Hello, Spongey here.
Well, it’s now May which means it’s time for Summer Movie Season to begin, even though Summer isn’t until June.
I never got that either. Besides, the only real Summer films to come out May tend to be Marvel films. Which brings us to today’s general review. In 2012 and 2015 I did posts on the first 2 “Phases” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
They weren’t my best or most notable works (aside from my ignorance on how tastes work) but I had fun doing them as it was interesting to look at those films. The MCU is interesting since they are basically just typical Comic Book Summer Blockbusters, yet have a ton of respect from people outside of the usual groups.
Some just see them as typical stuff, while others see them as proof Summer Blockbusters are mostly better off now then before. Obviously I am a Marvel fan, but I see people’s points. But it’s only bugged me recently.
For the most part, a ton of effort goes them and each has their stamp. Some more than others, as Hulk was just a solid Hulk film, like something like Thor or Captain America had their directors stamp all over them.
Iron Man is still likely the best of those as it works the best as a film, even if Cap is the most enjoyable. Both are great for different reasons, and show the ways a Marvel film can work. Phase 2 was mostly better with Iron Man 3 and Winter Solider being some of their best written work while Guardians of the Galaxy was pure fun in how unique it was.
But recently with the end of phase 2, there has been some worry. While Ant-Man and Avengers 2 were good, they had a more mixed response. Ant-Mans’ mostly came from people whining about the Edgar Wright thing and not letting go of that, but they did have some points, and same goes for AOO.
Both kind of abuses the Marvel formula at points and weren’t 100 percent fully realized. Ant-Man made me realize the formula that these films tend to have, and while it still worked, it did end up holding it back just a bit for me.
Age of Ultron was plenty of fun but did pack in too much for the sake of it, and was just a pretty good film instead of a great one. There are starting to be some cracks in how Marvel does things, as has been explained.
But there’s hope, as their slate seems mostly promising, which finally leads us to this review. To fully start Phase 3 (yes, the film that came out after the finale of phase 2 was still phase 2. I don’t get it) we have another Captain America film.
So far, he’s had the best films. The first stood out with it’s setting and how damn likable the main character was, while Winter Solider was a genuinely well written sort of political thriller on top of being a blast of fun.
The other heroes are more mixed, but Cap has 2 great ones under his belt, so naturally I was interested in his next adventure. Which turned out to be an adaptation of of a more divisive story line from the comics, The concept of it was interesting for a film at least. I will admit I had a bit of worry about this one.
I mean, the advertising plays up the fact that a bunch of the heroes will be fighting, while introducing new ones to the MCU instead of the actual story, which sounded way more interesting.
Just two months or so ago, we have a film about heroes fighting that put in new characters to that world. Look how that turned out for some people. I didn’t want Marvel to make that same mistake.
But of course, I was still hyped anyway…..especially when the early reviews came in! Yeah, it got screened in April and since then there’s been praise up the wazoo from mostly everyone who saw it.
At the moment, it has a 92 on RT. Dang, that seem to be happening a lot this year. The buzz got me interested and with that long into, we’re going to see if the hype is worth it.
Also, I’m not sure if I will do a Phase 3 posts, since I will do reviews for those films. I could have skipped them but I think you can do without another Marvel post, if I end up having nothing to add. We’ll see.
For now, let’s see if it earns it’s high RT rating like Zootoopia, or falls a tiny bit flat compared to the rating like The Jungle Book. Let’s find out.
This, is Captain America: Civil War
NOTE: This is a general review, written after first seeing the film. Thoughts may change at any time so don’t take this too seriously. Should have put this note on the general reviews a while ago but ah well, better late than ever.
There isn’t too much to say here, as the film isn’t exactly a big CGI fest like the Avengers films. It’s more down to earth like Winter Solider, even with some effects from people like Ant-Man. But in general, the movie is well made as the rest of the MCU.
The effects are solid and action is good. A few use shakey cam but they get better and more enjoyable as it goes on. Of course, the highlight is the big fight the trailers teased. It is…amazing.
The fight is awesome with how they use the various and heroes and how their powers play into it. It makes me glad certain heroes were used because it’s so huge and so awesome, and has a real energy to it.
So while it’s not exactly filled with eye candy, it gves you some fun spectacle to enjoy, along with one of the best set pieces in the MCU so far. Yes, it is that glorious. That was short, but let’s see if there’s more to say about the other stuff.
The Avengers become fractured into two opposing teams, one led by Captain America and another by Iron Man, after extensive collateral damage prompts politicians to pass an act regulating superhuman activity with government oversight and accountability for the Avengers.
In essence, this is a combination of an Avengers film, and The winter Solider. It’s pretty much about the team of heroes, while also carrying a more complex plot with themes that are kind of relevant in today’s world. It’s even directed the same way as Winter Solider, and has the same writers.
Which explains why it has the same pros as that one. I will say off the bat that the main theme that kickstarts the plot is more of a jumping point and reason for The Avengers to start growing apart, and eventually fight.
It’s more about them as a group growing apart, and how Steve and Tony deal with all of this. Don’t expect too big of a debate on what a Superhero should do. For some reason, I expected more of it given how important it is the plot, and how much of a hot button it can be after certain films had heroes being careless.
So there was slight disappointment there when I saw that it wasn’t quite all about that. Meaning I will need to watch it again knowing what it’s really about so I can appreciate it more. But for now, I can look past that now that I’m thinking about the film. Just expect a better review come Phase 3 post, which will now happen.
There’s plenty to say now, so let’s say it. This film is both a big Vs flick and an actual story with themes and it’s hard to juggle those if you just came for one. In general, they do it well. The fighting is given a reason to be there, but there is more to it.
They use it to explore how the characters feel and it gives some good moments, especially near the end when it all comes together. They explore decent themes and the writing itself is a solid as expect from the Winter Solider writers.
With that said, it’s not perfect. Since a lot goes on at times, some elements can feel undercooke or pointless to some. They aren’t badly done per say, but I can some people finding some parts to be pointless in the long run.
And on a first viewing, the bigger conflict they face isn’t the most interesting ever. The best parts deal with the starting conflict, not so much the big baddie stuff, as sometimes it’s not the most interesting. But the strong qualities of the writing make it still work with a pretty good ending to it all.
But yeah, there are elements that aren’t done perfectly, and I can say some people calling it minorly bloated in some aspects, even if I’ve seen worse. I think I’ll like some of those parts more once I watch it again knowing the bigger picture, but on a first viewing I know this mostly works.
In general, the writing is strong with some decently thought provoking themes and each member being given a good reason for being on their side. Sort of. Ant-man is litterly thrown into the film and is on the side he’s on because….reasons. Unless I missed the explanation, which is likely.
(Falcon, who is on Cap’s side, being in his movie doesn’t count as a reason).
Most of fits together well, but as I said, it has some kinks here and there. And perhaps Winter Solider was constructed slightly better. But I can’t deny that they did a solid job with this one, even if my expectations were a bit different then they should have been.
The MCU tends to do a good job at giving us likable heroes, and this one keeps them as solid as ever. This one should be easy as the characters can be put into two groups.
The first would be the major players that headline the story, starting with Captain America/Steven Rogers, played by Chris Eveans, and Tony Stark/Iron Man, played by Robert Downey Jr. A better title would have been Captain America/Iron Man as it’s om ore about them together, then just Cap, or even just the Avengers.
Cap is still a likable hero who deals with some interesting stuff here. He’s not quite as strong as lead as last time, as his development isn’t quite as strong, but he still works. Tony is better, with what he goes wrong. You think his development was pretty much done after IM3 and Age of Ultron but nope, there’s more and it mostly works, making him still charming as ever.
The two work well off each other too, especially with their clashing ideologies and you get their POV. #TeamCap, by the way. As for our other major players, we have Bucky/Winter Solider, played by Sebestian Stan. His bigger part is kind of a spoiler, so I’ll just say he’s here and he’s actually better than in his previous outing, with what he goes through and his basic role.
There’s also a villain, who I didn’t see too much in the trailers so I suppose it’s a spoiler to go too deep. The short version, like most Marvel Villains, he can be kind of enjoyable but is mostly just …there. A bit better maybe, but they still need work. I’ll get to go into detail some other time.
Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johanson is also here again and she’s still a solid partner for Cap and her role is interesting as she’s actually on Tony’s side of the debate, making her side in the fight very interesting. She’s about as solid and awesome as before.
Oh, and just today they said they are “committed” to a Black Widow film. You better not let us down with that commitment, guys…
Someone who is kind of in both groups is Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olseon. She’s better here than in Ultron as her character is more interesting with her likability, and she is one of the first to think that maybe they cause too much damage.
She’s less important later on, but she fits enough to be in the major players group. And ending the group is newcomer Black Panter, played by Chadwik Boseman. He’s the biggest new addition and from this, I’m looking forward to a solo film.
He’s a strong hero here and I like how he is the King of his Country, since it gives him his edge. He’s just cool and his role is done pretty well., even we have to wait for him to be a bit more complex. Although one part of his opening scene feels really obligatory, you’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen it.
The other group would be people there for the fight, and that’s it. There’s certainly a role for them but that’s the extent of it, which actually isn’t bad for some of them. Some like A-nTMan are kind ofj ust…there. He’s role in the big fight is AWESOME but character wise, he’s…there.
An better example is Hawkeye, who has a role outside of the action which isn’t huge, but is decent. Still not my favorite, but he is getting better. I’m the only one who wants a Hawkeye movie it seems, but don’t you want him to be fleshed out more as a character?
There’ also The Vision who I always thought was just an odd addition. He’s a cool character I suppose, but he wasn’t used as well as the others in both this and AOU. He has one solid scene here and for the rest he’s just here cuz he kind of had to be there.
Flacon/Sam Wilson, played by Antony Mackie is here and that’s all there is to say about him. He works, I just don’t recall exactly what he does, he’s just there for support, which works for the story.
Speaking of black friends, Tony has Rhody, played by Don Cheadle, who has a bit better of a role than usual with some spoiler things that happen. A bit minor but interesting enough. The others I can think aren’t too notable, like Sharon Carter, Peggy’s neice who exists as minor support and for ship teasing.
If they hook up, it will pretty much purely because she’s related to Cap’s old girlfriend. That’s…weird to me.
But you don’t care about any of the minor people, you want to hear about…Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland. That’s right, Marvel got the Spidey rights back and this is his introduction.
Like Ant-Man he’s here for the action and that’s all but there is more. He’s honestly arguably pointless, but he is …done well. The actor makes both Peter and Spider-Man charming, and I like him just as much in both roles.
We’ll see if he ends up being a better spidey than the others, but he is good enough to make me want his solo film. And yes, as everyone has said, Aunt May is a bit too young to the point where Tony keeps calling her hot.. Ew.
The characters have a varying degree of useful-ness, with some feeling pointless or weak but most of them as strong and likable as ever, with some very welcome new additions.
Time will tell if I end up loving this one as much as my Marvel faves, but for now Captain America Civil War is another winner. Maybe some elements are pointless, or weak, but that can be overlooked. The writing goes into deeper themes and juggles a few elements well, with great action and great use of old characters and some solid new ones.
It’s a good end to the Cap trilogy, and a nice lead in for future Avengers stories to come. It’s a good follow u pto Winter Solider with the same strengths. It’s weird that Cap has the best films at the moment, but hey, I like that they did the character this much justice.
Is it the best Marvel movie ever? Eh, it’s all opinion so I don’t think it matters what I think. Personally, I really liked it but I loved a few others more. Honestly, maybe Winter Solider was better.
I’ve only seen this once and Marvel films usually get better on repeat viewings, or I just gather my thoughts better. But in general, this was a very solid outing with better writing than usual. I’m very much looking forward to what they have for us next.
WRITING: B (Subject to change)
I hope when I revisit this for the Phase 3 post, I’ll get to say more as I need time to reevaluate some elements. In two weeks, we’ll see if pissed of birds can be funny.