Sunday, 15 May 2016

Review: Captain America - Civil War (second-pass)





Captain America: Civil War (2D / second-pass / VAGUE-SPOILERS)
Cert: 12A / 147 mins / Dir. Joe Russo & Anthony Russo / Trailer



Well, this isn't the first time I've seen a Marvel movie for the second time, but it's probably the first where I've left it for two weeks between initial viewings. That wasn't completely intentional, but I'd definitely made a point of not rushing back within 48 hours of the original midnight screening. As much as I'd loved Civil War (and after a second-pass, I still do), I have to admit that the spark of urgency to go straight back just wasn't there. Maybe I'd essentially 'got everything' the first time? Maybe I'd been (uncharacteristically) fatigued after an eight-hour cinema marathon? Or maybe I just know that the film will almost certainly be screened as part of future double/triple bills, and I've finally realised that this cinema-run won't be my only chance to see the movie*1. To a greater or lesser degree, it was all of these things which led to the delay; so what would I make of Cap's third solo-outing once the dust had settled..?

Well, first and foremost I stand by my previous assertion that Civil War is too damned long. more to the point, it's too long with not enough downtime in the pacing and is trying to cover too many in-universe story-threads, like some spandex-wielding soap-opera. As great as both characters are, Black Panther and Spider-Man don't need to be part of the 'Sokovia Accords' storyline, and their inclusion creates detours which offer no breathing space from the main narrative. I'm very much looking forward to their respective standalone movies, but I think making these before their induction into the Avengers would have benefitted Civil War greatly.

One thing which tickled me was that Steve Rogers writes Tony Stark a letter toward the end of the film; an actual handwritten letter. Not only is this a subtle callback to Roosevelt's pen from earlier, it also shows that after everything which has happened since he awoke in the present-day, either a) Rogers still doesn't quite get digital communication, so doesn't trust it, or b) Rogers understands digital communication only too well, so doesn't trust it. It's a lovely bit of character building that takes less than a minute and says more than any amount of explosions and broken glass.

It also occurred to me that Scarlet Witch and Vision seem to be getting short shrift in terms of screen-time. The seeds of the relationship which were planted towards the end of Age of Ultron are barely even watered here, never mind nurtured. Let me get this straight, Marvel, you've got an emotionally conflicted young woman who can use magic (actual magic, mind), forming an emotional and spiritual bond with a naive, space-gem-powered robot… and you made a two and a half hour movie about a contract dispute? Hey, I love admin more than the average cinema-goer, but even I want to see more of Wanda and Vision's development, thanks.

But all this says more about me than the film, I think. I seem to have reached the point where, much like Star Wars, I can love each MCU installment almost unconditionally, while still picking holes in the overall thing. And 'overall' probably describes my approach to enjoying Civil War. The film adds progression and detail to the ongoing saga, but the largely unresolved tensions within the Avengers and amount of storyline plate-spinning mean that I enjoy this as a background piece, rather than a standout feature (and that's never been the MCU's style, so far).

I wouldn't class Captain America: Civil War as 'filler' by any means, but it's certainly a sort of continuity-admin. And like I said, I love admin…



So, watch this if you enjoyed?
The MCU, to be fair. This film is not a starting point for the new inductee.


Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
If you can, do.


Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
It sets out to do slightly too much, but largely achieves what it can, yes.


Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Jury's still out on that one.


Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Probably not..


Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Fairly sure I heard half a Wilhelm buried in there, but that could be projection on my part.


Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: Well, pretty much all of the Avengers here who've been in previous movies in the timeline did so alongside Sam 'Windu' Jackson, but let's go for Black Panther himself, Chadwick Boseman who appears in the upcoming Gods of Egypt, as does Bruce 'Tion Medon' Spence.

And while I'm on the subject, I studied the poster for Gods of Egypt for about a minute whilst standing in a cinema foyer yesterday, and I think I've already written the review of the film in my head…


And if I HAD to put a number on it…


*1 Although don't bother trying to remind me of that when Rogue One lands this December and I'm putting in more hours at my local cinema than some of the staff...

DISCLAIMERS:
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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