Friday, May 6, 2016

Captain America: Civil War SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

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Let me just start off by saying WOW!  This movie is absolutely incredible!  Pretty much everything works, from the story to the characters to the motivations to the action.  If you are looking for a recommendation of whether or not to see this movie, stop right here:  GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Considering that this movie has the largest ensemble cast of any movie to-date—even more heroes than Avengers: Age of Ultron—there were a lot of concerns that they wouldn’t all be done justice.  However, the Russo brothers are very well known for their ability to manage ensemble casts, and they put that skill on full display here.  Each character gets his or her moment to shine, both on under normal circumstances and in the fight sequences.  Captain America, Iron Man, and the Winter Soldier have more spotlight moments than anyone else, with Black Panther, Falcon, and Black Widow in the second “tier.”  However, even the characters that appear later in the movie have their unique moments.

They also do a very good job of making each character’s motivations clear.  Some of the motivations are extremely basic, but there isn’t any character whose motivations I can’t figure out.  And there is even an incredible degree of variety and depth to the motivations of the two main heroes, Iron Man and Captain America.  For the most part none of the heroes come off looking worse than the others and it is easy to see all sides.  And when the two sides face off, there is no misunderstanding that precipitates it; both sides know why they are there, and both sides believe that they are in the right.

The action itself in this movie is absolutely incredible.  We don’t exactly get to see every hero fight every other hero, but we do get a lot of those moments.  Each hero gets to do something really awesome, and some of those moments are particularly incredible.  We see the heroes fighting together as a team, and we also see the heroes fighting individually.  And there are definite consequences to all of the fighting, something which a lot of these movies can miss out on showing.

Neither of the actual villains in the movie is particularly exciting, which is the only negative I can really say about it.  However, considering that the focus is squarely on the heroes and their conflict, the villains don’t really have to do all that much.  Zemo and Crossbones are really only in this movie to serve as catalysts which push the Avengers in certain directions.  I actually think that this all would have happened without their involvement; they simply sped up the timetable.

If you are a long-time fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I think you will absolutely love this movie.  If you are new to the MCU, you will probably still enjoy a lot of it, but there are quite a few character dynamics and allusions which you won’t quite understand.  If you are new, be sure to check out my “TL;DW” article from last week before heading to the theater.

Have you seen Captain America: Civil War yet?  Which is your favorite character?  What did you think of the movie?  Let me know in the comments (but no spoilers!)!

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