Thursday, May 12, 2016

Fair Shake Review: Captain America: Civil War

Captain America: Civil War (2016, USA)
Genre: Action/Blockbuster

I'd like to begin this review by addressing Marvel directly, so please excuse me; You guys at Marvel Studios, from the writers and directors, know how to make great, entertaining movies! Alright, now let me explain in detail to you actual readers of this article why I made that statement. The comparison of the Marvel and DC Universes have always been in contention for years and the cinematic worlds have become no different. Marvel has had far lead in this area for a while and the latest Zack Snyder Superman films were to be the springboard for DC's answer to Marvel's success. Thus when Batman vs Superman was announced, Marvel responded with the unveiling of Civil War coming to a theater near us. The Snyder approach kept the dark, mature motifs of DC comics, though at times it dragged the viewing experience down by showcasing it too overtly. Being able to see Dawn of Justice right before Captain America allowed me to begin the contrast in Marvel's methods in film-making.

Marvel, being the more lighthearted (for a lack of a better word) of the two comic giants, in its cinematic universe revels in the spectacle of the superhero, while endearing you to the hero's own plights of the lifestyle. That's the main difference I can make between Marvel's M.O. from DC's. DC goes at length to delve into the struggles of the lifestyle that lead them to do spectacular feats. Both means tell wonderful stories, but Marvel has mastered making their means much more entertaining. Captain America: Civil War managed to balance character development, impressive action scenes, fleshing out themes and motivations, & grounding the supernatural with humor. These qualities are due to the fantastic work of the writers, who understand the voice of the each hero & storyline, and the directors, who aid in the pacing and framing of said story.

Civil War follows the events after Avengers: Age of Ultron, where in the Avengers are finally challenged to accept their accountability. The collateral damage from their heroics force the world leaders to ask for a leash to be put on the Avengers in order to prevent further unnecessary repercussions. This causes a split of ideologies in the group of heroes: one side believes that being under government control can lead to misuse of the Avengers strength and the other side agrees that being in check can stave off the death of innocent lives in the crossfire. The Captain, Scarlet Witch, & Falcon are of the former leaving Iron Man, Black Widow, Vision, and War Machine with the latter line of thinking. We see how this fissure of ideals puts stress upon the team morale especially after the meeting where the terms of agreement were to be signed get attacked by the Winter Soldier a.k.a. Captain's long lost friend, Bucky Barnes. This ropes in Black Panther as his father died in the incident and makes the Winter Soldier his main target while Cap tries to protect him, being not convinced his friend is the cause behind it all.

To keep this spoiler free, the journey to see how this disagreement all pans out brings out more development behind already known characters such as Iron Man and the Winter Soldier as well as newcomers like Black Panther and even Spiderman's introduction. Also seeing the interesting relationship Scarlet Witch & Vision share humanizes some of the most supernatural of the Avengers. The way the Russo Brothers balance the screen time amongst most of the team is rather masterful, yet almost calls into question why this is tagged under the Captain America side of the franchise. I can only rationalize that the Winter Soldier being one of the central parts of the plot warrants this film's title.

I can without a doubt recommend giving this movie a watch in theaters, IMAX optional. The world built by Marvel Studios will continue to lead the superhero market when it comes to live action movies for now. I might even dare to declare this my favorite Marvel movie to date. Being able to quickly get attached to the new characters and understand their motivations is accredited to the writers, Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely. They really came through with a feel good movie that also captured the ideological struggles of each team. And guys...don't worry...Spiderman is an excellent addition to movie and is superbly embodied by Tom Holland. Since I think I've given this movie enough praise now, do not delay to bring a friend and catch this marvelous movie!

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