By: Mike Agostinelli
Rarely does a comic book superhero movie based on an existing comic book storyline surpass said storyline in the quality department. Actually, in my opinion, this has never happened. Until now. Captain America: Civil War beats the crap out of the comic book Civil War series in every possible way. That series was simply a bunch of nonsensical and poorly set up fight scenes which led to a a disappointing finish. In this film, character decisions and actions are highly motivated, and the results are generally satisfying. That being said, nothing in this world is perfect. Even though some of you blind Marvel junkies would love for us to think otherwise.
Civil War very much revolves around government oversight. Politics. Conference room decision-making and back door bickering. If I want to see this, I simply need to fire up my Facebook and read peoples idiotic political opinions. I don’t want or need this in my superhero films. I’m also not sure why I’m expected to care about collateral damage during superhero battles. These are movies with giant green Hulks and Asgardian gods who smash things with hammers, and yet I’m expected to care about a random dude who gets crushed by a rock during a big fight scene. This is escapism, not reality. So stop beating me over the head with political superhero talk. This was one of my biggest issues with Batman Vs Superman as well. Hopefully this film marks an end to this new trend.
There also is a prevailing sense of Marvel fatigue setting in here. Too many of these movies come out yearly. This year we have this film, as well as the upcoming Doctor Strange. Next year we have three Marvel movies. Three. Granted, most of these things kick ass. But too much of a good thing is most certainly not a good thing. And the sense of freshness is fading. I really don’t want to see Captain America again now for another three or four years. Iron Man too. And Black Widow. They’re the same old people doing the same old things. Fresh faces are needed. And predictably, when the fresh faces do finally pop up in this one, they elevate the movie to a whole new level.
Bro. Black Panther. I didn’t think I would enjoy this guy as much as I did in this flick, but he’s certainly the standout and literally rips the movie away from everyone surrounding him when he’s on screen. Chadwick Boseman is charismatic, intense, and magnetic in the role. It makes me froth at the mouth for his solo movie coming out in 2018. Also: Spider-Man. I used to love him when I was a kid, but as I’ve gotten older he’s pretty much only succeeded in annoying me. But Tom Holland gave me hope again. To be fair, he’s a little TOO young here, and Tony Stark recruiting him for his team brings up the uncomfortable question of child endangerment. But there’s something about the kid that makes him the perfect choice for the part, and Marisa Tomei as sexy Aunt May ( I’m spitting rhymes here son) is something I can definitely get behind. Also, when Ant-Man pops in he reminds you why Paul Rudd is the most likable guy in Hollywood, right up there with Chris Pratt.
The action sequences are flawless. Carefully constructed and perfectly executed, they ramp up in intensity and complexity, culminating in the big “Civil War” airport fight scene between Team Cap and Team Iron Man. And while it goes on a bit too long, it’s so damn exciting and jaw dropping it’s almost like I was being brainwashed into forgetting any flaws the movie has. The choice to make the final fight scene a more emotional and intimate one was a great decision too, as it reaches new levels of profundity and brutality the likes of which I have never seen in a superhero flick. The musical score by Henry Jackman helps to elevate this scene, and the score as a whole is much better than his work in the previous Cap film, which relied too heavily on electronics and “ominous tones.”
Now to the big question: is this better than Batman Vs Superman? Well, as you’ll see in a second, I’m giving them both the same score. This movie is more well-made than BvS, and is overall an easier movie to enjoy. It’s fun, even when it’s being deadly serious. BvS was morose, high-minded, and wanted to accomplish more than just being a fun time at the movies. That was one of it’s strengths as well as one of its weaknesses. But I also connected more to the characters in BvS than I did with any of the ones in this movie. I mean, after all, Batman was in it and it was the most glorious interpretation of Batman on film I’ve ever seen. In short: both movies are flawed. But both are enjoyable. And its ok to like both. People who praise one and attack the other are elitist nerd assholes, who are also lying to themselves about what is quality and what is not 90% of the time.
And always remember: no matter how much you’ll attempt to insist otherwise, I likely know 100% more about any of these characters than you ever will. Which is probably a bit sad, but also pretty damn awesome.
I give Captain America: Civil War an 8 out of 10.
Next review is X-Men: Apocalypse.