Saturday, May 14, 2016

Captain America: Civil War - Spoiler free review

I'm a bit late to the game due to a fiasco that happened last weekend. This was supposed to be a bonding event for the Arao twin bros, but unfortunately, competing interests forced me to diss my twin (Sorry, Bro!). Anyway, I knew by hook or by crook, I was definitely watching the movie this weekend, especially after my bro let me know he watched it with his wife earlier today; just label it as some much needed R&R from time at the hospital.

Would've preferred watching a 2D version of this movie, but the only theatre showing it in 2D was in Nyali. I'm also a bit sore that post-BvS, both pairs of my 3D glasses have absconded to Burundi in a friend's purse (ahem, Annabelle), so I had to buy another pair. (Bygones).

So the Junction was my choice du jour. Despite them choosing to have us in a free seating arrangement, the theater wasn't too packed, so I got to grab a great seat.

This movie plays out in the same vein as "Winter Soldier", which is a delightful serious tone. The Bucky/Winter Soldier amalgamation is beautifully exposed, allowing us to appreciate his hard path, as well as question how trustworthy he truly is. Captain America goes from strength to strength, and his sense of loyalty continues to evolve. Upon his introduction in "First Avenger", all he wanted to do was serve, protect the ordinary guy from the an army man. Events have made him more jaded about authority, and now, more than ever, his moral compass is his true boss.

I don't consider myself a Tony Stark/Iron Man fan, but I must admit this was his best characterization ever: less bravado, more maturity. Gone is the ridiculous PTSD Tony storyline that ruined Iron Man 3 (and Avengers 2), and now we have a Tony with a true motivation behind his guilt, shame and surrender towards authority.

Despite the full gallery of supers in this movie (including Falcon, WarMachine, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Vision, Ant Man, Black Panther & Spiderman), this movie is a well put together tour de force. Thankfully, they get to build on mostly pre-introduced heroes, but in addition they fleshed out the rather scant Scarlet Witch & Vision (who sadly missed out in their Avengers 2 outing), and they built up the new arrivals (Black Panther & Spidey).

The chemistry between the heroes is real, and their interaction generates some great humour: Spidey manages to annoy both his team mates and foes in equal measure, joyless Hawkeye and Bucky make for some welcome dry humour, etc. ...And surprisingly, the issues are real too. Marvel typically shields us from the true cost of the supers' heroics because they keep their footage at the heroes' eye level. This movie shows that something totally different happens at ground level below a raging Hulk (allbeit in the course of protecting you from unfriendly aliens) and then some. Finally, a movie that earns its gravitas without having to look like it was dreamed/inspired by a Nolan.

Even the villain has clear well spelled out motivations. Say what you would about Baron Zemo, but by the end of this movie, you'll appreciate how much collateral damage he is able to create while economizing all his resources. He doesn't best brawn with brawn, but rather chips at cracks in the armour. Truly 'Experience and Patience' can achieve a great many things.

I can't say that this movie switched me from my position on 'TeamCap', but I am a bit more sympathetic towards 'TeamIronMan'. I worried that this outing would suffer from "being too big" (like Avengers 2), but those fears were put too rest. It is well scripted, well paced and elegantly developed. On top of that, it's well shot and the action scenes are beautiful. During my viewing, the theater folk erupted when Bucky reinvented a way to swipe and mount a motorcycle in one swift move. Kudos to the stunt team on this movie: they take home the 6th man award. Everyone really looks good doing their superheroics, and even for those who have to be CG-rendered, they still look real and practical. All the battle royales will impress you to no end. There were moments when the crowd let out peals of joy, especially at the end of the movie. I know it's useless to clap at the end of the movie (no one's there to take a bow), but for the heck of it, there I was, led astray to join in the clapping.

I felt emotionally tied to everyone in this film, invested the way you would be with a good friend. The Russo Brothers definitely earned their money's worth with this movie, and I'm looking forward to what they and their team have in store for us.

This movie will not disappoint. It gets an A+ in my books.

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