[Movie Review] Captain America: Civil War

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Welcome to Marvel Phase Three.

Another Free Comic Book Day, another Marvel Movie.

I have to ask: Just what the whiskey tango foxtrot happened to Age of Ultron while Civil War is amaze balls.

Don’t get me wrong, Age of Ultron had it’s moments, like the farmhouse which I personally loved because sometimes you need the heroes to rally and lick their wounds. Less, cave of exposition and more farmhouse.

The last Captain America movie threw the MCU sideways with a simple phrase: “Hail Hydra.”

Does Civil War do that, too?

Nope. It doesn’t repeat itself which is what makes the MCU constant changes a welcome change. Just like the Avengers ranks, members come and go. This has its ups and downs since many of us are impatiently waiting for a Captain Marvel to arrive or at least a Black Widow solo movie with maybe Mystique thrown in there just because. Hey, let’s be honest, Black Widow and Mystique pulling a Thelma and Louise road-trip sounds awesome right now.

Instead, it expands to include so many heroes that I was worried it would turn into Ultron or Iron Man 2 since we had so many heroes in that only to add more like the Romanoff twins.

No, instead the world has had enough of the Avengers shenanigans. It begins with Tony Stark, once again played by Robert Downey, Jr. coming face to face with fallout from Ultron. Not only did he create a murder bot but failed to save a lot of people in Sokovia. I slightly surprised the death toll of each of the disaster porn areas was as low as it was. Oddly, no mention of the town Loki via The Destroyer from Thor 1 blew up either.

This was a Marvel Event crossover in movie form done right. Many reviewers are saying Superman VS. Batman got it wrong and I tend to agree. Condensed story telling can be bad thing. I’ve found this with many of the DC Animated movies, it just doesn’t let it itself breath. Civil War let’s itself breath at a runtime of two hours and half.

It let’s itself breath by bringing Peter Parker played by Tom Holland into this MCU since the other MCU is owned by Sony and Twentieth Century Fox. We can thank two meh Spider-Man movies for Sony letting Spidey play with the other children. He’s been kept out of the trailers and ads as much as possible and it’s understandable why the airport sequence, a giant set piece which is just full rock’em sock’em is probably the best fight sequence in the movie.

The fights and stakes are high but it’s not a: we have to save the world! Or someone is holding people hostage! Or the invasion must be stopped! Wait, we’ve done that one already, haven’t we? Repetition happens a lot in comic books and thankfully, Civil War does something different which is why more than a few reviewers have said Baron Zemo played by Daniel Brühl seemed very small in comparison to Loki or any of the other one-note villains.

Instead, Zemo cuts the blue wire instead of the red wire on the ticking time bomb that is the Avengers and they’re torn down from the inside like Ultron tried to do but failed because of compressed storytelling and not allowing the movie to breath and/or figure out why for some reason the Hydra Base was never cleaned up after the Avengers showed up in Sokovia.

The Winter Soldier, once again played by Sebastian Stan is blamed for a bombing he didn’t commit and is hunted down by everyone including new comer T’Challa aka The Black Panther played by Chadwick Boseman. It should be noted T’Challa or Parker don’t get an origin story per se, the writers and directors just throw them in, give them arcs and it works wonderfully.

Because, let’s be honest: We really don’t need to see Bruce Wayne’s parents killed…again.

With so many Avengers rotating around there are bound to be some people out of the spotlight, James Rhodes aka War Machine played by Don Cheadle gets the worst of it and oddly enough the brunt of it because in world of flying metal men and gods, his plot feels grounded unlike the rest of the movie.

New Avengers Scarlet Witch played by Elizabeth Olsen and Vision played by Paul Bettany are a bright spot in the movie. Both of them on different sides of this “Civil War” and can we all just say that if Vision had stayed in the sweater I’d love it even more than his normal suit?

Can we get Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes together more often? Their banter just like Rhodes’s and Tony’s were perfect.

In the end, the world doesn’t come to an end, the plague isn’t unleashed upon the world and the planets aligning doesn’t end some giant invasion.

Instead, there’s knock down drag out fight over the ideas of power, secrets and lies in the coldest place imaginable. I was really surprised that the returning Rumlow aka Crossbones played by Frank Grillo wasn’t set up as a underling for Zemo. Too bad it would’ve been a bit more urgency I think but it would’ve been more to an already big movie.

If The Dark Knight raised the bar for vigilante movies then Civil War raised the bar for superhero movies and the Russo Brothers are directing the next two Avengers movies.

So long as there isn’t any creative differences between Marvel and Russo Brothers, I can’t wait for more.

Make sure to check out Bennett North’s review, she has a nice running commentary with pictures.

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