FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Captain America: Civil War (2016)
THE WAR TO END ALL WARS!
I’m a Wayne Stellini and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Captain America: Civil War…
After another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s decision to support government oversight and accountability.
But when Winter Solider Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) resurfaces, Rogers and Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) become more divided than ever…
Much is expected when pitting an assortment of superheroes against one another, particularly when they belong to the blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe. As this is the thirteenth entry in the intricate franchise, loyal fans and persistent audiences alike have invested in these characters, getting to know them, feeling for them, and cheering for them in battle. It’s the sort of relationship only the best example of writing and character development can sustain over eight years.
So then, the question remains if Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have provided a thoughtful and engaging enough screenplay to deliver anything more than a superficial battle royal? The answer is, quite frankly, a resounding yes.
Directed by brothers Anthony and Joe Russo, who cut their MCU teeth on Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Captain America: Civil War does what great comic book movies do best. There is the perfect balance of character-driven plot and action here, so the audience has its cake and eats it too. As has been the case with every single previous title in which Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton appear, Scarlet Johansson and Jeremy Renner deliver performances with electrifying chemistry; them going head to head is the fight we didn’t know we wanted. Unsurprisingly, Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan, Chadwick Boseman, and Paul Rudd are excellent, but this isn’t a film in which the performances or casting choices (new or returning) can be faulted. To say that the team hand in good work is an understatement.
However, the most spectacular casting is that of young Tom Holland as Peter Parker. For genre buffs who know Spider-Man’s origin, his introduction into the MCU is refreshingly efficient, but there is still enough to satisfy those who may not be familiar with the details of his backstory. His scenes with Downey’s Tony Stark are a particular highlight and there is no doubt that the fight scenes benefit from his inclusion.
And as well-tuned and meaningful as the interpersonal relationships are, it’s the action that sells movie tickets. What Captain America: Civil War does better than every one of its twelve predecessors is make the action scenes captivating and not drag on unnecessarily. Here, they don’t feel over stylised but rather grounded in reality. There are, naturally, extremities to the destruction on hand, but we accept them like never before. They are beautifully framed, expertly cut, and more often than not have a pleasant colour pallet.
While not all of the MCU films have hit the mark, Captain America: Civil War is an incredibly generous reward for fans’ investment in the franchise. It is a first-rate blockbuster and one of the best comic book movies in recent years full stop. 4½ / 5
Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl, John Slattery, Kerry Condon, Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, John Kani, Hope Davis, Gene Farber, Florence Kasumba, Alfre Woodard, Jim Rash, Stan Lee makes [cameo], Joe Russo [cameo], Damion Poitier.
Directors: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo | Producer: Kevin Feige | Writers: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely (based on Captain America by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby) | Music: Henry Jackman | Cinematographer: Trent Opaloch | Editors: Jeffrey Ford, Matthew Schmidt
Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!
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