Captain America Civil War

Captain America Civil War | Cap is back with his Avengers teammates in a film that also prominently features Iron Man and new faces from the Marvel Universe.  Along with his friend Bucky/The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers aka Captain America is now the leader of the Avengers and must track an impending threat that could ignite a global disaster.  However he also must deal with the possibility of losing his team in a discord over UN pressure to register and manage The Avengers missions and activities.  A music editorial treatment from West Coast Midnight Run with the music influence of M83, Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren and Ruelle, starring Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Sebastian Stan. Scarlett Johansson, Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Mackie and Elizabeth Olsen.



Look for our upcoming multi-piece music video editorial series and film review on Captain America Civil War starring Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr.  In the meantime you can also look at our previous efforts with Iron Man 3, Captain America The Winter Soldier, The Avengers and and The Avengers Age of Ultron.

CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR MOVIE REVIEW

For many superheroes and comic books fans this year must have seemed like the best thing ever in a long, long time, perhaps as long ago as the premiere of the fabled Star Wars in 1977 or Superman The Movie in 1978.

Notwithstanding the X-Men films that are typically ensemble casts and feature many superheroes tussling and stumbling over each other on their way to doing away with the bad guys, Captain America Civil War, Batman v Superman and the upcoming X Men Apocalypse are the biggest superhero festival of all time, bringing together the most in characters and costumes in any year since Cinema came into being,

Two of these superheroes movies, Captain America Civil War and Batman v Superman involve showdowns and bad blood between the good guys.  We've seen the X-Men give each other a wrinkled nose or a shiner once in a while, however the focus of these two major movies representing the biggest franchises in comics book history is completely new for the film market.

The portrayals of superhero teams falling out or disbanding is common fare in their respective comic books histories.  What is new and interesting is the excitement from fans and critics about this new cinematic chapter in action and adventure.

For many older moviegoers, the standard for superhero movies was Warner Brothers' 1978 Superman.  One that was reinforced by the success and extreme popularity of Superman II.  Yet the mantle of superhero depiction on the big screen ended up to all appearances to have been contested, and won on many occasions, by newcomer Marvel and a team of partner filmmakers, bringing together a diverse set of talents from different studios.  The collaboration made each entry of Marvel superheroes different in personality and texture, creating incidental depth of character from different scriptwriters and film directors.  Marvel invested different superheroes under license to several competing movie studios including Fox, Disney, Paramount and Universal Pictures.

The overall universe of Marvel superhero film adventures was uneven in quality and production skills, yet the entire body of work gave the superhero genre moviegoer the opportunity to enjoy different styles and characters that strayed away from the repetitive syndrome of bland and deja vu.

The ultimate effort culminated with Disney/Marvel's first Avengers movie team-up.  By all accounts it was a complete crowd-pleaser that drew the studio into making its sequel, The Avengers versus Ultron, a film for many that fell below its predecessor's achievements.

Disney, for better or worse, reshaped the third Captain America into the third Avengers movie.  Make no mistake, although Captain America is featured front and center in most of the scenes, this movie is Captain America solely by name, the panoply of the Marvel characters featured and the extent of scenes extended to the "guest" characters mark this film as an Avengers sequel to Ultron.



Captain America locks horns with Iron Man in response to efforts to regulate superhero collateral damage and create some form of accountability to planetary leaders.  The complexity of the storyline may hold intrigue to very young audiences and may stretch their thinking along new axes of how the real world operates.  However for older and adult audiences the premise is outright silly and derisive.

It is difficult for adult moviegoers to sit through this thin plot of global governments and top leadership being anything more than grateful to our heroes for saving the planet from disasters that could have entirely wiped off the species or completely remodeled the landscape.  The amount of collateral damage is minimal compared to the danger and destruction that could take place if our heroes did not intervene in each instance cited at the Avengers headquarters with Captain America presiding over the meeting with the Secretary of State (portrayed by William Hurt).  Yes amusingly the Secretary of State looks genuinely hurt in having to bring these issues to the table.

If this had been a movie with adult superheroes, they would sit the next menace out and let the planet take the devastation up its collective gizzard before the UN convenes, apologizes and begs our heroes to risk life and limb in making life overall better for all.

But no, in this Avengers movie, the storyline that drives a wedge between our team feels concocted and uncharacteristic of our heroes, their previous lines of behavior and strength of character.

Iron Man ego issues is out of control, from a man who is a genius by all counts, a glib salesman and celebrity, with tremendous showmanship, a private military contractor by definition one who would be wary of governmental bureaucracies and manipulative agendas, one who witnessed first hand how corrupt agencies can manipulate appearances and public opinions.  Iron Man aka Tony Stark is no stranger to how media can be used to play public perception.  We've seen him in scenes with Potter talking media blitz and campaigns for his clean energy technologies.  The success of Stark Industries and his father in building the business with the U.S Military and selling to foreign governments would not happen in the hands of a gullible, naive or trusting corporate leadership.  Civil War's storyline repackages the character of Tony Stark into the complete opposite of his previous portrayals in four Marvel movies.



Stark/Iron Man should have been the first to stand by Captain America's call to oppose the "Sokovia Accords" as called in the movie.  In fact you would expect the soldier, Captain America, to go along, and for Iron Man to be critical and suspicious.  But for reasons unknown the roles are massaged and emasculated out of character.

And let's not forget that in Ultron, Iron Man's judgment fell sorely short and was bereft of critical scientific rigor when he lies to Thor and attempts to play God with alien technology that was beyond the scope of a team of scientists at SHIELD.  Tony Stark's failures in Ultron should have by all counts been a blow to his super sized ego and when his actions were contested by some of his teammates at their meeting, he should have been the first to question his own conclusions and line of reasoning.  Instead the character of Tony Stark emerges closer to the bad guys, obstinate, self assured, mega size ego, unwilling to compromise or trust his teammates' judgment.

Tony Stark is not a professional soldier and according to him and Nick Fury, Captain America is the soldier in the team (along with his double Winter Soldier) and should he question the government or any confab of foreign governments on gut instinct, that should have rung alarm bells for all of the team members.

What is also odd about this movie is how easily Stark pits himself and "his team" against those who fought and risked their lives alongside his.  In retrospect you would wonder if Iron Man is even a superhero and not a technology genius and businessman who felt obligated to be a hero from a guilty conscience.

The character whose portrayal rings most true to previous depictions is Black Widow.  The writers retain the character's dubious disposition towards spy agencies and shady government dealings.  Of course Scarlett Johansson's portrayal is on top and she gets some very cool lines to play in this film.




THE AVENGERS TEAM OPENS ITS WINGS FAR AND WIDE

Uncharacteristically, and depending on your viewpoint, Civil War is either showing fatigue and lack of originality (or just the opposite) as the 12th movie in the Marvel franchise when the writers are unable to whip snappy dialogue and storylines for its established characters and primary heroes of the film. The best moments and most interesting scenes belong to the secondary guest superheroes in this adventure, new to the Avengers; Spiderman, Ant-Man and Black Panther.  While Tom Holland is so-so as Peter Parker, he explodes on the screen as Spiderman and delivers trademark action and humor, textbook Spidey acrobatics and whimsy from the two previous series starring Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield.  

However the interactions are so atypical when set against the rumble between Iron Man, Captain America, Falcon and all the others, that his actions stand out amongst the most spectacular and entertaining of the group.  

Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther is a complete unknown and new character introduction and has substantial screen time and presence in this movie.  The character displays a strong contrast to Don Cheadle's Colonel Rhodes and Chris Evans's Captain America.  Black Panther's civilian's persona is a tad stiff and stereotypical, and vaguely reminiscent of Eddie Murphy's Coming to America.  For someone with his credentials, Black Panther displays glaring lapses in character judgment.

The surprise act in this movie is Ant Man (Paul Rudd) whose teeny weensy hero goes ape on everyone and outdoes Spiderman's spectacular sequences.  Scott Lang and Ant Man are possibly the most entertaining pieces in this movie and quite unexpectedly so.

We get to find out a lot more about Sebastian Stan's Winter Soldier, whose story threads through all of the pieces of the movie and leads this installment to its customary cliffhanger ending, promising the viewer another adventure in the making.  Winter Soldier and Black Panther have a series of scenes in which they pair up and the action is top notch.

Most notably missing is The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and of course the superhero that wields powers almost equal to Superman's (without vulnerabilities to Kryptonite), Thor.  Too many superheroes for the Russo directors to fit in two and a half hour movie?  Or would these two's presence have made the entire showdown premise unfeasible due to the scale of their superpowers?  Checkmate from the Gate? Would Thor allow government of Earth to dictate his actions, he is charged by Asguard's King with overseeing the safety of Earth as a god, a super being.  Thor's will and course of action would never acquiesce to the storyline of signing accords by Earth governments.  Or perhaps the story would be about agreements to be rendered null and void at the next fork in the road when action and adventure is afoot?

Perhaps the filmmakers held back the Hulk and Thor to bring them into play in the next installments of the Avengers, but what would really spice up the game is if the producers were to team up the X Men with The Avengers.  Now these two groups have a completely different vibe and beat and their collaboration might produce a truly original set of adventures for the Avengers and their fans.




COMPARISONS TO BATMAN V SUPERMAN

Many leading film critics have attempted to draw comparison lines between Civil War and Batman v Superman.  The comparisons are entirely inaccurate and unfair would be an understatement.

Civil War takes place several adventures after these superhero characters have participated in cinematic crossover adventures and in two Avengers movies.  The Avengers has already been formed and the superheroes ready to bash each other are already part of the same team who have pulled off impossible missions together.  The schism and conflict, the humor and friendships on display in the movie, the dialogue and interplay the writers can use to manipulate the situation and entertain the audience are completely different from the face-off in DC Comics' Batman v Superman where two super heroes have never met before and the Justice League has not been formed as of yet.  Of course Batman v Superman is much darker in tone and style than the "lighthearted" Captain  America Civil War.  The team that becomes the beacon of light for redressing wrongs and inequity in the DC Universe has not happened yet.  

So the dynamics of the battle between Batman and Superman are in an entirely different realm than those affecting our heroes in Civil War and for the viewer that has been following the adventures of both DC Comics and Marvel, this comparison entertained in the media weeks ahead of Civil War, becomes annoying as you watch the movie and the discrepancies click in.  The alledged "superiority" by reviewers of Captain America Civil War over Batman v Superman is also misplaced.  These are two different and separate films in story structure, style and tone.

Be what it may, this Captain America/Avengers movie is no worse or no better than other Marvel efforts.  It may have its flaws in story and characterization but it also has many moments that critics have applauded and cheered.  The joy and camaraderie, ooops, well the camaraderie is still there despite the fighting between friends turned foes.  

I lingered outside the theater to observe random audience reactions and the younger moviegoers seemed to eat up the fun and adventure while many of the grown ups and older audiences sported that tell-tale smile and off-hand comments denoting lesser enthusiasm for this effort.

Let's just say that overall Captain America Civil War is a treat, one of the better installments from Marvel that falls shy of surpassing the first Avengers team up from Disney.  Civil War definitely exceeds the fun and entertainment quotient delivered by the first Captain America adventure.



All content © 2016 for West Coast Midnight Run™
and Citadel Consulting Group LLC.  All rights reserved.

Comments

gotta hand it to your team, couldn't find the review in the science fiction section, what happened you moved this one up to a less crowded space? and it got reviewed by Pat Benatar?  Wow was she sporting bangs, boots and spike laced collar around her neck?  I might have misplaced my own Quinn somewhere after she ditched me for the pretty boys.  Are you gonna feature patty Pat in one of your publication's pieces or she is just working behind the scenes?  Tell Disney I said Braaaaavo, just bravo top notch workmanship on this one.  Clap Clap Clap.

Chris is hotter than ever and there is all kind of sweeties to choose from.  These dudes are hotter than the two meager runway boys in Batman v Superman and Ben Affleck is a more mature tastee.  Thumbs up all the way for C.A.C.W.

I think a more fitting and exciting film would be Batman v Iron Man esp since that last confrontation with the "Man of Steel" wasnt all that satisfying from Bruce's perspective.  He probably still needs someone to take to "Fight Club" night and both Iron Man and Batman are boys with nasty toys, so the match-up would be fantastic and on even terms.  Whaddya think WB and Disney?  The Bat and Iron Man?  Both Bruce and Tony are dudes with super egos and ass-bitch personalities and the off-time outside of the costumes/hardware would make wonderful fun for the writers and the audience.