Friday, September 16, 2016

Now on Netflix: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Captain America Civil War movie poster
Captain America: Civil War - Directed by Anthony Russo, Joe Russo; Written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely; Starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Daniel Bruhl, Sebastian Stan, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Emily VanCamp, Tom Holland, William Hurt, Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, John Slattery, Hope Davis, Alfre Woodard.

By Kenny Howell

It is a bit of misnomer saying this is a Captain America movie.

This is a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, probably the movie that The Avengers should have been. Because while Captain America is the main focus here, the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier set this up, it is the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe past and future colliding here.

The reason being that the superhero world is at a crossroads. While people are happy to have superheroes protecting them, there is no doubt that the battles they take on, some of which they bring on themselves, has negative effects occasionally on the world. All the movies that have come before have seen some serious damage done to cities, which obviously has innocent civilian casualties.
Because of that, the United Nations is looking to craft some rules to keep these sort of things from happening. Iron Man and a few others are in favor of this because either they agree with it now, or it is going to be forced upon them later. Captain America believes that they should be free to act as they see fit. His fear is that something is going to happen, and he will feel like he needs to help, but he will be ordered to stand down.

That starts a rift among The Avengers, and each gather some reinforcements to fight for their cause. And when I say reinforcements, it is basically everyone that has been in a Marvel movie in the last 10 years (minus Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy for some reason), plus some newcomers who will have their own movies soon in Spider-Man (his previous movies were not part of Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Black Panther.

With all that jam packed into this it could seem bloated, like Avengers: Age of Ultron. But while there is a bit of that, directors Anthony and Joe Russo know how to strike that balance. They are masters of it in other ways as well. They are equally adept at giant action set pieces as they are at keeping a story both deep and engrossing, as well as being fun. That is something the DC films, as well as a few Marvel ones, have failed at doing. This film is essentially about state's rights within a larger governing body, and that is a heady argument for a film with superheroes punching each other repeatedly. It also focuses, although slightly on the world around the superheroes, and how their actions affect the everyday lives of the humans among them. The Russo brothers discuss these topics thoroughly, but don't let it slow the action down.

Captain America: Civil War almost works as a reset button for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. It kind of wraps up everything up until this point, and gets you ready for what's next. With the roll they have been on lately, especially in the Captain America films, it seems promising.

Captain America: Civil War is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: ***1/2

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