Release Date: May 06, 2016
Director: Anthony and Joe Russo (The Russo Brothers)
Writer: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Mark Millar (comic book)
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Paul Rudd, Marisa Tomei, Jeremy Renner, Emily VanCamp, Paul Bettany, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chadwick Boseman, Frank Grillo, Stan Lee, Martin Freeman, Leslie Bibb, Daniel Bruhl, Don Cheadle, Anthony Mackie, William Hurt, Heidi Moneymaker, Jane Wu, Jonathan Buckhouse, Stacee Myers, Surely Alvelo, Ray Sahetpay, Gene Farber, Florence Kasumba, Dirk Ellis, Amelia Morck, Rafael Banasik
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 146 minutes
Production Company: Marvel Entertainment, Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Budget: $220,000,000+ million (estimated)
For Marvel Studios/Disney to be on their thirteenth film, you’d think superhero fatigue would start to consume the market. Whether it’s with box office receipts, or on screen with repetitive story-telling, a dip in success might have seemed inevitable. Fortunately, this isn’t the case with their latest film, and it appears they’re just scratching the surface with creativity and character arcs. Civil War is in so many ways a dream come true for comic book fans, and contains so much non-stop pulsating action that it will convert an average movie goer into a die-hard fan. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo were able to craft together a masterpiece that nearly hits every necessary beat; which is more than satisfying, yet still leaves you hungry for more. What’s also great is not knowing how the story will unfold, yet another reason you need to see this film!
Despite the title of the film being Captain America, with such a large cast, it’s safe to say it seemed like it would be Avengers 2.5. Not that I would have a problem with that, but looks can be deceiving. It’s exactly what it needs to be as a solo Captain America film, given it’s a direct sequel to both Age of Ultron and Winter Soldier simultaneously. To get one negative aspect of the film out of the way, the story in Winter Soldier is slightly superior to Civil War, but only by a few hairs. Winter Soldier’s story was pure perfection but had a few hiccups in regards to the action in my opinion. Civil War picks up that slack, with the action blowing the action in Winter Soldier or any other film out of the water, but it takes a step back in regards to explaining why the characters are all there. None of the characters seemed shoe horned in, in the slightest, whereas Winter Soldier had less bumps along the way to get the point across.
Winter Soldier had some great action, but Civil War makes its predecessor look like child’s play. Not only does Civil War contain the best action in any comic book film ever created, it arguably has some of the best action in any movie period. This isn’t over-hyping the action in the least bit, and I may not be raving enough. The airport scene alone, that’s been previewed in trailers, with the heroes colliding, makes me so happy I could cry. It’s over fifteen minutes of pure excellence, with multiple heroes duking it out with high stakes. There’s plot within the action (they’re not just punching each other for the hell of it), and it has such a great emotional foundation that you’re torn on which side to root for. During this epic showdown, the Russo Brothers were able to cohesively add balance with comedic elements in the middle. They took the time to map out every character’s strengths and weaknesses to put together art that is beyond what you could imagine. Being shocked is an understatement, and I’m getting more excited thinking about it as I write. This is only one scene where this gravitas action is displayed, and even more is seeded in throughout the film, and is done so in spectacular fashion. The action also has scale with every character having their moment to shine. As a fan you get to see every single character’s special moves inside a well-choreographed splash page. Every character gives it there all. Every character surprised me. Every character fights everyone, which is a shock given some are extremely more powerful than others. Yet the filmmakers found a way to tie it all together without it being exhausting.
The two standout characters that steal the show are Peter Parker/Spiderman (Tom Holland) and T’Challa Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). It’s so hard to determine which one was better, but it doesn’t really matter. For it not being their own film, they both had an extremely strong presence and exceeded my expectations, which were already through the roof. For only having two scenes, I can honestly say this is the best adaptation of Spiderman that’s ever been on the big screen. I mean that with all my heart, especially since he’s my favorite comic book character of all time (besides Batman). He encompassed everything about the character that I know and love. Spiderman is intelligent, witty, resourceful, super strong, and has agility that’s out of this world. I couldn’t be happier. Black Panther is not too far behind. I never thought I would get to see Black Panther on the big screen, and Marvel has knocked this one out of the park. As soon as he touches down he’s ready to beat some serious ass, and has every valid reason imaginable to do so. Chadwick Boseman African accent is a nice treat as well. Then that suit of his is, “oh my goodness bonkers amazing!” All I can say is thank you Marvel, thank you!
But those two aren’t why we’re here. It’s either Team Captain America or Team Ironman, and the film does an excellent job of making you feel for both sides. Steve Rogers/Captain America’s (Chris Evans) viewpoint is coming from being in the trenches many years ago, and Tony Stark/Ironman (Robert Downey Jr.) is literally responsible for people dying due to what he has done with weaponry. It’s crazy because from what you know from the other films, and what happens throughout this story, they’re both right. While it sounds exciting initially, souped-up enhanced individuals running around the world unregistered and unchecked can be a little frightening, especially if those super powered folks don’t take responsibility for collateral damage. So there’s a valid reason for a dispute and getting the world governments involved, and this serves as the main story arc of the film. It’s done quite well. So you’re not just watching visual noise with heroes bantering back in forth. It actually has a real world setting to it. The ride from beginning to end may not be as smooth as you’d like, but it’s hard to create perfection.
And it really is hard to create perfection, because the film isn’t perfect. While all the heroes are great, and the action is mind blowing, one character in particular didn’t shine as bright as the others; the villain of the film working behind the scenes. I won’t mention him by name due to possible spoilers. Though the reasoning behind his actions wasn’t weak, the presentation wasn’t the best and leaves me asking more questions than I should. Imagine a huge Thanksgiving dinner with every dish you love, but instead of it being served on a nice big table, someone dumps it all together in a white grocery bag. Sure it will still taste the same, but the presentation and desire to consume the meal is lacking. While the villain’s involvement is a nice bonus, in the end it’s a bit unnecessary, seeing as our heroes were already heading down that direction. It wasn’t necessary for him to have a strong dark presence, because that’s not what the film is about. It’s a conflict between heroes, and that’s enough antagonism by itself. While this villain provided an additional reason for the heroes to collide, the way the information is presented has me going, “Really?” I just don’t see how it works, and it is a lazy way to get the heroes to their location for the final battle. The battle is excellence, but I don’t see why it had to be in a certain area.
There’s a difference between what’s best as far as quality and what someone’s favorite is, or what they find more entertaining. As far as quality is concerned, Civil War isn’t the best in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) as far as story and a villain (but sure is extremely close), but it is by far my most favorite and the most entertaining film in the MCU. Civil War is fifty times more ambitious than any other MCU film. It juggled multiple characters while having to create conflict that makes logical sense. It passes with flying colors. So while Winter Soldier had an overall better story, Civil War is LIGHT YEARS beyond Winter Soldier or anything I’ve ever witnessed with action.