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Captain America: Civil War
Disney // PG-13 // May 6, 2016
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Fandango]
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building upon itself for many years from multiple theatrical distributors. However, each of those solo films were obviously meant to be viewed as part of a much bigger picture. Comic fans were ecstatic to hear about the release of The Avengers, which would inevitably lead to the infamous Civil War that hit the comic universe. Marvel released a piece of social commentary disguised as the teams led by Captain America and Iron Man, respectively. Disney has managed to once again provide an exciting time at the cinema, although it still suffers from some of the issues that have been present since the start.
A global upset is the result of the destruction and death surrounding the battle of good versus evil. This ultimately causes a divide within The Avengers. The United States government seeks to merge their force with the government, which would instantly eliminate their freedom to protect. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) believes that the world is safest is the hands of The Avengers themselves, although Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) supports the government's initiative to keep more people from harm.
There has been a certain amount of tension between Stark and Rogers since their initial meeting, which only escalated in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, previous films generally left this is an underlying issue that would only occasionally arise, which has ultimately exploded into a full-on war between heroes. Whether you're siding with a team for their composition or for your own moral reasons, Captain America: Civil War engages its audience by making them feel somehow involved in the event that inevitably splits the seemingly impenetrable team of superheroes. There are plenty of explosive action sequences, although the film successfully delivers upon the drama between heroes that we have come to genuinely care about over the course of several feature films. It's not exactly a complex drama, but it's much more thought-out than most other superhero flicks out there.
Most of the heroes featured in Captain America: Civil War have either had their own feature film, or were at least introduced previously. However, the introduction of Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and Sony's new Spider-Man (Tom Holland) aid in expanding the Marvel Universe in this given story. The former has a solid story that causes his motivations to fight alongside Iron Man feel incredibly valid. Meanwhile, this is the best portrayal that we have ever seen of Spider-Man on the silver screen. He's nerdy and awkward in the best ways possible, giving the film a strong sense of comedic relief. The introductions of these two characters are monumental to getting audiences pumped to see their respective solo films that will be hitting theaters in the future. Needless to say, I'm quite excited to see how they turn out.
While incredibly entertaining, it certainly isn't perfection. Disney's story is known to deviate greatly from the original comics, although there are certain plot points that would have been great inclusions. Captain America: Civil War had the chance to shock mainstream audiences in the significance of an interaction between Crossbones and Steve Rogers, although it simply teases it in a sequence that feels more like a slap in the face. Then, we have some strong sequences between Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), which never amount to any climax, causing the two biggest powerhouses of each team to feel underutilized. This brings me to my final major complaint; Marvel rarely represents its villains very well on the big screen. This remains to be the case in Captain America: Civil War, as a name that I won't spoil proves to be on of the least threatening ones yet. The Rogers vs. Stark confrontations are great, although the villain is definitely the weakest aspect of the entire film.
Perhaps one of Disney's biggest strengths in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is casting. Each choice along the way has been quite strong. The interactions between Chris Evans (Steve Rogers) and Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Sark) are truly engaging, as they generate actual feeling. Meanwhile, Chadwick Boseman is an excellent pick for Black Panther. He's genuine and quickly fit in with the other characters. Despite another inconsistent Russian accent from Elizabeth Olsen, she manages to give some of the pivotal moments of the film an extra emotional kick. On a more light end of the spectrum, Spider-Man has received more than a solid representation in the dialogue, but also a fitting performance from Tom Holland. This is the first time that we have seen a Peter Parker that looks like he belongs in high school, and delivers upon the awkwardness. If this is any indication, Sony might finally have what they needed to bring Spider-Man back to the silver screen.
Captain America: Civil War continues Disney's excellent use of visual design. All of the fight sequences are quite stellar, especially when they're filmed with a profile that is actually reminiscent of how it has been drawn in its comic form. The biggest standout here would have to be the costume design, with the CG being used as an enhancement. Black Panther hits the screen in style with a costume that respects the source material, while also modernizing it. Meanwhile, Spider-Man receives the Deadpool treatment that we saw in February, as he's now finally able to emote through his mask. This is a big step from the static costumes seen previously, as it allows the actors to bring more personality to the characters.
Despite its flaws, Captain America: Civil War is a lot of fun. The fights are big and having most of the focus on the confrontations between heroes is a smart decision. There are some signs that Disney may be breaking the mold a bit and playing around with their formula; hopefully we continue to see this trend in a more significant way. The villain interpretations could still use quite a bit of work, although they have definitely improved upon splitting screen time between heroes. Captain America: Civil War is undeniably one of the better films of the MCU. Highly recommended!