‘black/white’ cliché.  You see it goes beyond by driving characterization of sparing ideologies.  As this happens, the direction pushes the characters to the edge.  The emotional arch is well rounded because you see that neither side are right or wrong.  As this happens, the film begins to weave through the emotional conflicts and high powered action through the connective thread of dialogue and conversations.  That even flow brings a focal point for the audience.  As the divide begins to reach a boiling point, the ramification begins to create a window of realism into everyone making a hard personal choice.   After the huge action set piece (explained later), the final act begins to bring everything home.  The third act will come off a bit slow, but that personal touch brings the ‘Civil War’ and ‘Captain America/Winter Soldier’ plotlines into one thread.  This leads into one big confrontation.  The audience comes to see how all the divisive moments leads to a conflict that hits at the heart of the Iron Man/Captain America relationship.  The ultimate showdown cliché becomes more as it parallels the human condition of truth, friendship and sacrifice.  This leads to a dire place for the MCU where further ramifications bleeds over to the epilogue.  It all becomes raw, riveting and humanistic.  It ends an era for The Avengers, leading into something bigger down the road.

The visuals are a great blend of realism and suspended disbelief.  With the film being a comic book story, it is one that brings the eye candy of ‘superpowers’ through the lens of authenticity.  Outside of the characters’ superpowers, there is a real intent in grounding the aspects of the locales.  This helps create an emotionally driven aesthetic for the circumstances that happen.  On top of all of this, the action set piece are spellbinding.  They are unpredictable, pulse pounding and a complete adrenaline rush.  What makes the action so riveting is the camera being focused on the characters with an emphasis on the heroes’ powers and destruction.  The action is littered throughout, but it is the airport confrontation that stands out ahead of the pack.  This particular scene is the epitome of how to flow emotion into action.  It brings the over-the-top nature of a comic book film to an ironically believable point.  To me, this is the greatest action scene of all time.  The score is basic in nature, but stays strong throughout most of the running time.  You see the application of the music being positioned to fuel the ‘moments’ that happen.  Most of the time, it is beholden to the background.

Captain America: Civil War is everything that you want in a summer blockbuster and more.  It is film brimmed with action but with smart thematic detail and deeply woven characters.  All around, minus the villainy aspect, this is a near complete film.  If you’re a fan of Marvel, summer films or anything that is spectacular, this is one for you.  This is film worth going to opening night.

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