Captain America: Civil War (2016) Review:
If It Ain't Broke...
It’s the first weekend of May and while that might not actually be the beginning of summer, it is the start of the blockbuster summer season. Coming our way weekend after weekend are movies with big budgets that hope to have even bigger box offices. Question is, for all the money being thrown about, will they be any good? Maybe not, but with school out and the planet getting warmer every year, a mindless movie in a dark air conditioned theatre sounds just fine to me. The hope is that every time you step into that theatre, you get a little more than you bargained for.
That’s pretty much how I’d describe the first of the blockbusters, ‘Captain America: Civil War’. A movie that bounces around a lot of ideas, but the main idea is the most enticing. After the disastrous calamities that have struck the world since the original ‘Iron Man’, the nations of the globe decide they’re kind of tired of their buildings falling and citizens dying because of an Avengers scuffle. To make sure that doesn’t happen, the United Nations develops ‘The Sokovia Accords’, a regulation that would control how and when the Avengers avenge.
On one side you have Captain America, who opposes oversight of any sort. He’s of the view that the freedom to choose when to act is what the Avengers are all about. On the other side, there’s Iron Man, who uncharacteristically (not really) decides the best option is the one that keeps he and his friends under close watch. As the movie develops the other Avengers align themselves under the warring factions and you the viewer make your decision as well, at least that’s the hope anyway.
The conflict in the movie is the best part about it. Rather than clear the whole way through, the right path becomes rather muddy. Because this is a franchise of franchises, the characters have known each other for years, much like a cast of a long running television show. To that end, ‘Civil War’ feels like that one big episode where all the characters have their falling out. It’s the first time since maybe Harry Potter that I’ve seen that sort of ensemble character work matched in a film franchise.
The thing that makes ‘Civil War’ good is how everything works in tandem. The characters drive the action, which drives the plot, which drives the characters. Every moment in the film makes sense because it’s consistent with how this world and these people work. It’s not so much something that’s become expected, but more so a euphoria that occurs when things that happen in a movie happen with a certain…oh right that’s the word, logic.
What I also liked about ‘Civil War’ is it’s unwavering creativity. It has fun with all of these characters existing in the same universe of course, but on a purely technical level this film excites. There’s a great deal of attention to spectacle, in the sense that, you always feel like the best shot was chosen to portray something. Whether it’s a pov shot from Falcon’s drone, or two different shots emphasizing he just how freaking high the building Captain America leaps from (so high guys). It just feels as though the entire film, especially where the action scenes are concerned, went through copious amounts of well thought out choreography.
The very first super-hero film I saw was Sam Raimi’s original Spider-man and since then, Spider-man has always held a special place in my heart. Of course, the character has gone through some rough patches over the years, but I always hoped to see him back in form on the big screen. That’s been done in ‘Civil War’, with Tom Holland. The movie also introduces the Black Panther, with Chadwick Boseman. Although they’re pushed into a movie which has too many characters to count, they’re not shortchanged at all. In fact, Boseman kills in the movie and both he and Holland steal the screen whenever they’re on.
There’s a lot to like in ‘Civil War’, and there’s some stuff to not like as well. The villain is uninspired to say the least and the “overly convoluted to the point where it doesn’t make sense” plan has kind of had it’s day at this point. On top of that, there are moments when the movie drags a bit, mostly because you hear the characters belabor the same points over and over, but if they didn’t I’d complain that they just fought without talking to each other so why is this a problem? Because making the perfect movie is hard.
Overall, I liked this movie. I thought it was a movie that had the enormous task of being the movie that truly puts this universe of characters to the test. It’s remarkable that it feels so well balanced, and yet still truly feels like a Captain America adventure. I don’t know if it’s better than Cap’s last outing ‘The Winter Soldier’, but as far as ratings go, it’s a definite Big Screen Watch.
Rating: Big Screen Watch