Saturday, May 7, 2016

#JustaQuickiePlease: Captain America: Civil War Spoiler Riddled Review

This is one of the best Marvel movies to date, and by far, the best in the Captain America series.  Some might see it as Avengers 2.5, but the Russo brothers have done another remarkable job of creating a unique action/thriller that calls itself a comic book movie.  With plot twists, you won't see coming and a villain you never expect, this newest installment delivers in every way any fan of this genre or filmmaking in general, could hope for.   Solid character development with shared space that is effortless, never infringing upon any adjoining on-screen presence, a definitive and satisfying balance between plot and action, and well time perfectly placed humor that enhances every scene and brings a noticeable and refreshing humanity, fleshing out our heroes in the way only Marvel can.  In addition, the introduction of new characters to the fold is both fluid and effective.  Both Boseman and Holland give standout performances worthy of the heroes they represent.  This is a respectful retelling that compliments all predecessors of the franchise, paying homage to canon while successfully creating a unique and original spin on this comic classic.  4 out of 5 Kernels; with very few missteps present, this should be the model for all comic book cinematic fare. 

So that was the "Quickie" part...

...now, let's get into the nitty gritty!

Here's the breakdown...and the spoilers, so check out now if you don't want to know.

The good:

1) Best shield action yet...as Spidey says..." that thing defies the laws of physics, doesn't it."

2) Falcon finally gets to kick some serious arse with some updated tech that is "geekgasmicly" cool.

3) Black Panther...need I say more.  This feature was one step away from being an origin story for him.  Boseman is a fantastic actor who brought this beloved character to illustrious life with utter awesomeness.  He truly makes it his own from scene one with “HugeJackmanesque" veracity.  The costume is outstanding; a real tribute to this Fanboy (and girl) favorite.

4) Spiderman...much more screen time than expected and it was more than worth it.  His introduction is well executed, and Holland owns the beloved Wall Crawler with his authenticity and his own trademark Web Slinger one-liners.

5) Bucky and Rogers share a true bromance.  In all seriousness, their affinity is engaging and genuine. 

6) Sebastian Stan takes Bucky to the next level of credibility with a brooding, tormented goodness.

7) Black Widow proves why she needs a solo film.  I don't know what is more striking; her comedic, dramatic, or combat timing.

8) Scarlett Witch also gets more screen time than expected, which is fortunate, as she confidently evolves throughout and gets the chance to truly explore and utilize her abilities.

9) Rudd is, once again, spectacular as Ant-Man, and would serve as the quintessential comedic relief if he wasn't competing with Holland and Mackie for the title.  Oh...and Giant Man...I'll just leave that there…but those sequences are nerdtastic.

10)  Bruhl's Zemo is purposefully subtle, allowing for an unexpected but logical twist at the end and avoiding interference with the real villain of the film.

11) And that brings us to the actual baddie of this flick...Stark himself...shock of all shocks.  Downey began his conflicted persona in the absolutely awful Iron Man 3, suffering from reality shattering, ego devastating, PTSD from his alien encounter that was continued in Age of Ultron with the death vision that presented the brutal decimation of his friends.  That angst is reinforced by the aftermath of his own creation, an entity meant to protect the earth and preserve his team that horrifically shifted gears from savior to genocidal maniac with a quantum intelligence.  Now he is faced with his own displaced existence and an unshakeable refusal to accept accountability for his silent madness and horrendous mistakes.  Those factors are nurtured by an utter misunderstanding of the roles of hero and villains and a total denial of reason.  Resulting in Tony's transformation into a paranoid Gestapo, believing imprisonment is subjective and turning a blind eye to his own infractions while projecting them onto others.  He willingly surrenders to a gnawing anxiety that allows him to believe the same corrupt bureaucratic system that nearly obliterated a city and its populace during the battle of New York and allowed a Nazi regime to undermine its ultimate spy agency, can somehow regulate his team without agendas that change as rapidly as Banner during a tantric orgasm,   Downey plays this part to the hilt and effortlessly culminates his pattern of egregious arrogance and deliberate ignorance with an undeniable conviction.  Even when he appears to be repentive, he swiftly resorts back to this demeaningly phobic identity when the facts of his parent's death are presented with unmistakably ill intent.  The man, who disappointingly comments, "You were my friend too," at one moment with such sincerity, is the same person who is willing to eviscerate the very individual of that alleged friendship.   Despite their previous tension, there was always a subtle respect, but Downey is able to transfer that into an obsessive resentment and eventual, visceral rage that is tragically inspired. 

12) While we are at it, both Evans and his counterpart deliver heart-wrenching performances as their relationship steadily erodes.

13) The ending was well crafted and a nice rebooted exclamation point to the story, and if you know me, you know how much I hate that word and concept; so that is a genuine compliment.

14) Both end credit scenes, though not jaw-dropping, were important and intriguing. 

The disappointing but understandable:

1) Vision is underused, but it is a necessity taking into consideration the sheer scope of his character.  His involvement is just right based on the overall matrix of the plot.

2) Ross is underplayed, but that too is appropriate, as his antagonist could easily overwhelm the story.  However, I hope to see him become more and more involved in future films.

3) Freeman is also underwhelming, but I believe that was intentional as well.  I think he may become the new "Coulson" of Phases 3 and 4, but don't quote me on that.

The bad:

1) One of the more frustrating aspects is the quick and needless death of the iconic Cap villain Crossbones.  I know they used him as a catalyst in the story reboot, but it was a waste of an exciting opponent in the continuing saga.  Despite his limited run time and making him a proverbial sacrificial lamb, he makes an unforgettable impact, both figuratively and literally. 

2) Sharon Carter as a character is a bit one-dimensional, although the romance with Cap is quaint. I really thought she would have a more significant role other than a mere messenger, but sadly she becomes the near equivalent of Captain Phasma. 

3) There wasn't enough grieving time for Rogers at Carter's funeral.  I know we were throwing a lot in the mix, but the few extra minutes would have honored their relationship and her seminal character.  Also, could we please mention Tommy Lee Jones just once?  The man deserves at least a shout out with such a wondrous performance as Rogers’ first, and only, commanding officer.


So, in conclusion, minus a few debatable deficiencies, this is in the top four of my favorite Marvel outings.  A must see for die-hard fans and naive newcomers alike.

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