Marvel films used to be plain fun. That was phase one. The goofiness started disappearing as time passed and then the Russo brothers made a close to a masterpiece movie with The Winter Soldier. They don’t disappoint. Nor did I expect them to.
I still cannot understand how these guys make this film work. It has dozens of characters and storylines weaved into it and yet each character got enough screen time and developed. Moreover, this is a Captain America movie, not Avengers 2.5 as one would think when counting the amount of people in it. There was so much that could have gone wrong and yet nothing did.
Perhaps, it’s because the directors have history with sitcoms. There, you need work with an ensemble cast and need each character to have their subplot, not unlike here. You have Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Ant-man, Spiderman, Falcon, War Machine, Black Panther, and a plethora of others. They are all fleshed out.
The action is hands-down one of the best things about this movie. I had some gripes about it in The Winter Soldier, mainly because there were too many cuts. Anthony and Joe Russo have surely listened to some of the few criticisms people had with it. In fact, they even went out and got the directors of John Wick, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, to help them as second unit directors. The end result is action with such phenomenal choreography and energy to it that following films, not just Infinity Wars, have to live up to. Everyone talks with great enthrallment about the 17-minute airport sequence, and for a good reason. This is the best one in a Marvel film to date. No, it’s on par with the best action scenes in the history of film.
The plot is really well thought-out and everything makes perfect sense. However, what’s refreshing is the fact that if you rip all the superhero elements away, you still have a very human and personal story that is emotionally investing and as a viewer you care about everyone.
Instead of destroying yet another city, causing damage for tens of billions of dollars, the film is built around the aftermath of such events. After Sokovia, there has been a lot of controversy as to whether superheroes should have the freedom to act whenever they like, or come under the umbrella of an international oversight panel which will decide what they do, where they’ll go, etc. Personally, I was—and still am—divided and didn’t know where I stand. Everyone has their own opinion on the matter and stands by it.
Throwing one-liners that rarely land isn’t what the Russo brothers do; neither is creating a drab film that no entertainment value to it. What they excel at is telling a great, enticing story commingled with smart dialogue and jokes that work while having a grounded and gritty tone. The witty comments thrown around are spot-on and sound like actual lines that people would say in real life. The directors devote enough time to have every character do something prominent (although I can never have enough of Scarlet Witch) because there are always people who have gone to see the film because they want to see their favourite, even if he or she has little screen time. This appeals to the general audience as well as to the comic-book lovers.
Captain America: Civil War is a refreshing take on the superhero movie where emotions are more conspicuous than explosions and overused tropes of the genre. It is quintessentially about guilt, agony, revenge, betrayal and friendship.
9 out of 10 stars
Here is my video review: