Hey, You Wanna See Something Cool?
“Wow, it’s so weird how you run into people at the airport. Don’t you think that’s weird?” – Iron Man.
“Sometimes I wanna punch you in your perfect teeth” – Tony Stark.
Ever since Tony insisted that everything special about the Cap “came out of a bottle” (during that infamous spat in the first Avengers movie), it seemed inevitable that these two really would put on their suits and go a few rounds.
It takes the pressing matter of the Sokovia Accords – a UN-agreed charter devised to hold all enhanced individuals accountable for their actions, especially in heavily built-up areas anywhere around the world – to finally open up their differences, question their objectives and split their team allegiances.
The first two Captain America movies were extremely enjoyable, a couple of the MCU’s finest, IMO, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier as runaway contender for the most sleek and sophisticated comic book movie EVER produced. So expectations for this outing seemed too dangerous to run up too high.
Captain America: Civil War, happily, almost miraculously, delivers on all accounts.
It’s amazing to see Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr): the resident rogue become a dour conformist, and Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans): the soldier expected to do things by the book decide to defy this hefty tome.
It has to be said that right from the beginning – that thrilling action set-piece in Lagos – to its dramatic denouement, there is hardly a dull moment in this movie. Evans and Downey Jr are exceptional as the main characters. Aww, what the heck, in such a bulging ensemble pic, nobody puts a foot (or a fist!) wrong.
Special mention must go to Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely who have once again crafted an amazing screenplay. And, of course, Joe and Anthony Russo have succeeded – almost effortlessly – in directing another gripping instalment in the saga of Steve Rogers: America’s first Avenger.
“They’re not stopping!”
“Neither are we.”
“A pinch of paprika… a pinch?” – The Vision.
The Vision in a V-neck.
Of all Civil War’s pre-release promotional images, that is the one that grabbed my attention the most. (It harks back to his dapper moments in the original Avengers comics). Vision has always been my fave Avenger (as you can see here) so, not surprisingly, news of his participation in this movie was closely – if a tad apprehensively – followed.
What a relief: Paul Bettany’s performance and the portrayal of this synthozoid here, is faithful to how this extraordinary character was depicted in the comics.
One question though: just how deep into the Earth’s core does Wanda actually fire him?!
Naturally, everyone is gushing over that MAIN EVENT at the airport. When you all compile your Top 10 Best MCU fights, will the fact that it is practically ALL digitally animated affect its eventual place? There are one or two moments that give the artificiality away, but the sequence contains some of the most enjoyable – onscreen comic book action you are ever likely to see.
And it even got this ol’ CGI-phobe to marvel (geddit?!) at its technical wizardry.
Equally stunning is Tony’s introductory scene: with his parents in 1991 via Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing (BARF – yeah, Tony, you’re really gonna have to work on that acronym, fella). The FX department really put the Jr into Robert Downey Jr!
“Be nice, dear, he’s been studying abroad.”
Really? Which broad? What’s her name?”
“Can you move your seat up?” – Bucky Barnes.
Having ignored the intense (like, INTENSE!) brouhaha over the over-used Spider-Man and prepared to tolerate it when it came, Tom Holland’s contribution is actually kinda cool, and not nearly as annoying as it might have seemed.
If our (packed) audience reaction is a reliable indicator, then the scene with Tony Stark spouting about retro-tech and onesies in Peter Parker’s bedroom is easily the movie’s most hilarious. Interestingly, this is Tony at his traditionally wise-cracking best – how we would usually expect to see him.
Holland plays the awkward-teen-cliche rather well, but he still hasn’t engaged my enthusiasm for yet another Spider-Man movie.
But please, spare us the Empire Strikes Back nod. The MCU is a fabulous arena in itself, so doesn’t need to borrow from other great franchises, thanks.
“Really old” movie, huh? Cheeky youngling…
STAY DOWN, kid, or Brad will call your Aunt May!
Hey! It’s Marisa Tomei! So gonna call her anyway…
“…And now, because your friend murdered my father, I also wear the mantle of king. So I ask you, as both warrior and king, how long do you think you can save your friend from me?” – T’Challa.
“So you like cats?”
Well, we sure do in this neck of the MCU. Chadwick Boseman puts in a sterling debut as Wakanda’s own superhero. As both charismatic T’Challa, and suited up as the mysterious Black Panther, he is a welcome addition to the MCU. This bodes well for the Black Panther movie (due in early 2018); if the producers can find writers of Civil War’s calibre, then we should be in for an awesome treat.
Such a shame that a certain juvenile arachnid gets all the attention…
Hey, let’s not forget the GIANT contribution that Ant-Man – another of my all-time faves – puts in. From his startled appearance (in the back of a van) to his toppled finale (on his back!) the Tiniest Avenger won the crowd. Having had reservations concerning the casting of Paul Rudd last year, here his comedic input provides welcome relief amidst the politics and heavy clash of ideologies dominating these proceedings.
“Way to go, Tic-Tac!”
Perhaps the one major gripe about this movie concerns the catalyst for all this infighting himself. Daniel Bruhl as Zemo should have been a threatening – maybe even creepy – villain, but ultimately comes across as quite lacklustre. Where is Mads Mikkelsen when you need him?!
For those hankering for a genuine comic book villain, Crossbones proved to be supercool as well as superbad, but then of course his all-too-early demise (and its inadvertent consequences) is what triggered the Accords in the first place.
Yes! This is a superior Marvel package with some great ingredients: the Falcon, Bucky and the Cap all squeezed into a battered old Volkswagen Beetle (“low profile” – ha!); an amusing Stan Lee cameo; even cooking with Vision and Wanda!
“You remember that time we had to ride back from Rockaway Beach in the back of that freezer truck?”
“Was that the time you used our train money to buy hotdogs?”
“You blew three bucks trying to win that stuffed bear for a redhead.”
“What was her name again?”
“Dolores. You called her Dot.”
“She’s gotta be a hundred years old right now…”
“So are we, pal.”
With so many familiar – and new – character appearances, this feels like an Avengers movie, but in my book, you just can’t have an Avengers movie devoid of Thor!
No, the attention centres on the Cap, and his ol’ buddy from Brooklyn: James “Bucky” Barnes. It’s the interaction between these two pals thrown out of time – especially this touching, personal moment (above) – which, for me, makes this extravaganza soar into Instant Classic status.
This superior mass enhanced individual assault on the senses marks a fantastic introduction to Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
And has got me super-psyched for MORE!
Praising Captain America: Civil War: Brad could do this all day.
Hey, heads up, DC/Warner: THIS is how you make an AWESOME and ENJOYABLE blockbuster!
“You have a metal arm? That is awesome, dude!” – Spider-Man.