Movie Reviews

Published on May 3rd, 2016 | by gareth


Captain America: Civil War

The summer 2016 movie season has launched in a big way with Marvel Studios offering up the eagerly awaited “Captain America” Civil War” which once again stars Chris Evans and the title character.

The film is set in the aftermath of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” where the governments of the world have grown fearful of the devastation that can be unleashed by their super-powered protectors and their enemies and devises a plan of action.

A law is introduced that requires heroes to register and be held accountable to governing bodies which for the most part would also control their activities.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is still reeling from his part in the Ultron threat and the usually smug and cocky Iron Man is all in favor of the new legislation proposal.

Captain America/Steve Rogers on the other hand remembers the evils of making various groups register and answer to the government during World War II and he is very opposed to this new development.

As if this was not enough for the heroes to deal with, a villain named Crossbones (Frank Grillo) is causing trouble and then there is the matter of The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), which is like adding gasoline on a raging fire.

The Winter Soldier is blamed for a horrific tragedy and the forces of the world are poised to bring him to a final justice no matter the cost.

Rogers believes that his former friend can be saved and as such is willing to take great risks to do so. Stark and his supporters believe that The Winter Soldier is a threat that must be stopped at all costs. This combined with the already growing tensions over the new legislation divides the former allies and puts friends and allies at odds with one another.

The resulting backlash is a battle that threatens to destabilize those sworn to protect society and makes the world an even more dangerous and volatile place especially with an ever darker threat looming in the shadows.

The film does a great job mixing in intense action sequences that are visual effect spectacles, yet never losing the fact that is story powered by real characters with real issues.

The characters may be super powered, but they are dealing with real issues ranging from trust, loyalty, betrayal, and accountability in an ever changing world that seems to be caught in the crossfire of their heroic deeds.

The large ensemble cast works very well with one another and this is the key to making a film like this work. This is not simply pitting characters against one another in a conflict; this is a well-developed story that sets up future films very well but uses compelling and interesting characters with some timely humor to carry the film.

There are plenty of surprise moments in the film and Directors Anthony and Joe Russo proved that their last Captain America outing was no fluke, as they have delivered an action-packed and gripping film with some very mature content and themes set against some dazzling and intense action sequences which have become a trademark of the Marvel Film Franchise.

4.5 stars out of 5.


Second Review By Joseph Saulnier

On the heels of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Marvel releases Captain America: Civil War. Both films pit hero against hero, but only one does it well. Now before you start bashing me for being a Marvel fanboy, or that I don’t understand the DC Universe, a simple web search will show that I am clearly not alone in this. Yes, DC is dark and gritty (though not all of their comics are), and Marvel is more bright and humorous. I have no problem with the distinguishment between these two universes, and actually welcome them. But BvS was just not done well. Erratic plotline, an anti-climactic battle between the two heroes, and missing subplots just made it a terrible film. So sit back and take notes, DC. Marvel got it right.

Civil War, while not as grand as in the comic series of the same name, shows what it is like when a single concept (although a complicated concept) can come between a team made up of many heroes with differing views. After the events of Sokovia, we see the return of General Thaddeus Scott (ala Incredible Hulk) to introduce the Sokovia Accords, backed by 117 countries. The Accords will basically put restrictions and oversight by the UN on the Avengers, giving the UN the authority to dispatch (or not dispatch) the Avengers how they see fit. This type of agreement doesn’t sit well with some members of the Avengers, while others are in support of it. Notably, at each side, Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) supports the accords, and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) is against it. At the signing of the Accords, there is an attack on the UN perpetrated by everyone’s favorite Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes, or so it seems.

Rogers doesn’t believe his friend did this, whereas Stark and the government believe that he did based on photographic evidence of the crime. It is now a race to find Bucky. A race that ultimately finds the rift in the Avengers grow bigger pitting hero against hero. On Rogers’ side we see Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). Supporting Team Iron Man we see Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Lieutenant James Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle), Vision (Paul Bettany) and newcomers to the MCU Prince T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland). But at the center of all this is a new villain, Zemo (Daniel Brühl), whose sinister plan unfolds piece by piece as the movie goes on. Will the conclusion of the film bring the Avengers back together, or leave a rift further separating them. Go check it out to see.

I will say that I rather enjoyed the film immensely. It is the 13th film in the MCU, and the longest to date clocking in at about 2 hours, 26 minutes. And it feels long, but not in a bad way. You get a well thought out story line, and more of your heroes than ever before. There were few moments that dragged for me, far fewer than that of Winter Soldier. And with the heroes at each others throats, it offers a nice brevity from the fighting baddies all the time as in previous movies. Many fans out there will, and have, point(ed) out that this film is no where near the scale of Civil War from the books. But it doesn’t need to be, and shouldn’t. The film fits well within the universe created by these films, and although we are notably missing Thor and Hulk, we will see plenty of both in the next Thor film: Ragnarok. This film takes the MCU to a bit more dark place than previous entries, but still manages to blend the action and humor very well, all while setting up future movies including Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming. And what a way to introduce these two characters. They did well in their first outing, and it just gets you more excited to see them in their own films in the coming years.

Basically, if you are at all a fan of the MCU, go see this movie. I don’t even need to tell you; of course you will. While there are a few flaws and minor plotholes, the film itself is great. One thing it did well was address the whole issue with each film needing to be bigger and badder than the last in terms of the threat to the protagonists/villains. But this film does well at keeping it small, especially compared to the Avengers films to date, but also creating a great plot and threat to the Avengers. Well done Marvel.

4.5 stars out of 5


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About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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