Monday, May 09, 2016

Captain America: Civil War - A Popcorn for One review (with SPOILERS)

As some of you may recall, and you can scroll down to check, when I saw BATMAN v SUPERMAN I gave the film a solid "B". I can still see why, although it really had more to do with the main actors in the film and how they interpreted the characters rather than the overall film. It's easy now to give it perhaps a "B-" when you compare it to the newest super-hero film.

Personally, and I don't think I'm the only one, I find the Captain America trilogy the strongest of the Marvel franchise films.  The first film was fun, because it was Cap as we've always wanted to see him on the screen. The second was a very, good thriller which changed the dynamics of the Marvel cinematic universe, both in films and in television.  This third film wraps everything up nicely and sets up how, not only Captain America, but the other Avengers will interact in coming films.

When several incidents involving the Avengers go wrong and civilians are killed, the world governments decide that the team must be put in check.  Accords are drawn up and the members of the team must sign and agree to them, if not they may be prosecuted.  Steve Rogers/Captain America feels this will put too many restrictions on any future actions, while Tony Stark/Iron Man believes the U.N. and world governments have a right to be concerned given past destruction caused by the Avengers when dealing with their foes.  This splits the team and individual members must decide where their loyalties lie.

On the day when the representatives of the world meet to vote on the accords a bomb kills dozens, including the king of Wakanda.  His son, T'Challa, is his heir and also the current Black Panther, a hero dedicated to protecting his homeland and its people.  He vows revenge on the person believed to be the Winter Soldier.  Captain America is just as sure his former partner and friends, Bucky Barnes is not responsible for the actions. This brings the underlying tensions in the Avenger team to the boiling point and both sides decide to take action.

The first Avenger's film brought us the Marvel universe as we fans had always envisioned it. The most powerful heroes in the world united, after initial bickering, to fight together for a common goal.  This third Captain America film brings that era to an end as we see the team broken apart, with some members missing and new heroes appearing to take their place. 

Thor and the Hulk are not around, the Thunder God having returned to his home and the big green guy MIA since he stole an aircraft and disappeared from sight. On the other hand, The Falcon calls upon Scott Lang/Ant-Man to join he and Cap, while the Panther (for his own reasons) finds himself fighting along side Stark's group.  It's exciting to see theses characters in action and the fight scenes are spectacular.  The events taking place in the airport will have a long-lasting effect not only because former friends and teammates must confront each other, but because of the appearance of a certain web-slinging teenager making his first appearance in this part of the Marvel universe.

I'm not sure if this film holds together as well as Winter Soldier but has instantly become one of my favorite super-hero films.  This is what we grew up seeing in those Marvel Bullpen days.  Pages and pages of heroes in action, characters interacting that you never expected to see together.  It was all up there. 

Chadwick Boseman is wonderful as T'Challa and the scenes of the Panther in action prove that a solo film will be pretty exciting. The final scenes set up some events we can expect in future films.  Tom Holland is absolutely perfect as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, his awestruck reaction to being included in Stark's team and his scenes with his aunt (Marisa Tomei) give us a hint of what new Spider-Man films will have in store.  If it wasn't for the appearance of Spidey, I think everyone would be talking about the Panther.

Okay, before I wrap this up I need to talk about the major weak point in the film and the one thing that the Marvel films rarely seem to get right.  The villain in this film is pretty much in namesake only one of the biggest and longest running foes of Captain America.  Zemo (played by Daniel Bruhl) is not the former Nazi and contemporary of the Red Skull we have known in the comics for decades.  Here is simply a resident of the nearly destroyed nation of Sokovia, who seeks vengeance.  What the hell?  Why even give him the name of a super-villain when you don't use him in that capacity.  He cold have been just as effective as some guy called Siegfried, or something.  Save the 'real' Zemo for a later film incarnation.

Overall a well-acted and written film that far surpasses the big screen battle of the DC titans only a few months earlier.  If that earlier film was set up, this was wraps up some things and promises even more.  Easy to give this one an "A", even if that one little problem still bugs the hell out of me.

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