Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the highly-anticipated blockbuster Captain America: Civil War. Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from trailers and the odd Internet clip.
Well, dear Reader(s), I've got good news and bad news. The good news is Civil War is a pretty great movie.
The bad news is it doesn't even come close to the masterpiece that preceded it, Captain America: The Winter Soldier. To justify my disappointment, I'll be making some comparisons...not, as regular reader(s) might expect of me, to that *other* costumed hero grudge match movie that came out a few weeks back, but rather to some of Cap's Marvel stablemates.
There are a good many positives here, though, so let's get started with some of those. This cast is a gift. Most everyone is a fantastic talent in his or her own right, and the chemistry among them is extraordinary. Stoic and steely-eyed Chris Evans remains the perfect embodiment of our all-American hero, and is 100% effective in selling Steve Rogers' Boy Scoutish worldview. Sebastian Stan is incredible, but, while he has more screen time this outing, he unfortunately seems to have fewer opportunities to really showcase his skills.
Disappointing. A longtime Stan-Fan must be forgiven for being a little over-enthusiastic about the Captain America movies, as they're pretty much the only decent movies this gifted actor ever makes.
The other returning Avengers are solid as always, and newcomers Tom Holland, Daniel Bruhl, and especially Chadwick Boseman all turn in terrific performances. Those are some BIG impact moments when Black Panther and Spider-Man turn up; electricity rolls through the room like a lightning strike. Civil War includes so many Marvel favorites it's jokingly been called "Avengers 2.5," yet it never shortchanges its titular hero, a remarkable feat in its own right.
Much like The Winter Soldier before it, Civil War opens the action with a massive, complicated sequence that's as much espoinage as ass-kicking, and the overall scope of things leaves some dodgy CGI quickly forgotten. There are plenty of one-liners to go around, and the story itself is engaging, if not as smart or interesting as its predecessor. On the downside, permit me to copy and paste from a hundred previous reviews: This movie is TOO. DAMN. LONG. No excuse for this thing exceeding two hours, certainly it should never run longer than 2:15.
Civil War needs some serious editing, and I don't mean by taking a hacksaw to entire scenes, I mean, as always, by using an Xacto knife to trim it to a sharper, more manageable whole. Civil War gives the original Avengers a run for its money in the battle fatigue department, and much of the fight choreography isn't even all that interesting, particularly by comparison to the stellar Lumerian Star sequence in CATWS. The movie's humor also misses the mark a bit too often.
Unlike Guardians of the Galaxy, which expertly rides a fine line between brilliant and so-goofy-it's-actually-brilliant, Civil War often shoehorns silliness into scenes where it fits poorly with both mood and content.
The deadpan wit of Tony Stark and Sam Wilson always sets well, but Peter Parker, and, to a much lesser degree, Scott Lang, are jarringly stupid at all the wrong times. By comparison to the Winter Soldier, even Henry Jackman's score feels like it's missing something.
Captain America: Civil War runs 146 minutes, and is rated PG13 for "extended sequences of violence, action, and mayhem." It's not a perfect movie, but if you bring those expectations down just a smidge, Civil War is a fun, action-packed bit of brain candy.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Captain America: Civil War gets eight.
Until next time...