Movie Review: Captain America Civil War

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So this was probably one of the most anticipated movies of the spring, despite the fact that it was up against some intense competition, with Jungle Book and Mother’s Day being strong performers. However, I was pretty sure this one would take the number one spot, as it’s already set records outside the US. And for once, a big budget blockbuster is pleasing critics and hitting all the right notes with audiences.

And it had a lot of notes to hit.

The film opens in 1991, with a frozen Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) being thawed out for another in a series of murderous missions. One after another, the code words needed to activate the killer are spoken: “daybreak … furnace … homecoming … freight car …” Flash forward to present-day Lagos, where an Avengers squad made up of Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) is foiling the theft of a biological weapon. There’s a shit ton of casualties and it all goes downhill for the Avengers from there when they have to submit for government oversight.

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There’s a lot going on, but they managed to balance it pretty well. I never got too confused, despite a cast of what feels like millions. They go through ever doggone country in the world and tie in every other franchise that Joss Wheaton ever read a comic on, and they never stop moving. All the actors blended into their characters, and there’s a lot of characters to keep straight.

But for the most part, I still knew what was going on, because the plot’s pretty straight forward. They don’t want to deal with United Nations regulators telling them what to do, despite the wake of destruction they often leave. It doesn’t become a one sided argument, because it argues the point from both sides. I mean, when you see what they leave behind when they’re being heroic, you can kind of see the government’s point.

“Yeah, guys, you got that lady’s purse back from a mugger, but there were 45 civilian casualties and your caused $85 billion worth of damage to the city. Maybe next time, don’t start with the nuclear option?”

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It all eventually culminates in one of the best battle scenes I’ve ever seen. It should have been confusing, or too much, but it wasn’t. The direction is subtle but the action is perfectly choreographed, which is why I never felt like it was too much, when this movie should be the definition of too much. There’s a method to this madness, and I didn’t even resent the over the top ads for future movies.

The latest offering of Captain America is a misnomer, because it’s got just about every other character you can think of. But it’s extremely well-done to the point where you can follow it easily. It’s controlled chaos and worth the watch. It’s one of those rare movies that’s critic and audience approved and should not be missed.

WE GIVE IT: 4.5 STARS!

four and a half stars

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Movie Review: Captain America – The Winter Soldier (2014)

winter sodier 1Overproduced, Lengthy but Definitely Watchable
3.5 stars
The much anticipated sequel to the first Captain America movie is pleasing critics and killing at the box office. So is the movie living up to its hype? Let’s find out.

The movie starts out after Steve Rogers gets ‘defrosted’ after getting put into a cryogenic sleep following Captain America 1. Not only does Captain America have to fight the bad guys, he also needs to adjust to a new millennium world. It’s action with a bit of ‘fish out of water’ thrown in.

Honestly, I felt this movie was a bit overwhelming. Expect cyber snooping, wiki leaks, bad guys, explosions, Mexican stand offs and more.

You remember back in the 90s, where those overproduced Japanese cartoons used to give kids seizures? I felt a bit like that was going to happen to me. There were too many story lines, too many characters and too many chicks wearing leather.

Which is why I’m sure 14 year old boys will love this movie.

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I will admit, of all the Marvel heroes, Captain America was never really my favorite. I like my graphic novels with a bit more grit. Captain America was always too goody-goody Boyscout for my taste.

But Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), makes up for all of the Captain’s saccharine sweetness by being bad ass and wearing an eye patch. I would watch a movie just about him if given the option.

The movie is well done, if a bit over produced. The storyline flows, though again, is just a bit too involved. None of the plot points feel contrived, which seems to happen on a regular basis in graphic novel adaptations.

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In this case, I think the sequel might actually be better than the original. If the ending is any indication, we are already getting set up for a sequel, so I guess I better learn to like Captain America.

One of my major complaints is that the running time was insane and not fully justified. Two hours and 16 minutes is fine if you’re covering a drama like Schindler’s List. It’s not ok when you’re being subjected to heart pounding action. You will be exhausted at the end of the movie. A lot of completely unnecessary scenes could have been left out. For example, I really didn’t need to watch Rogers jog around to a Marvin Gaye record for 20 minutes to realize that he was overwhelmed by the changes in they world.

If over long, and a bit convoluted, it is still a watchable movie. The effects are better than the first, and have an almost cartoonish air, which fits the film. The style reminded me a bit of a less gritty Sin City. Captain America; The Winter Soldier is another entertaining stab at the franchise and is sure to peak interest in the Avengers sequel coming this summer. If you have 2 hours and 16 minutes on your hands, and you’re not prone to seizures, be sure to check it out.  Watch the official trailer below.

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