Sunday, 1 May 2016

Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Plot:
A new piece of international policy aiming to have the Avengers fall under the control of the UN after all of the collateral damage caused by their heroics leads to a rift developing between Captain America (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and their conflicting ideologies, both of which represent American Imperialism in one way or another. This is made all the worse by the reappearance of the Winter Soldier, aka Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), who has been framed for an attack on the UN.

Full review:
It's the year of the hero v hero fight for comic book films, with Batman and Superman already rushing their little bout out of the way a month ago in the dull 'Batman v Superman'. Now we have the Marvel version of the same thing that, unlike what DC has done, fits in more naturally within its universe and isn't cramming itself full of set-up for other film. Plus this generally makes far more sense (despite the concept pushing its luck) that whatever was supposedly going on in 'BvS' and doesn't end with a big CG, city-levelling fight.

'CA:CW' acts as both the third Captain America film and a third Avengers film, seeing as most of the Avengers are in play in one way or another. Some new additions include Ant-Man (though he has already had a solo film), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) - who gets quite a big part in this film -, and the new Spiderman (Tom Holland), who gets more than just a small cameo. Anyway, the film comes across differently depending on how you look at it.

As a Captain America sequel, I thought it was inferior to 'The Winter Soldier', lacking the same kind of weight and engagement. While directors Anthony and Joe Russo prove they're still surprisingly competent action directors, the film lacked the kind of set-piece to match, for example, 'Winter Soldier's highway faceoff while this film's stairway fight scene just brought to mind a similar scene from the 'Daredevil' series that managed to do it better and on a lower budget:
On the whole, when compared with its predecessor, it lacks the same kind of intensity/excitement that made 'The Winter Soldier' so watchable (even if nobody seems to die in these films, among other nit-picking issues). However, when looked at as an Avengers film, it is an improvement to the Joss Whedon films. It doesn't feel so full of itself and the general happening are more interesting than whatever was going in the Avengers films. And it all better handled.

Now, ignoring the other films, how does the film stand on its own? Well, it's far from perfect but, unlike 'BvS', it is quite entertaining. It does start things out in a more serious fashion, and tries to end them in the same way, it never comes close into tipping over into the dour territory DC has adopted mistakenly believing that makes it edgy or something. Indeed, once both Ant-Man and Spiderman make appearances (or around that point, at least, considering how the loudest laugh came from Falcon and Bucky in a car), that's when the film's humour really begins to kick in and so the middle of the film, all based around an enjoyable if overlong airport fight scene, becomes quite funny. And it's that kind of approach that makes it easier to digest something that does look a little silly at points as a variety of brightly coloured costumes clash.

However, various issues do creep into the film starting with the fact that it is far too long for its own good and you do feel it a little. I never checked my watch and wouldn't say I was bored at any point, it's more of that you feel it is taking longer than it should and, as a result, it starts to feel a little flimsy. And the length of the film does little to make it feel less crowded as they try to juggle a whole collection of characters, while also introducing a couple of new ones.

Meanwhile, the drama didn't quite reach the level it needed to at points to make particular moments worthwhile (plus nobody dies again, which is getting annoying). The characters all spout stuff about the new policy and their own ideologies, but it carries little weight and it only acts as a plot device to get the Captain America v Iron Man fight. Though at least things click better than they did in 'BvS', despite the plots being near identical.

This might also be a good point to bring up the main villain of the film. That being Daniel Bruhl's Zemo. He doesn't actually get much screen time and spends most of the time in the shadows. However, I thought Bruhl did well with what he had and though he may not be the MCU's strongest villain, he worked well enough for me.

'Captain America: Civil War' is an entertaining film that does a far better job of presenting superheroes facing off than DC's dull attempt. It has its share of problems but, in the end, it keeps your attention and delivers the fun. Even if the end result, much to my disappointment, is inferior to the last 'Captain America' film.

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