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Old 05-06-2016, 01:10 AM   #293
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Default Re: Users Rate & Review Civil War (TAG Spoilers!)

For a long time, the 3rd movie in a superhero franchise was a hurdle simply no franchise could cross. Even some of the ones we would argue being more successful than others, like The Dark Knight Rises or Iron Man 3, are still looked at by the majority as the low points of those franchises. The newest franchise to hit the mark was the Captain America franchise. Even when the release slot for the film was announced, it was met with controversy, being seen as a clear sign of war from Marvel to DC against their own similarly themed superhero film this year. Skinny Steve Rogers became the little guy that could beat the impossible, and today is one of those days where as a life long fan of the character, I am pleased to say the Captain once again did the impossible: it is the first superhero film to beat the 3rd film curse, delivering what is not only a 3rd film that doesn't suck, it equals and in some ways, improves on the prior installments.

Where did so many others go wrong? There have been many answers to this. Movies like Superman III, Batman Forever, and X-Men: The Last Stand heavily shifted creative team and tone for the worse. Spider-Man 3 was brought down by the sheer number of plot lines and villains. Iron Man 3 presented us with a divisive vision of certain characters and various plot points. The Dark Knight Rises just ended up feeling like a rehashed mixture of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. So, where did Captain America: Civil War succeed where all these contenders failed? Well, this movie does in many ways feel like Captain America's 2nd movie, given the 1st entry was a WWII based movie that took place in an entirely different era. This was also the 2nd movie the Russos worked on. But I think the core answer is that the Russos looked at where they took Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and expanded upon it. Sure, they go bigger and more epic, but the do so in a way that is organic to where the series was going. Bravo to the Russos for avoiding the pitfalls of the past, and showing a way to use the “bigger and better” method without it feeling forced and interrupting the core point of the series.

Going into the film, my biggest worry was as the cast continued to expand and promise more Avengers characters, I worried Captain America would become a secondary character much the way Michael Keaton's Batman did to the villains in the Tim Burton films. I had hope this wouldn't happen given how masterfully the Russos juggled plot lines in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and they succeed at it once again. The film is most certainly a Captain America film, and Captain America shines as the main protagonist. While prior installments focused on what Captain America's role in the modern times were, we see a Captain America who knows who he is, what he means to society, and he knows what his decisions mean to the world, and like Steve always does, he fights for what he thinks is right and best for the world. Chris Evans manages to bring out Steve Rogers the man, and Steve Rogers, the symbol, so well in these films. He truly embodies Captain America like Robert Downey Jr embodies Tony Stark. On the subject of Tony Stark, bravo to the Russos for using Iron Man in a role that didn't hijack the movie, continued his arc organically, and taking the character into a very interesting direction. Stark never feels like a true villain (like he did in the comic) and you can understand exactly where Stark is coming from, even if he doesn't weild the power of the protagonist to the same degree we are used to.

I'm not going to go into individual breakdowns of all the Avengers, but you really cannot watch this without discussing two new comers in particular: Black Panther and Spider-Man. Let's start with Spider-Man. Much needed to be done after the prior Spider-Man films tarnished the brand. He needed a make over, and Marvel Studios get him right. This Peter Parker feels like Peter Parker in a way I never felt Andrew Garfield ever did, and he captured Spider-Man in a way I feel Tobey Maguire never did. He is like, a perfect melding of the two, and I look forward to seeing him some more. But, outside of Captain America and Iron Man, the true standout of this movie is Black Panther. Boseman nails the character, and the Russos use him perfectly in the story. His arc of vengeance and blood lust ties into the theme perfectly, and he steals much of the movie whenever he is on screen. If you were not excited for the Black Panther solo before, this will change most people's minds. The new faces add much to the movie, and the familiar ones get moments to shine all throughout.

As always with Marvel, it is not always a question of what we're watching now, but we're always looking at the future. Captain America: Civil War shakes the foundation of the Avengers, and there are many questions to be asked of the direction the team will take in future films and how the Sokovia Accords will effect other solos coming up in the very near future in the lead up to the battle against Thanos (in particular for me, how this will effect Ant-Man and the Wasp), but that is part of the fun with the shared universe and time will tell on those points. For the time being, let's enjoy what we got here. Captain America: Civil War is one of Marvel's finest films. I don't want to call it the best yet, as I would like to see it again before making that judgment call. But, my first impression is that this movie deserves all the accolades, the money, and this has cemented Captain America as not just a proud franchise, but the BEST superhero trilogy to date. At least, in my eyes it is.

Overall Rating - 5/5

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