Friday, May 6, 2016

Captain America: Civil War - Review

   Eight years in, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is firing on all cylinders. From all the way back in 2008 with Iron Man until now, the audience has been around these characters to see them grow and evolve into well rounded emotional characters. To see them come to this point is heartbreaking and the film benefits greatly from utilizing this attachment the audience has.

   The Avengers involvement in world affairs has drawn political pressure to install a system of accountability. The new laws divide the team down the middle. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes that the safest hands are the heroes own, without any interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) stands on the other side and supports oversight of some form. As the debate escalates, the other heroes are forced to choose a side.

   If anything can be said about Marvel Studios it’s that their casting is impeccable. Chris Evans is Captain America. Robert Downey Jr. is Iron Man. And so and so forth all the way down the list. The relationship that Evans and Downey share in this film feels real and it’s heartbreaking to see them torn apart. Sebastian Stan, as the Winter Soldier, is able to showcase his abilities more throughout this film. Bringing a vulnerability to the role, Stan really draws sympathy from his performance as the lost man that Bucky Barnes has become.

   Although the three above get the most to do, there isn’t a weak link among the cast.  All the returning Avengers are fantastic with Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision receiving a little more fleshing out from their first appearances in last year’s Age of Ultron.  The villain of the film, Helmut Zemo played by Daniel Brühl, is among the better villains the MCU has featured. He is cold and calculating without being over the top or mustache twirling in any way.

   The two standouts everyone will be talking about will be the newcomers. Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther may be the most interesting character the MCU has had in a while and the film does nothing but build excitement for his solo endeavor in 2018. And then there is Spider-Man played by Tom Holland. The third incarnation of Spider-Man this century finally got both aspects right. Holland is not only a great Spider-Man but serves as a good Peter Parker as well. It’ll be interesting to see what he is capable of in his own film in 2017.

    The real heroes of Captain America: Civil War aren’t even in front of the camera. The directing team of Anthony and Joe Russo has now produced two of the greatest superhero films of all time. They understand these characters and how to blend action and story for a cohesive and entertaining time at the theater. And while they deserve a lot of the credit, there is also the writing team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. The two have worked on all three Captain America films and have such a huge hand in making the trilogy the heart of the MCU.

   Overall Captain America: Civil War is the best of the best. Everything works together to create a near perfect film with emotional weight and drama. It’s a perfect sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron, while also starting Phase Three off with a bang. The cast is tremendous and the writing, while the story could be better, is off the charts with dialogue and characterization. The film builds anticipation like nothing else has, setting excitement for solo films, Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming, and future Avengers installments, in the hands of the Russos, while telling it’s own story. The MCU just recently turned eight years old but it’s clear it’s only just getting started. (9.5/10)

   So what did you think of Captain America: Civil War? Have you seen it, and where does it rank among superhero films for you? Subscribe, share, comment below, and don't forget to return to I Am Sam for weekly reviews and insight. 

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