All right, the weekend has passed and hopefully most of you have seen Marvel's latest blockbuster, Captain America: Civil War.
We've also got those looking for a spoiler-free review covered: SPOILER FREE REVIEW: Captain America Civil War
I've also dedicated a little portion to Spider-Man, Black Panther and Paul Rudd after the review (ARTICEPTION)
But, now it's time for some analysis drenched with spoilers:
Not only does Marvel produce one of its strongest movies to date with the third installment of the Captain America trilogy, but it perfectly markets/captures/hypes up the new characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; Spider-Man and Black Panther.
When you stack the Captain America trilogies against other superhero trilogies, I have a hard time saying that Cap's doesn't take the cake. Each movie had a completely different tone, cast and theme throughout and that's what makes it truly special.
Let's get back to Civil War, though:
One of the main aspects that upset me happened really early on in the film with that hyped up Crossbones and Captain America fight. It was an intense scene and made Crossbones look legit in the process, but then that's it.
Why play the Crossbones card if that's going to be it. I know there are seemingly an infinite amount of cards that the MCU can play villain-wise, but Crossbones is so important to not only the Civil War story, but represents one of the most iconic Cap arcs this side of 1970.
All things considered, Joe and Anthony Russo still teases a major character and made him look like a badass in the process. I guess I just wanted to see Crossbones get a little more time if they were even going to play that card in the first place.
It'll be interesting to see when and/if/how they bring Crossbones back into the picture.
From this point, we move onto the moment most of us had been waiting to see since the announcement of this movie arc.
That question: What is going to be the tipping point for Tony and the government to put the Superhuman Registration Act (Sokovia Accords) into effect. While the act is named after Sokovia in Age of Ultron, it's the incident in Africa that serves as the final pin.
We get a fairly similar situation, but the main difference is that it's the actual Avengers that claim innocent lives while in battle. Captain America is about to fall victim to Crossbones in action when the Scarlet Witch captures an explosion just in the nick of time, and she sends the ball of energy holding the ball into the sky.
Except the explosion doesn't go off into the sky, but a building filled with civilians.
This way made so much more sense to do for the movie rather than introducing the New Warriors and having them blow a subdivision to smithereens.
That's not hating on the book, but this movie already is stuffed full with characters and has a pretty substantial story to tell. Having the Scarlet Witch's whoopsie be behind the boiling point incident really adds an emotional level to this all and points a damning finger at Captain America, in my opinion.
These deaths weren't just as a result by way of the Avengers through influential means, but at the actual hands of the Avengers.
After the Sokovia incidents, we stick pretty hard to the source material (in a sense).
An angry mother confronts Tony, gets under his skin and yadda yadda yadda.
Remember these famous lines from the Civil War books:
We get this speech verbatim, but at Agent Carter's funeral and through the mouth of Peggy's niece and Steve's chick, Sharon. Once again, loyal to the source material but with new little twists and turns for the movie version.
Sharon's speech is just as moving and hits Steve right in the heart at exactly the moment he needed to hear them. It makes Peggy's death matter, it gives Sharon a hell of an entrance, it still has the same effect as if Cap said them himself.
This leads us into the splitting of the teams. Six on each side with everyone still kind of "pulling their punches" and pulling some strings for their newfound frenemies.
The big fight scene in the deserted airport that we've all seen teasers for exceeded all possible expectations. It got more time and they really nailed the action sequences and interactions between these old friends, or at least Workplace Proximity Acquaintances.
Clint and Black Widow are chatting it up while fighting, with Widow asking "we're still friends, right?" in the middle of an intense fight right before Scarlet Witch calls Hawkeye out for "pulling his punches."
Sure, it's effective comedic relief, but it's so much more than that. It shows us, while with a touch of humor, that none of these guys wants to fight each other. These are not only some of the most powerful individuals in the universe, but the most dedicated.
Fighting for what you believe in at all costs. That's what each of these heroes is doing.
Chris Evans delivers on all cylinders. He plays an amazing, classic, nearly perfect portrayal of Captain America and I'm glad that it seems that he's going to stick around for possible longer than believed heading into this movie.
Robert Downey Jr. is the perfect stressed, cocky, egotistical Tony Stark. There isn't more that needs to be said about him. He is the rock to this franchise/universe, 'nuff said.
Sebastian Stan has made the Winter Soldier not only a terrifying character but a sympathetic one. He has done these god awful things and killed so many innocent people along the way, but was never in control.
The feud between these three throughout the movie is a thing of beauty. Rogers has this blind trust of Bucky. Bucky is under mind control by Zemo half the movie. And when he's not trying to push his agenda and reel Bucky in, Tony Stark is trying to take the Winter Soldier and Captain America on 2-on-1 in the movie's big payoff fight scene.
Right when we think these three have trumped Zemo's plan to bring the Avengers down from the inside out; Zemo plays his big card, which is the video of Bucky murdering Stark's parents.
The Russo's left this one dangling throughout the flick.
Zemo is on a hunt for a specific mission of Buckys from the past.
Tony puts on a demonstration at MIT that shows a rendering of his last interaction with his parents.
Right when the audience forgets these two instances from early on in the 150ish minute movie, they lay them on the table.
Iron Man knows Bucky wasn't in control, but as he told Cap:
"He killed my mom."
Fans of the original source material will give a nod to the filmmakers for having Iron Man's suit remember Cap's fight choreography. Once again, it's not exact but perfectly adjusted.
Cap and Bucky eventually subdue Tony and make off to an unknown location. Cap writes Tony a letter somewhat apologizing, somewhat leaving the door open for wounds to hear.
After the letter finishes up, we see Cap get the rest of his team out of an ocean prison and make off to Wakanda and the Black Panther's lair.
Final Verdict: This movie is truly the best of both worlds for the MCU. It's true to the source material without letting it dictate what it wants to do. The little tweaks are done in a way that makes diehards happy while still painting the essence of the original story without being imprisoned by it.
It's a movie that tackles real issues, real concerns with a darker Avengers tone than seen before in the OG and Age of Ultron. The ending leaves the door open for the Avengers maybe not to head directly into Infinity Wars and Thanos, but maybe some underground Avengers action.
They left their options open while making an easy Top 3 MCU movie. The dialogue is world class, the action is cleaner and less convoluted and the darker tone shows that the Marvel Movie Universe can't only out-fun its counterparts at DC, but that it can make a deeper, more thoughtful movie than them, as well.
Grade: A OOOO WEEE!
Article within an article! Ant-Man, Spider-Man and Blank Panther steal the show without stealing the show:
I don't want to overstate anything, but the use of Paul Rudd was perfect. The introduction of Spider-Man and Black Panther was not only perfect, but it was done in a way that made sense with the plot. Not only was he the comedic relief as presumed, but he held one of the surprises of the movie in Giant Man!
T'Challa's father is killed in the explosion at the United Nations, which drives him on a hunt for Bucky (who was framed by Zemo).
And, oh my god, Spider-Man. Marvel got Peter Parker's origin story out of the way in a 45-second conversation with Tony Stark in his bedroom. Tom Holland has the Peter Parker voice done, his humor down, the way he talks during intense fights down, and he has the sweet, blind thirst for justice down.
It's all there.
Every time Tom Holland was on the screen, he stole the show. His youthful, innocent presence was the extra layer this institutional war between friends needed.
They accomplished so much for the futures of Black Panther and Spider-Man in a Captain America movie without bogging down the plot.
Two origins: check
Two amazing looking costumes: check
Take the self-deprecation route with Hot Aunt May (Marisa Tomei): check
The press tour for Black Panther and Spider-Man standalones is already underway thanks to Civil War. Chadwick Boseman and Tom Holland are here to stay.