(5/5) I’m going to be honest. My rating for this movie is in direct proportion to my feelings about Batman v Superman. If you read my review you know I walked out of that movie feeling like I should get my money back. How do you screw up Batman V Superman? Reviewers seem skittish to make the comparison between these two movies but I am not. Fundamentally you have two movie with pretty much the same theme, two popular heroes about to fight each other for our viewing pleasure. Batman and Superman are obvious. They are the most well known of all super hero characters. Captain America and Iron Man were made popular because of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’ve had their places in comics, bad movies and cartoons but neither had the level of public awareness as Batman. The simple fact is in every way that Batman v Superman sucked, Captain America Civil War rocked.
Story and Motivations
Sum up the story of Batman v. Superman. What were the character’s motivations? While you think of that here’s the story of Captain America Civil War. On a mission in another country the Avenger make a mistake that costs the lives of several innocent people. While the world is grateful for everything the Avengers have done there comes a call for some kind of over sight. Leaders of country believe that the Avengers need to be kept in check. Making matter worse another violent attack takes place and the Winter Soldier seems to be involved. Tony Stark believes that the governments are right and that everyone should sign on to be government agents. Captain America believe this idea hinders their personal freedom and the ability to help in a situation because their bosses might stop them. And with the world wanting Bucky’s head Captain America wants to protect him because, well mostly because it’s Bucky. Iron Man feels guilty about the people who died during Avengers missions and wants to be the one to capture Bucky to at least prove that the Avengers can accept oversight. Civil War between Marvel heroes ensues.
Of course there is a third party manipulating things because you have to have a villain. Some reviewers are already bitching about the so-called villain but I’ll get to that in a minute. The important thing was the villain was not manipulating everything but taking advantage of events while manipulating things to get what he wanted. The villain did not engineer the governments of the world calling for Avengers oversight, but he did take advantage of the climate. This is the important difference between this and Dawn of Justice. In Dawn of Justice what they were trying to pass off as Lex Luthor did not need to be so hands on in how things went. There was no need to insert Doomsday. There was no need for the damsel in distress cliche. Here it was not about “do you need the event” but how events happened organically in line with the story. You understood everyone’s motivations. When other super powered characters were added there was a reason for it. All the characters developed – where they were when the movie opened changed when the movie closed. There were stakes you cared about. And more importantly almost every battle was awesome.
Let Them Fight
There was action throughout this movie, but the action was driven by motivation and not in service to the script. And the big battle was just breathtaking. I’m not kidding. If you’re a comic reader you’re about to experience a super hero battle the way super hero battles need to be. Every character got a chance to display what they can do and what makes them who they are. Badass of that moment? Ant-Man. I’m not kidding, Ant-Man pulled off badass move of the decade. If you don’t gets the action movie feels for his moments you’re simply dead inside. And there were twists. One twist might make you go “I should have saw that coming” but on reflection is not only made sense to the over all story it raised the stakes even higher and created a final battle that had so much going on with it that edge of your seat does not it justice. And after the dust settled things were changed. Not changed like in Winter Soldier, but changed in a huge direction that’s going to be felt in other Marvel movies. This was not just a super hero battle, this was Marvel showing it has the one thing DC/Warner needs, balls.
Along Came a Spider
I love the Sam Rami Spider-man movies. I’m indifferent to Amazing Spider-man I & II. But my problem with both was there was something missing with Spider-Man. The joking, the talking. Like Deadpool, Spider-man is a verbose character. He’s not silent when fighting. This usually drives his enemies and allies crazy as hell, but that’s him. Because Spider-Man II was so damn near perfect (Mary Jane aside) I forgave this being missing. I figured it was a movie making thing, that it was hard to do because action vs. talking might not work. I was right and I was wrong. I was wrong because I was making an excuse to love a movie. I was right because Marvel’s Spider-Man added that in and it was awesome. It finally felt like Spider-Man. People telling him to shut up or stop talking during a fight was priceless. This is not all he did, but once again Marvel proved that not only can you add such important character traits, but they can work. (Now give Hulk his damn voice back in the movies too.) One of the things said about the Spider-Man appearance was that it was but so long. He was in it as long as he needed to be and he made an impact. Tom Holland gets best line in the movie. I’m going to paraphrase because the exact sentence might be major spoiler: “I can’t do that, I’ve. . .I’ve got. . .homework.”
Talk about nailing it, get ready for Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther. I already heard this but like Spider-Man I heard he was only it this movie but so long. Like Spider-Man he was in the movie exactly as long as needed to be, but he was most certainly a big part of the movie. The Russo Brothers choose to make all the sub-plot circle around the central plot – the reason for the Civil War. Black Panther’s motivation were central to the conflict on many levels. His motivations were on many levels. You learned enough about the character to care for why he does what he does and they leave you both awed by this guy and wanting more. Call it a set up for the upcoming Black Panther movie. I will not argue with that. It was a damn awesome set-up and I can’t wait until this comes out. Thanks to this movie people selling Black Panther t-shirts are about to get a lot of my money.
I’m a long time comic collector so I knew the name of the villain as soon as they said it. In the comics they’re a b-list villain that tends to work best as part of a villain group. His motivations depends upon whose writing him. In the movie the villain had one motivation and used the circumstances within the story to get what he wanted done, done. I’ve already heard people begin to complain about the villain and I believe they are making wrong comparisons. If they are looking for Hugo Weaving as Red Skull or Tom Hiddleston’s Loki they’re may be missing the point. The villains motivations were directly related to the story. This is not about the villain anyway it’s about the Civil War between friends and allies. The villain only used that against the heroes and in that way the villain did, in fact, work for this movie.
Best Marvel Movie?
For me? No. Avengers still remains the best as far as I’m concerned. Captain America: Civil War is an excellent over in pretty much every way you can think of. Great pacing, excellent dialogue, real surprises, awesome fights, great character development. It hits the ground running and strikes every cord needed to make this one of the best Marvel movies in their growing catalogue. Well pace, great story, awesome action. This will be put down as one of Marvel’s successes and I can’t wait to see what comes next.