Captain America: Civil War – Seriously? What an overlong mess this was. I don’t think I’ve looked at my watch so many times during a film.
Note: In this review, there may be what some might consider spoilers. I can’t really discuss my likes/dislikes without going into detail.
Even though Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) started off back in the same time period as Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), here, the film starts in 1991 and the former has been programmed like a sleeper agent to commit something bad, the full ramifications of which will be felt later in what feels more like a rather lame Avengers movie than a ‘Captain America’ one, even though he’s the dominant character.
And that’s part of the problem because, with the Marvel series having story arcs that go throughout the films, you have to watch them all to catch up, and they’re starting to feel like the same film being told over and over. I loved the first Avengers film, for example, but after seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron and now this one, it feels like they’re just rehashing the same movie over and over, without adding anything. And the more they make the same film, the less they have to say.
In mid-fight (do they do anything else?), in the made-up place of Zirkova, the Avengers cause an inadvertent explosion which destroys a building along with all the unfortunates inside, just like Man of Steel did, leading into Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. This leads to the government finally getting fed up of their antics and decides to put them under control, which forms the Zirkova Accords agreement. The Avengers either have to sign it and act only under government approval when they go after bad guys (totally unworkable given how slow governments take to pass a motion on things, and such events REALLY need to be sorted out THAT DAY!), and if they don’t sign it, then they can’t do diddly. We’re told, surprisingly, that 117 countries have approved it.
Given that nearly 200 countries signed up to the money-making hogwash claim about ‘man-made global warming’ last December in Paris (and if it wasn’t hogwash, why would they, and their tens of thousands of delegates and press, all fly there??), you’d think more would put their names down, given what a mess the Avengers normally make.
With some of them going for it, with others abstaining on point of principle, there’s a bombing in Vienna where Bucky is the suspect, but we all know it’s not him. This is a basic misunderstanding, which is eventually sorted out after they’ve all had a – thus, pointless – scrap at Leipzig Airport in Germany, which includes buses and planes going South. And given that most of the team have agreed to reign in their power at Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross’ (William Hurt) request, why would they then just go ahead and smash the place up? It’s just total nonsense!
So, while going rogue, the Captain has to get across to those Avengers NOT on his side about what happened, which involves the Cap and Falcon wearing baseball caps and dark glasses in an attempt to go unseen, plus there’s lots of lots of talking (the film lasts two-and-a-half hours and really doesn’t need to), and Paul Bettany returns as Vision, now taking human-like form and ending up looking like a 6ft beetroot.
Go to page 2 for more good thoughts about this film…
In this film, we get Peggy’s granddaughter Sharon (Emily VanCamp), Chris Evans has impossible muscles, there’s a bit more to the whole Winter Soldier story that was good, and it introduces Spider-Man, so there’s NO need for another complete reboot movie (phew!). It does the same for Black Panther, too, a character I wasn’t familiar with before, and there’s an amusing scene with a very young Robert Downey Jr.
Overall, Captain America: Civl War is *very* predictable. It’s crash/bang/wallop without any form of a story, other than Bucky being treated like the A-Team, being convicted for a crime they didn’t commit – and anything he HAS done can be attributed to what Hydra put him through, so he’s just a pawn in their game.
And in a film that’s far too long, the supposed action all feels simply like they’re going through the motions. It also rarely works when you have two directors in a film, even if they are brothers. Anthony and Joe Russo also directed Captain America’s second outing, The Winter Soldier which, at a score of 5/10, was better than the initial film in the franchise, The First Avenger, which I gave 3/10. I didn’t see either of these until last year, just before watching Avengers: Age of Ultron, hence why there’s no reviews on here for those.
Of all the characters involved, I like Bucky Barnes and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), but most of them just turn up to collect the cheque. In addition, there’s no Thor or Hulk in this one, and it’s topped by a trio of charisma-vacuums in Chris Evans, Paul Rudd and Tom Holland. About the only good thing regarding Spider-Man is Marisa Tomei portraying Aunt May, but I previously commented on the appointment of the sperm of alleged comedian Dominic Holland here.
If you watch the film in regular 2D (as I did) or 3D (in which it wasn’t originally shot – it’s another post-conversion job), the film is presented in 2.35:1 through. The IMAX version has some scenes opening up to 1.90:1, according to IMDB, although the only one I’ve read about is the aforementioned airport fight scene. Given that my local Odeon has a number of screens in the 1.85:1 widescreen ratio as well as 2.35:1, there’s no reason why such a print (even without the extra audio channels that an IMAX print may have) can’t be made available for those, as it would show as 2.35:1 for the rest of the time, only changing to 1.90:1 for the opened-up shots. However, that’s something they tend to sell as an IMAX exclusive. Had they shot it on 70mm in 1.44:1, I may have jumped for that option, but films in digital IMAX are ten-a-penny and it has to be something that really demands the format – and to that end, even the much-derided Transformers: Age of Extinction looked great in IMAX, as the picture opened up a number of times to 1.90:1.
And, of course, make sure you stay for the end credit segments. Like with any Marvel film, you have to stay until the VERY END! There have been many Marvel films, yet STILL people leave before the end, and as there was a mid-credits one too, I saw two people walking out DURING it. WTF?
This time, there are two, around which I’ll wrap a spoiler heading:
Running time: 147 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK
Format: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Panavision, ARRIRAW (3.4K) (6.5K)), 1.90:1 (some scenes: IMAX digital version)
Released: April 29th 2016
Director: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo
Producer: Kevin Feige
Screenplay: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (based on the comic book by Mark Millar, and characters by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby)
Music: Henry Jackman
Steve Rogers / Captain America: Chris Evans
Tony Stark / Iron Man: Robert Downey Jr.
Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow: Scarlett Johansson
Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier: Sebastian Stan
Sam Wilson / Falcon: Anthony Mackie
Lieutenant James Rhodes / War Machine: Don Cheadle
Clint Barton / Hawkeye: Jeremy Renner
T’Challa / Black Panther: Chadwick Boseman
Vision: Paul Bettany
Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch: Elizabeth Olsen
Scott Lang / Ant-Man: Paul Rudd
Sharon Carter: Emily VanCamp
Peter Parker / Spider-Man: Tom Holland
Zemo: Daniel Brühl
Brock Rumlow / Crossbones: Frank Grillo
Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross: William Hurt
Everett K Ross: Martin Freeman
May Parker: Marisa Tomei
King T’Chaka: John Kani
Howard Stark: John Slattery
Maria Stark: Hope Davis
Miriam: Alfre Woodard
MRI Tech: Michael A Cook
Vicar: Laughton Parchment
Karpov: Gene Farber
FedEx Driver: Stan Lee
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.
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