“With a solid plot, incredible performances from their entire roster (including a few new faces), and some of the best action ever filmed, Marvel Studios has unleashed arguably their best film to date.”
There’s a large consensus among superhero film lovers that you cannot be a fan of both Marvel and DC films. It’s frustratingly decisive, and many people who choose one side over the other tend to be insensitively vocal about why they made the right choice, while insulting those who chose differently. These types of situations tend to take a downwards turn at an exponential rate, leading to a lot of negativity, even amongst friends. Which is a bit ironic, now that a movie based thematically on the ideas of like-minded individuals finally coming to terms with their disagreements and faults found in each other, could be the movie that will most likely bring people together, despite their different preferences and ideologies. Over the past decade, Marvel has patiently and consistently built their cinematic universe as a real and believable place, with characters who are every bit as realistic and flawed as we all are. Every subsequently released film has worked on expanding and growing that universe, both physically and emotionally. This method leads us to their newest release, Captain America: Civil War. And like the title suggests, the film deals with a split in both methods and ideologies of the characters involved, pitting friends (and to a finer point, one large family) against one another. However, with a solid plot, incredible performances from their entire roster (including a few new faces), and some of the best action ever filmed, Marvel Studios has unleashed arguably their best film to date.
For a more in-depth look, read on…..
It’s hard to watch a group of people that you care about fighting each other. It’s something we’re seeing in the world at this very moment (elections tend to bring out the best in all of us, #sarcasm). Captain America: Civil War taps into this by pitting our heroes on opposite sides, allowing neither side to be wholly correct in their beliefs, which makes the film a tough journey emotionally. With most films, we have our hero(es) and villain(s), and we often know which is which, and what makes them so. But by pitting heroes against heroes, and not allowing either side to be the “right” side, allows you to empathize with each, leading to just as much internal conflict as there is on the screen. After watching the film twice now, I’m still convinced that the “side” I agree with is correct, but I understand that many others will be siding with the opposite, and I can both acknowledge and understand their reasoning. That’s what makes the film a huge leap forward for Marvel. With very few exceptions (mainly Thor’s Loki) Marvel has had a bit of a problem making their villains exciting and rounded. And while the villain of the film is portrayed far better than I expected, Marvel made the choice to make “villains” of their heroes, depending on which side you fall on. And the results work perfectly.
Normally, this is where I would sell you on the story, give a little background info, and some clever quips (I hope) sprinkled throughout to give you a reason to watch this film. And I’m still going to do that. But I’m making the choice ahead of time to not go into too much detail regarding the story, mainly because I want you to see this film, and I honestly believe that you should go into a movie like this with fewer details than usual. The story picks up after the events of The Avengers: Age of Ultron with our new lineup of Avengers trying to capture Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo) aka Crossbones, who was last seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as he was being worked on by medical staff after being trapped in a collapsing building. The Avengers attempting to capture him consist of Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). After an accident during the mission ends up killing innocent civilians, the remaining Avengers War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Vision (Paul Bettany) as well as Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) are told that the world’s governments are unwilling to allow further incidents to continue without oversight and accountability. Thus, the Sokovia Accords are created, intending to force the Avengers into becoming accountable to the United Nations, preventing them from acting without UN approval.
That’s pretty much all I’m really willing to give you in terms of story, unfortunately. By now, most of the Marvel marketing machine has shown you who shows up on who’s side, and the new faces being introduced. If not, you’ve done a fantastic job at keeping yourself sheltered from it all, allowing yourself to go into the movie fresh, which means you’re most likely not reading this before you go see the film, so it doesn’t matter than I’m not going into much more detail. What I will encourage all of you reading this to do is this: GO SEE THE MOVIE. This weekend if you can.
In terms of what works in the final film, the answer is pretty much everything. The directing duo of the Russo brothers have shown themselves so adept at crafting an amazing film before this with Winter Soldier, and they’ve even bested our Lord and Savior Joss Whedon, in terms of pulling together so many characters on screen at the same time, without sacrificing pacing or story to do so. While there’s no sign of Hulk or Thor, preventing the film from being simply another Avengers film, the reappearance of Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) more than make up for it. And introducing new characters to the MCU like Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) occur so naturally, comfortably, and effortlessly, that you’d think these characters had been here the whole time. The action pieces are some of the finest put to film. The plot, while not without a small pin-sized hole here and there, is one of the most tight and consistent for any Marvel film. The humor is there and works as well as any other MCU film.
In my opinion, this is easily Marvel’s best film from a technical standpoint (besting even Winter Soldier). However, there’s a big difference in terms of what I think is the best film, and which film I enjoyed more. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED Civil War, but it’s also one of the heaviest films emotionally, and working through it is a journey to take. Guardians of the Galaxy is by for a more enjoyable film, one that I can turn on any time and enjoy. Civil War will be a film that I’ll watch often, but it’s one I’ll have to set aside the time and prepare for it, much like I do with Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, which I’ve always found to be the pinnacle of Superhero films, and one of the best films ever made, period. While I never thought anything would come close to matching that film, I honestly think Civil War may end up taking its top spot. While The Dark Knight had one of the greatest performances of all time, in addition to a good story and some decent supporting performances, Civil War is a near-perfect blend of story, cast, and action, making it arguably the best that Marvel Studios has done so far. Giving the Russo Brothers the reigns to the Avengers stories for the foreseeable future ensures that we’re in good hands for the time being.
Overall: 5 Nerdskulls
Watch the trailer here:
Captain America: Civil War opens nationwide on Friday, May 6, 2016.
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