Captain America: Civil War
Captain America Civil War was Tremendous; one of the best of the MCU movies so far... plenty (maybe too much) of cool action and eye-candy, but more importantly, lots of character development and interaction - actual DRAMA in a superhero movie is what makes it a cut above. Very good job, and the movie takes it's time telling the story but you never feel it's going too long - you just want to see more.
Best special effect? Young RDJ interacting with present-day RDJ. Spoooooky, in terms of what it implies for SFX work applied to revisionist storytelling in the future.
One nitpick personally- I did not like T'Challa/Panther getting un-masked so quickly. It puts things in a box in terms of follow-on continuity, and his anonymity was an important feature in the comics.
There's a lot of humor well-sprinkled through the film, Paul Rudd's Ant-Man and the new Spiderman add a welcome amount of lightness to a dark plot. Marissa Tomei as Aunt May is going to take some getting used to: she looks too young and hot for the role, IMO.
Saw this in 2-d and it was plenty dimensional for me. 3-D doesn't do anything to advance the story, which is the more important part. They spent more time making the *characters* 3-dimensional, rather than the action, and that's what helps make this movie successful. When the characters take sides, you're drawn up along with them.
As is now my standard for reviewing these giant ensemble superhero movies, I will rank all of the characters I can remember from the movie from best to worst. Not listed: the single tear that falls from my face every time I see Captain America defending this amazing country that I love so god damn much.
Oh yeah, this will be a spoiler filled article, I'm sure. But based on the box office numbers, I'm sure you saw this anyway.
1. Captain Foresight
I just want to take a minute here to mention how great it was that this movie worked out as well as it did. It's probably the 2nd best Marvel movie they've made, which is cool considering the slight string of mediocre films right before it. But in comparison to what DC is trying to do with their lame cinematic universe, it's awesome that Marvel has been able to pull off what they have. DC (through Batman v Superman) essentially tried to do in one year what Marvel just successfully pulled off after 8 years.
As much as you can rip on Marvel (and Hollywood) for churning out a crap load of these superhero movies every summer, Marvel has accomplished a great and impressive feat of establishing a fun, extensive toy box of characters that we're now invested in. It's why the airport hangar scene in this movie will be one of the most fun scenes you'll see this year, and why Wonder Woman showing up to help Superman slam into Doomsday in BvS was a weird dud of a moment.
MCU can feel exhausting sometimes, but when it occasionally lines up to do things like Civil War, all of the meticulously calculated releases become totally worth it.
I don't think there's more I can say about how much fun this new Spider-Man was that the internet hasn't already said. I will just add that I'm super psyched that the new Spider-Man solo movie won't be another freakin' origin story. I think I can go the rest of my life without ever seeing a radioactive spider ever again.
3. Iron Man
I know he was a jerk in this movie, and sort of wrong about stuff, but RDJ just acted up a storm. Did any other character have as much depth as Iron Man did? Who needs Iron Man 4 when Marvel is making Captain America movies that are 60% Tony Stark?
The perfect comic relief character that ALSO did one of the most eye-popping twist moments in the whole movie. The averageness of a feature-length Ant-Man movie is definitely worth existing in order to have him be part of these ensemble movies.
5. Black Panther
I really dug his action scenes, and I'm kinda pumped for his solo movie. It will be a missed opportunity if they don't call it Catman Begins.
6. Captain America
I love Cap, because he fights for the things I love; like freedom, moderate gas prices, and new Taco Bell flavors. If he wants an unlimited budget to beat people up in third world countries, he's got my support, even if he didn't already have it with my tax dollars.
7. Daniel Bruhl
I have no idea what this character's name was, and I'm not sure it was ever mentioned in the movie, even though he was the main bad guy. But I liked him because he was basically a mix of Lex Luthor and the wheelchair guy from Batman v Superman, but more believable and successful than both combined. Did Marvel read the script for BvS way ahead of time, and just intentionally make direct improvements on it to be jerks?
8. Young CGI Robert Downey Jr.
I’m totally with you on this one, Mark! That was incredible! I think Hollywood now has the capabilities to make a sequel to Rodney Dangerfield's Back to School, with a fully returning cast (including the dead people), and make it look like it took place in 1987. They are selfish because they haven’t.
As far as throwaway bad guys go, I enjoyed watching him punch people really hard for ten minutes. It was also nice to have an actual cartoonish villain in this movie for a little bit.
10. Scarlet Witch
I appreciate the effort to add some depth to her character, even if her storyline seemed like the most tacked on storyline in the whole movie. That scene where she takes down Vision was pretty sweet, though. Side question: Does she like being called a witch?
I'm definitely a big fan of bitter, semi-retired Hawkeye more than his earlier appearances, but how long can they keep doing the same jokes? For now, they are alright. But if he's still around taking a comical "time out" breather while fighting Thanos, he might start dropping lower and lower in my rankings.
I think he's really cool in general, and he gains extra points for wearing that Men's Warehouse outfit in his leisure time. But he also gives me a slight dilemma. Being as powerful as he is, like how he can basically kill any of the other Avengers if he really felt like it; during the airport hanger fight, what was he doing during any of the time he wasn't on screen? Like, does he just stand there and not use his mind-blowing powers? How does he not immediately cripple Hawkeye? Also why didn't he just laser beam Cap's jet plane instead of the building next to it? [breathes in deep] Nevermind, I don't like to consider myself a nitpicker like this. The guy is cool. He might just be a *little* to all-powerful for logic's sake.
13. The better version of Agent Maria Hill
Last time I criticized Maria Hill I was quickly informed that she's a lot cooler in the comics. I believe you, ok?! I'll also take your word that Agent Carter is a good show. No, I will never watch it, because I hate comic book TV shows, but I totally believe you, ok?! The closest I will get to watching a network TV superhero show is enjoying that character's niece as a supporting character in a movie. I also totally believe you that Daredevil season 2 is amazing... I mean, I couldn't force myself through half of Daredevil season 1, but I totally believe you. Keep enjoying it for both of us!
14. The City of Sokovia
Much like the New York in Sex and the City, it gets mentioned so many times that it becomes a character itself. And if I have to enjoy the demolition of an Eastern European city, I want it to be one as big as Sokovia. Ha! That was such a Samantha thing to say!
15. King T’Chaka
He seemed like a righteous dude from his brief appearance. I also like to imagine his character putting on his own Black Panther suit in his old age, staring into a mirror as his exposed belly pops out of the bottom, thinking about the great things he used to do as he makes loud cat noises and claws at his nearby bed post.
16. Black Widow
I'm as bummed as you are that she is this low, but I'm racking my brain now trying to remember what she even did in this movie, and I can only think of that stun gun scene.
17. Tony Stark’s Parents
At least her name isn't Martha Stark.
I don't know, getting kind of bored of this guy...
19. Winter Soldier
Is it just me, or does he seem like the kid from the neighborhood that your parents never wanted you to hang out with because he's always causing trouble? He's basically the Shawn Hunter to Cap America's Corey Matthews. I wouldn't be surprised if someone took the bare bones themes of this movie and were able to reduce it to a Boy Meets World plot line. Please don't make that person be me...
20. Aunt May
I'm sorry, but I like my Aunt Mays to be old and bake almond cookies. Not be some lady who ages gracefully. Who plays Uncle Ben? Rob Lowe? However, I'm happy they didn't go the complete opposite route and cast Betty White.
21. Old White Guy
I had to be reminded by someone I saw the movie with that he was the guy from the Edward Norton Hulk movie. I just thought he was another rando old white guy actor being cast as a sleazy executive and/or military official (Jeff Bridges, Robert Redford, etc). I'm sure Marvel has Warren Beatty, Richard Dreyfuss, and James Caan on hold for upcoming authoritative roles slated through 2022.
22. War Machine
I like Don Cheadle, so it makes me feel bad to say it, but... I kinda wish War Machine just died from his injuries... It would have been more emotional, and I'm also not really getting that much more out of less-good-Iron-Man from these movies.
23. Stan Lee
At this point, is Stan Lee becoming more cameo than man? While him showing up is now an instant knee jerk eye roll reaction for yours truly; I'm slightly proud of most of the audience for not just laughing at him showing up, but for the actual joke he made instead.
24. Martin Freeman
Don't get me wrong on this one, I love Martin Freeman. I just don't understand why he was a lame character with 45 seconds of screen time in this? Ok, ok... I'm sure he's going to be part of the bigger picture later on (I'd assume). But in Civil War, his brief appearance was flat-out distracting. Guess they gotta have that #synergy so when he eventually has a bigger role in a later movie we can all yuck around the water cooler "HE WAS THAT GUY FROM CIVIL WAR, REMEMBER? HE WAS IN CIVIL WAR. THAT OTHER MOVIE WE SAW.” [see: William Hurt]
Bruhl's character was Zemo, which always makes me think of the drink, Zima. Bruhl is a fantastic actor, see him in Ron Howard's "Rush" as Nikki Lauda. Oscar-quality.
That hulk-chasing General "Thunderbolt" Ross has had a come-to-Jesus moment and become a statesman is a significant shift in the politics of the MCU and it makes the follow-on plot dynamics work that much better, because we know just how bad things might go if Ross feels pushed to respond in force.
I disagree that Black Widow was weak in this: they didn't have time to so more on her personal life, but, she has a pivotal role in the shifting allegiances and she's the conscience of the film, balancing between practicality and ideals.
It felt like they did lose their nerve in that looked like it should have been a death scene for Cheadle.
Why was that TV camera in that exact spot to record that event? Winter Soldier didn't put it there..... who did? I put it down to bad writing that requires something unusual and unlikely to happen just so it can advance the plot.
Surprised you didn't mention the super bros scenes in the Volkswagen while... somebody not in the car worked out some... issues.
Vision *is* too super-powered compared to the rest, so you have to "nerf" him by saddling him with relationship drama and inner conflicts... he's ineffectual in the key battle because he's sweet on Wanda and is pulling his punches. They ALL are pulling their punches, because this is a battle between friends, after all... until it's not.
Cap = Atticus Finch. Bucky/Winter Soldier = Tom Robinson. Discuss.