Monday, May 9, 2016

Crabby Movie Review- Captain America: Civil War

 Marvel outdoes DC yet again.....
 It seems like just a few weeks ago that we saw a couple of legendary superheroes, probably THE legendary superheroes, fighting each other on the big screen. And now, along comes Marvel to, once again, make DC look bad.

 (I'm going to try to stay spoiler-free, but it might not work, so.......see the film before reading this, if you're worried about spoilers..... 

 First off, The Russo Brothers just killed this one. I was worried, since both Joss Whedon and Jon Favreau kind of whiffed on their second Marvel films (Whedon much less so than Favreau, but still...neither AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON or IRON MAN 2 lived up to their respective first films.). I didn't think CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR was as good as CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, but that could have been because I decided to be a selfless dad and take my seven-year-old son, who adores Spider-man, to see the film, and he had a lot of questions that I had to answer. ("Who is that red man?" "What is the hawk-guy's name?" "Why is there another Iron Man?"....all valid questions.) This film kind of eased my fears that The Russos might burn out making back-to-back Avengers films. This pretty much WAS an Avengers film, and they nailed it. It really had the feel of a classic Marvel comic, where characters pop in and out, teaming up or fighting each other as needed.

 The film spins out of both prior AVENGERS and CAPTAIN AMERICA films, neatly dovetailing the Winter Soldier and Sokovia plotlines, as various world governments band together in an attempt to put The Avengers under United nations control, hoping to avoid the type of destruction that happened in the wake of the fight against Ultron. The team is split in half, with Iron Man agreeing to government oversight, and Captain America flatly refusing. Meanwhile, Cap and The Falcon's search for Bucky (The Winter Soldier), comes to a head, as Bucky is framed for an act of terrorism against The United Nations.

 Cap goes off the grid in an effort to find Bucky and clear his name, and Iron Man gathers a team to go after Bucky....sides are chosen, fists (And arrows, shields, webs, hexes, repulsor rays...) are thrown, and Earth's Mightiest Heroes may never be the same again.

 The writers do a great job of giving every Avenger a chance to shine, and it was awesome seeing Ant-Man again (He has a scene that had the Saturday matinee crowd cheering like a pack of lunatics, myself included.), and they also nailed the introductions of both The Black Panther and Spider-Man. FINALLY we have an age-appropriate actor playing Spider-Man, and he's the wisecracking character that I grew up reading. I cannot wait to see these guys in their solo films. Chadwick Boseman brings a strength and dignity to The Black Panther, and the brief glimpses we get of Wakanda really whet my appetite for his upcoming film.

 The effects are amazing, especially a scene that features a much younger version of Tony Stark....I've seen actors digitally de-aged before, but never so effectively. It was an amazing sequence.

 On the slightly less effective side of the equation was the film's villain. He worked fine, in the context of the film, but upon reflection, he could have been totally removed from the film, and it would have worked just as well (With a little bit of rejiggering), but I suspect that he was needed to have a bad guy that we could blame for Cap and Iron Man fighting, and to put a little salve on the wounds of Bucky's past misdeeds.

 I always enjoy hearing my Wife's opinion on comic-book movies, as she is really not much of a fan. She was very enthusiastic about this film, going as far as saying that it was "...just as good as THE AVENGERS.", which, in her own words, was "The most fun I've ever had at the movies." High praise, indeed. My son loved it, too. He went nuts for the Spider-man scenes, and wanted to make sure Spidey was going to be back. The film has two credits scenes, one during the credits and one after. Neither one was as earth-shattering as I was expecting/hoping for, but they were both well-done, and the last one, in particular, was a real crowd-pleaser. My son walked out of the theater happy.

 DC has their work cut out for them.....