Review: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ Brings Fluid Action and Story
Marvel brings another action-packed win with “Captain America: Civil War.”
This is the moment that many have been waiting for. The plethora of “Captain America: Civil War” trailers and videos have all led up to this point, but did the film live up to the hype?
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Story, etc.) – 3.5
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a continuous formulaic experience, but it’s a formula that works. Marvel has found a way to create independent standalone films that have supplemental value being connected to an overall bigger picture. “Captain America: Civil War” fits well into the MCU big picture with its story and underlying themes and is also a strong standalone film.
This film worked on many levels cinematically. The choreography stood out as some of the best I’ve seen seen so far in a Marvel film. The Russo brothers brought their style of hand-to-hand combat we saw in “Winter Soldier” and then managed to cohesively infuse the larger-than-life CGI spectacles that we’ve seen in the Avengers films. As the action is ultimately prevalent throughout, this blend of CGI and well choreographed battles held its significance on a cinematic level.
Another element that compliments the choreography is the overall focus on cinematography. The picture is rich and crisp, the transitions are smooth, the lighting is near-perfect, and visually there are few flaws. Even though “Captain America: Civil War” seemed to be jam-packed full of action, it didn’t feel like it was too much because of how well the scenes were shot and edited. For example, the big airport brawl had everyone involved, but the piecemeal approach of focusing on a few characters at a time while subtly having others in the background made things seem more intimate and not overwhelming at all.
The characters that are already established continue their path of growth becoming slightly more dynamic and the new ones bring even more excitement. Black Panther and Spider-Man are awesome! Tom Holland is like a fusion of the good between Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield and has me so excited for the next Spider-Man film. Chadwick Boseman is just as phenomenal as Black Panther. I think I enjoyed him more out of the costume because of how good he actually was. His physical prowess is intimidating and his accent was spot on unlike some others who have tried (sorry Will Smith). As for the rest of the characters there is not much of a change. They are already established and still continue to grow, but there is not much room for growth when they’re already at a peak. I will give a commendation to Paul Rudd as Ant-Man though. I was curious as to how well he would integrate into the team with his strongly comedic persona but he’s a great addition.
There is one flaw of the film and that is Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) and the subplot surrounding his character. His performance was fine but his character and story were severely flawed. While they attempted to integrate him into the story, he just didn’t mesh well. The middle of the film dragged a bit because of this and the overall outcome was very uneventful. I enjoyed the film overall but it could have been much better if they expanded upon the politics of the story rather than tying in Zemo.
Overall the film succeeds cinematically with a few flaws. The film is built for general audiences so it’s what you’d expect from a mainstream Marvel Studios film, which is not a bad thing. The big budget may take away from some of the more intimate moments enjoyed in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” but the clean visuals and transitions make up for that loss.
Entertainment Value – 4.5
Entertainment is the foundation of comic book blockbusters and this is where Marvel excels. With the exception of the brief, intermittent moments of subplots, “Captain America: Civil War” kept up with a pace that kept me engaged throughout most of the film. The highlights of the battles you see in the trailers don’t take away from the enjoyment like you would think. Little is spoiled through these clips and there’s a lot more to catch you off guard and keep you smiling throughout.
What many should (and probably will) appreciate about this film is how fluidly they fit so many characters into the film along with introducing new ones. It doesn’t feel rushed nor does it feel like there are “too many players on the field.” I felt that Avengers: Age of Ultron suffered from this at times but “Civil War” seems to iron out those issues.
The amount of blockbuster splendor in this film outweighs the small moments that staggered. It is highly enjoyable and one of the best Marvel films to date. I’m not sure where I would rank it yet but it is definitely in my top 3 favorites.
Re-Watchability – 4
Much of the re-watchability stems from the strong entertainment value of this film. This is definitely a film worth repeat viewings in the theaters. If you enjoy 3D, it would be reasonable to see this film in both 3D and standard as it utilizes this technology well.
While this is a film you can enjoy multiple times in the theater, the minor flaw that comes into play is that weak subplot. There’s so much fun in this film that the middle focus on that subplot is a bit of a bummer. I think most can ignore these moments focusing on the film’s strengths, so while this is a flaw I’ve cited multiple times, it’s definitely not a dealbreaker.
It's a risky move integrating so much into "Captain America: Civil War" but the Russo Brothers do so very well. There's a few moments that drag due to a weaker subplot, but overall this film is spectacular and what you've come to expect from Marvel. From the characters, to the overall story, to the visuals, this is a film that is a definite winner in the Marvel playbook.