Saturday, May 07, 2016

Captain America: Civil War

Based on the comic character by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon and the comic series storyline by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, Captain America: Civil War is the story where a major international incident involving the Avengers forces the team to confront their actions where Captain America and Iron Man diverge over ideals only to go into a conflict with several other members of the team taking sides. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the film explores not just the idea of duty but also the aftermath of actions where both Captain America and Iron Man don’t see eye-to-eye where the former is forced to protect an old friend an incident that left people dead. Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Paul Rudd, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Sebastian Stan, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Emily Van Camp, Daniel Bruhl, and William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross. Captain America: Civil War is a thrilling yet provocative film from Joe and Anthony Russo.

What happens when a group of superheroes are forced to make a decision where they have to answer to the United Nations in order to protect the world from evil forces while not all of them want to answer to anyone? That is pretty much what the film is about where an incident that unfortunately left innocent people killed forces the Avengers to make a decision through an accord created by the United Nations. The guilt-ridden Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) says yes to the accords feeling that the whole team needs to be in check and answer for their own faults. Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) doesn’t want to sign as he isn’t sure about answering to any kind of authority preferring to trust his own judgment. The two would diverge further following an international incident in which Rogers’ old friend Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) a major suspect as everyone is unaware that a terrorist in Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) is trying to tear the team apart.

The film’s screenplay doesn’t just explore the subject matter of whether or not anyone should answer to the authorities in order to do their jobs but also into the mindset of the team. Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes/War Machine (Don Cheadle) and Sam Wilson/Falcon both know where they stand on the issue while Vision (Paul Bettany) also would make a decision as he tries to understand everything this accord is all about. Yet, there are those like Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), and Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) who do take sides but don’t want to split the team or cause any harm. Especially Maximoff who feels guilty for causing an accident that killed innocent people while Romanoff understands what Stark is saying but doesn’t want to go against Rogers who she’s become very close to. Once the team begin to diverge more where Prince T’Challa of Wakanda/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) wants to go after the Winter Soldier thinking he is involved as he, along with Rhodes, Romanoff, and Vision, would join Stark.

The script does have a structure as it relates to the events that would tear the Avengers apart where the second half would force both Stark and Rogers to turn to a few outsiders where the former would bring in Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and the latter would get Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) as it would lead to a showdown between the two factions. Yet, neither of them want to kill each other as they all want to do what is right though only a few would later realize what is really going on. The film’s third act is about Zemo and his motivations for tearing the Avengers apart but also make some startling revelations that wouldn’t just create a further schism between Stark and Rogers. It would be a moment that prove that, despite their intentions to do good, neither man have any clue on what is right for the world.

Joe and Anthony Russo’s direction is quite vast as it plays into a world that is quite chaotic yet there are those that want to do what is right. Yet, there’s a lot of post-9/11 imagery that looms into the film where the Avengers are forced to see that they unfortunately left people to die. While much of the film is shot in and around Atlanta and its Pinewood Studios with a few of it shot in Germany, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. It does have this feel of a world that is on the verge of change where safety is the main concern but who will be the ones to protect the people? The usage of wide and medium shots to play into locations as well as these meetings that occur as well as a scene where Rogers learn who Sharon Carter/Agent 13 (Emily Van Camp) really is and who she is related to. Even the close-ups add a lot to some of the dramatic moments as it says a lot of where the characters stand but also that not everything is black-and-white.

The action scenes are quite big and do have this air of spectacle as it relates to some of the powers that Ant-Man and Spider-Man would have as well as the intensity of the fighting. Even as they have this mix of humor from the two where it’s the latter that really shines as the character is someone that Rogers and other members in the team have a hard time disliking. The mixture of humor and action do help keep things entertaining while the Russos know when to give the action a break where there moments of exposition into what is going on. Yet, it doesn’t deter from the heart of the story as it relates to the conflict between Stark and Rogers where the two would have a showdown where they don’t just reveal what Zemo is doing but how he would tear them apart as it would also relate to Barnes and his work for Hydra. Overall, Joe and Anthony Russo create a sensational and compelling film about superheroes fighting each other over responsibility and who they should answer to.

Cinematographer Trent Opaloch does excellent work with the film‘s cinematography to play into the look of the many locations as they feel vibrant and colorful while some of the interiors including the ones set at a secret base and in Siberia are quite eerie in their look. Editors Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt do nice work with the editing as it is straightforward in the dramatic and light-hearted moments while doing some stylish fast-cutting in some of the action while actually making sense of what is going on. Production designer Owen Paterson, with set decorator Ronald R. Reiss and supervising art director Greg Berry, does amazing work with the set from the look of the Avengers home base to the look of the international buildings including the council meeting and a secret base that appears in the film‘s third act. Costume designer Judianna Makovsky does terrific work with the costumes in the way some of the casual clothes the Avengers wear as well as the suit of Black Panther and a more vibrant suit of Spider-Man.

Special makeup effects artists Andre Freitas and Bart Mixon do brilliant work with the look of Vision but also an old nemesis Rogers would confront early in the film. Visual effects supervisors Huseyin Caner, Dan Deleeuw, and Ray Giarratana do fantastic work with the visual effects in the way the action scenes are presented as well as the look of a young Stark during his presentation at MIT early in the film. Sound designers Nia Hansen, David C. Hughes, and Shannon Mills, with co-sound editor Daniel Laurie, do superb work with the sound effects as well as the sounds of explosions and such to capture the element of terror and chaos that looms throughout the film. The film’s music by Henry Jackman is wonderful for its bombastic score that plays into much of the action and drama as its usage of strings and woodwinds also add a lot to its suspense while music supervisor Dave Jordan provides a decent soundtrack that features bits of contemporary and old music from Rogers’ past.

The casting by Sarah Finn is incredible as it features some notable small roles from John Slattery and Hope Davis in their respective roles as Stark’s parents in Howard and Maria Stark, Kerry Condon as the voice of Stark’s A.I. program F.R.I.D.A.Y., Alfre Woodward as a woman who confronts Stark over Sokovia where her son was killed, Jim Rash as a MIT spokesman, John Kani as T’Challa’s father King T’Chaka of Wakanda, Martin Freeman as a government official in Everett K. Ross who tries to make sure the Avengers are in control, Frank Grillo as an old nemesis in Brock Runlow/Crossbones who tries to stage a theft in Africa where he battles Rogers, and Marisa Tomei in a fantastic performance as Parker’s aunt May who is kept in the dark about what her nephew is doing as she is met by Stark unaware of what is going on. Daniel Bruhl is superb as Helmut Zemo as this terrorist who has a big reason for unleashing havoc as well as trying to tear the Avengers apart.

William Hurt is excellent as Thaddeus Ross as the Secretary of State who is tasked with getting the Avengers to be in check for their actions as he tries to instill some authority that makes nearly everyone uncomfortable. Don Cheadle and Anthony Mackie are brilliant in their respective roles as Rhodey/War Machine and Sam Wilson/Falcon as two heroes who are both in different sides with Col. Rhodes being in agreement with the accords and Wilson on the opposite as he also has to contend with Bucky over Rogers’ allegiance in a funny manner. Emily Van Camp is wonderful as Sharon Carter as a former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who works for the CIA as she tries to help Rogers find Barnes while providing an emotional connection as it relates to a person in Rogers’ past. Paul Bettany is terrific as Vision who tries to understand what the accord is about as he would participate in aiding Stark while trying to come to terms with the ideas of humanity as well as the fact that there are consequences.

Elizabeth Olsen is amazing as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch as a young woman with telekinetic powers who copes with an incident where she accidentally killed people as she also deal with the idea of authority where she sides with Rogers. Paul Rudd is hilarious as Scott Lang/Ant-Man who is asked by Rogers to aid them where he provides some very funny and exciting moments in the battle while Jeremy Renner is great as Clint Barton/Hawkeye who helps Rogers in the conflict as well as provide some funny banter of his own. Chadwick Boseman is marvelous as T’Challa/Black Panther as a prince who goes after Barnes over an incident as he sports a suit with cool nails as he proves to be a formidable warrior that can kick some ass. Scarlett Johansson is remarkable as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow as an assassin who is conflicted in her allegiance with Stark as she also understand what Rogers is feeling as she also realizes that not everything Stark wants to do is honorable.

Tom Holland is phenomenal as Peter Parker/Spider-Man as he’s just this regular teenager who is smart that is asked by Stark to help him where Holland exudes not just a lot of personality but also humor into his role as he is just a lot of fun to watch. Sebastian Stan is sensational as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier as Rogers’ old friend who copes with who he really is as well as knowing what could make him into this deadly assassin that couldn’t stop where he also is aware that is a target for something he didn’t do. Robert Downey Jr. is tremendous as Tony Stark/Iron Man as a man who is dealing with guilt and other issues who agrees to the accords while trying to stop Rogers and capture Barnes where revelations about Barnes would consume him. Finally, there’s Chris Evans in a spectacular performance as Steve Rogers/Captain America as a man who opposes the accords due to his distrust towards governments where he also copes with loss and responsibility where he also tries to protect his friend not fully aware of what Barnes had done forcing him to see the faults in himself.

Captain America: Civil War is a sensational film from Joe and Anthony Russo. Thanks in part to its large ensemble cast, compelling themes of regulations and responsibility, vast set pieces, and killer action. It’s a blockbuster film that manages to be a lot of things and more where it is entertaining as well as being very smart and provoke some discussions towards its audience without being heavy-handed. In the end, Captain America: Civil War is a phenomenal film from Joe and Anthony Russo.

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Infinity Saga: Phase One Films: Iron Man - The Incredible Hulk - Iron Man 2 - Thor - Captain America: The First Avenger - The Avengers

Marvel Phase Two Films: Iron Man 3 - Thor: The Dark World - Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Guardians of the Galaxy - The Avengers: Age of Ultron - Ant-Man

Marvel Phase Three Films: Doctor Strange - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - Spider-Man: Homecoming - Thor: Ragnarok - Black Panther - Avengers: Infinity War - Ant-Man & the Wasp - Captain Marvel - Avengers: Endgame - Captain Marvel - Spider-Man: Far from Home

Multiverse Saga: Phase Four: Black Widow (2021 film) - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten RingsEternalsSpider-Man: No Way HomeDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of MadnessThor: Love and ThunderWerewolf by Night - Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Phase Five: Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3The Marvels – (Deadpool 3) - (Captain America: Brave New World)

Phase 6: (Thunderbolts) – (Blade (2024 film)) - (Fantastic Four (2024 film)) – (Avengers: The Kang Dynasty) – (Avengers: Secret Wars)

Related: MCU is Cinema: Pt. 1 - Pt. 2 - Pt. 3Pt. 4 – (Part 5) – (Part 6) – (Part 7) - The MCU: 10 Reasons Why It Rules the World

© thevoid99 2016


Henry Chamberlain said...

I still want to see this.

Brittani Burnham said...

Great review! The only thing I disagree with is Emily VanCamp's performance, I find her quite bland, but I'm glad you singled out Daniel Bruhl. He's in an easy position to be forgotten about in this film, but he really was great even if he was a behind the scenes type villain. I can't wait to see this again.

Zach Murphy said...

Great review. This movie was loads of fun, as well as compelling with its conflict and themes.

- Zach

thevoid99 said...

@Henry Chamberlain-See it when you get the chance and make sure it is with a big audience which makes it more fun.

@Brittani-Bruhl was underrated as I liked his character arc a lot as well as his own motivations as I hope he is seen again only to get his ass kicked.

@Zach Murphy-Thank you. This is what a blockbuster superhero film should be. Yeah, it is entertainment but you need a story for people to be invested in as well as raise questions about themes that can get people talking.

Unknown said...

This movie fires on all cylinders and I really felt that it was the movie AGE OF ULTRON wanted to be but just couldn't quite be (and I really liked it!). I think it helps that all the CAP movies have the same screenwriting duo and so there's a consistency of vision and of themes.

thevoid99 said...

@J.D. Lafrance-Agreed. Joss Whedon admitted to why Age of Ultron didn't really work as I'm sure the Russo brothers had a clearer idea of what to do as well as what the writers would do for the film which made it very enjoyable as I also liked the fact that we get to know some of the characters a bit more.

rhysgdrury said...

Great review. I really loved this movie. Such an amazing balancing act of how they handled the various characters and subplots. I wasn't sold on Bruhl at first, but the more I think back, I more I liked that his character was more reserved. Even he had a justifiable reason behind his work, which makes the whole plot that little bit more compelling :)

thevoid99 said...

@rhysgdrury-Thank you. I think the credit should to go to the writers for finding ways to bring in many characters and also give them something to do and make us care for them. Even with Zemo as you understand why he hates the Avengers and being someone that was quite evil but not in a physical way but rather emotionally and mentally.

Dell said...

Yes, there is quite a bit of post-9/11 imagery and angst at play, here. And it all works. It doesn't beat us over the head with it like Batman v Superman. It really is the better movie in every aspect. And Black Panther kicks lots of ass.

ruth said...

Glad we agree on this Steven. The more I think about it the more I like this one and I think the Russos did a smashing job capping off the trilogy. I didn't like Emily VanCamp at all though, that kissing thing was a low point though the moment Bucky and Sam gave him the thumbs up was funny.

thevoid99 said...

@Wendell-I didn't see Batman v Superman as I'll wait for it on HBO though I'm sure it wouldn't be very good. This however was fun and yes, Black Panther is the bomb and I'm definitely eager for his solo film. I hope Ryan Coogler gets to put in some ideas that will be cool and if that works, I smell $$$$$$ and lot of kids wanting to be Black Panther.

@ruth-Bucky and Sam bickering was fun. That could be a short film of its own. Emily VanCamp isn't Hayley Atwell and I was really bummed about Peggy Carter but I am glad that VanCamp at least can kick some ass. Plus, I kinda prefer Steve with Natasha as Chris has better chemistry with Scarlett.