Special Guest Review by our very own cynical, jaded, film buff…..”D-Lo”
If you don’t know the basic premise of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, you might be on the wrong website. However, here’s a quick rundown. After the events of the previous Marvel films the United Nations have proposed the Sokovia Accords in order to keep The Avengers in check. The Accords essentially give the U.N. power over where The Avengers will be sent and what their involvement will be in the world. The Avengers are split down the middle believing that “the best hands are still their own” with Captain America and Iron Man each leading their own team. I’m also not going to compare the comic books to a film. I’ve long held the belief that comparing books of any kind to film is pointless. Most books have hundreds of pages, while a screenplay has roughly 120-160. Even the visual style of graphic novels doesn’t translate to a film properly. Film is film. Books are books. Don’t discount the abilities of one medium by comparing it to another. With that out of the way, allow me to save you some time. CA:Civil War is a great summer blockbuster. If you have any love towards the superhero genre or Marvel films, you will be satisfied. If not, I don’t know what else you’re looking for. There, you can stop reading. However, if you’re interested in reading my opinion about how they accomplished this feat, read on! THE GOOD As other superhero films have shown us, it’s incredibly difficult to balance a large cast. Many people had their doubts about this film based on that fact alone. Fear not, the Russo brothers do an amazing job of balancing out screen time and making the involvement of each character essential. Obviously Captain America and Iron Man have the most screen time but that’s natural given their leadership roles. It’s also important to keep in mind that this IS a Captain America movie, NOT an Avengers film. His storyline is the driving focus of this film, and his relationship with Bucky and Iron Man are key in both conflicts presented in the film. That’s especially evident in the fantastic climax of the film which eschews normal superhero fair and opts for a much smaller battle but with bigger implications and ramifications for the MCU. For the most part, they follow Cap’s mindset through this story and allow the audience to make their own choice, regardless of who’s name is in the title. This is HUGE. If you can take a popcorn action movie and challenge the audience to make a choice, then that’s filmmaking at it’s best. Yes, I know it’s a superhero movie. Yes, I know this isn’t Sophie’s Choice. Still though, presenting an argument from both sides and making the audience decide is something I admire in filmmaking and I was so glad that the Russo brothers didn’t shy away from creating a clear divide. Good on them for trying to say something while not sacrificing the entertainment value of a giant superhero blockbuster. All the characters stay true to their traits and provide fantastic ideology or points of view when discussing the conflict at hand. However, Spider-man and Black Panther steal this film. Holland and Boseman took a small amount of screen time, managed to flesh out those characters and inject them into the MCU flawlessly. That’s no easy task considering the amount of screen time dedicated in the past 12 films to their cast mates. More importantly, their inclusions didn’t feel like an advertisement for their solo adventures. Holland’s Peter Parker is a wonderful blend of excitable teenager/inexperienced superhero. It was a great way to introduce this major player into the MCU. Boseman’s T’Challa is the first time this character has been onscreen and I think the Black Panther fans of the world have to pretty pleased with how much he’s done with the character so far. With a complete character arc he’s able to establish Black Panther as both a physical and mental equal to both Captain America and Iron Man. For inexperienced viewers that have no previous knowledge of T’Challa this was a difficult task but I believe they accomplish that and much more. THE BAD Honestly, there’s not much to complain about here. Superhero films come with a certain level of disbelief so you can’t start griping about things as long as they stay true to the world they’ve created. One of my biggest complaints about other superhero films is that they largely ignore the rules they setup in previous films or the current film itself. Marvel films have always done a good job of taking care of the classic geek issues such as “Why doesn’t he just do THIS”? or “Why wouldn’t he used his powers to counteract blah blah blah”. There was no moment in this film that I thought to myself “They’re completely ignoring the fact that Quicksilver is essentially a God and could’ve stopped that bullet without any effort whatsoever”. Thank you, Russo brothers for not treating us like idiots. My one complaint is possibly the pacing. It’s a long film at 2 1/2 hours and it feels like it. I know it’s difficult to cram all this into one film and I understand that films need to breath but I won’t lie to you and say it flew by. THE VERDICT Come on, guys. I already said it. It’s a great summer blockbuster and it deserves all the love it’s getting. I could’ve wrote another 4,000 words but I did my best to avoid spoilers of any kind since it’s the first weekend. Now go out, buy a ticket, get some popcorn and enjoy the show.