Captain America: Civil War Review

2016 is an interesting year for comic book movies isn’t it?  We have been graced with a perfect adaptation of Deadpool, a complete misfire in the form of Batman v Superman, and now, the best Marvel movie since The Avengers; Captain America: Civil War.  This far into the comic-book movie boom, writers, directors, and producers need to think outside of the box and exercise creativity more than ever because we have seen so many comic book movies.  We know the modern: characters, tropes, plots, and formulas (which are commonplace among these films) so well, that if a superhero movie relies on them too much (Ant-Man for example), it will feel standard.  However, if Marvel has proven anything, it is that they are always planning, and always evolving their storylines and characters in their cinematic universe.

Captain America: Civil War is directed by Anthony/Joe Russo and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.  Stars-Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, and Tom Holland.  Premise-After an accident during a mission which killed innocent people, governments around the word are requiring the Avengers to cease their restrictionless efforts and submit to following orders from these governments.  Steve Rogers and Tony Stark disagree on what they should do, and the result is a conflict between the team.

No one can look at me with a “Really?” face when I tell them that Captain America is my favorite Avenger anymore, because it is his trilogy which has the second-best (or the best) Marvel movie of all time!  The only things about it that I find the slightest bit subpar, are Downey Jr./Jeremy Renner’s performances (which are more over-the-top than they needed to be) and the Russo’s shaky cam.  Also, Vision doesn’t do much in the movie.  Despite the fact that he is one of the most powerful members of the team, it felt like they didn’t have him involved because he could just end the fight with his mind powers.

I honestly can’t decide what I like most about this movie because everything is outstandingly top-notch!  The humor always delivers, the writers know what jokes to give which actors and the actors always deliver.  The action scenes, while shakily shot, are a marvel to watch because of how fast-paced and intense they are.  The plot is: unpredictable, intriguing, creative, smart, and new.  The performances are respectable, never too serious and never too goofy (with a few exceptions).

I have thought long and hard about saying this, but I really believed that this is the best comic book movie screenplay of all time, or at least in the Top 3.  The debate between Stark and Rogers is completely believable because they present the pros and cons of each opinion.  I love the arguments between these two characters!  Not only are they intelligent conversations, but they are also thought-provoking and timely.  The social commentary in this movie isn’t as profound/blatant in Zootopia or Barbershop 3, but the commentary doesn’t need to be.  The filmmakers know that this is a Marvel comic book film (not meant to be taken that seriously), but they take advantage of what they have.  The contrast between Stark’s blinding ego and Rogers’ overwhelming patriotism makes their arguments much more human and it adds so much tension to the already thrilling story.

There are also a few new (but familiar) characters added to the movie which, after Age of Ultron, you’d expect would make the film feel crowded, but they write these characters in seamlessly.  No one gets more screentime than necessary, and yet I wanted to see much more of them (that is how you properly make people excited for a sequel, DC).  You know by now that Spider-Man is in this movie (thanks trailer), so I might as well mention that they could not have done his character any more perfectly.  They casted Tom Holland to play him and my gosh this kid hits every mark.  He’s likeably awkward as Peter Parker and captures the wise-cracking web slinger, Spider-Man with ease.  Let’s just say that I am hyped as keck to see his future movies!

Speaking of incredibly well-executed things, the battle between the Avengers is perfect!  I have not felt a nerdgasm this intense since the tracking shot in The Avengers!  This battle is filled with hilarious jokes and one-liners, the action and fight choreography are incredibly impressive, and the way the fight wraps up is not the way you’d expect.  This fight sequence is worth the price of admission and is also one of the best moments of 2016 by far.

I haven’t even talked about the best character in the movie yet (no, not Spider-Man, although he is second best)!  That honor goes to the villain.  Since the trailers didn’t reveal much about him it’s going to be difficult to explain why he’s the best Marvel villain of all time.  Yes, even better than the Winter Soldier and Loki.  The villain in Civil War has a plan which at face value looks just like any other typical villain plan, but he takes it 20 steps further.  He’s played by Daniel Brühl who’s devotion and anger is always present onscreen.  His motivation for what he does is not power, or money, or just because he’s evil (we’ve seen those tropes in every Marvel villain); his reason is surprisingly relatable, and because of that, I genuinely felt sorry for him.

The climax of the movie is not a giant mega battle, instead they go for something more subtle.  Don’t worry, you will not be disappointed, because the lead into the final confrontation is handled so well.  If you think about it, if they did have another mega battle as the climax, it would have lost most of its effect because we already got the ultimate battle with the Avengers 10 minutes earlier.  These writers need to be given much more credit.

The best kinds of movies are the ones that, in addition to succeeding in what they were supposed to do, successfully and respectfully add something to society, advance or add to the industry, or subtly teach morals.   For example, I love a dumb 80’s or 90’s action movie every now and then, but if you gave me a choice between something like Commando, or something like Terminator 2: Judgement Day, I’d go with the latter.  Both of those options are entertaining action movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Judgment Day revolutionized the industry with new effects, smart writing, and emotional characters.  Here’s a question for you; which one of those films is regarded as a classic/ talked about more?  Captain America: Civil War is both an entertaining comic book movie, but through clever writing, it became so much more.  As far as I’m concerned, this movie is only matched by The Avengers as the best Marvel movie of all time.  Captain America: Civil War gets Guy’s Guru Grade of an A+.

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