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Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Tonight's Feature Presentation


Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey, Jr., Sebastian Stan, Elizabeth Olsen, Chadwick Boseman

Written By: Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely Directed By: Anthony Russo & Joe Russo

The Shot

The Marvel Cinematic Universe pays yet another dividend to its investors; if you’re up to date on the series, of course you want to see this one, and of course you’ll enjoy it.  (Never mind the plot holes.)  If you’re somehow still new to all of this, then you should definitely catch up on at least the prior Captain America titles before checking out Captain America: Civil War.

The Highball

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?


A tasty conflict of flavors.

Pairs Well With...


Just keep adding more strong stuff and see what you get.

“Who’s speaking?”

“It's your conscience.  We don't talk a lot these days.”

As we enter into “Phase Three” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, each new film – especially the mashups – becomes less of an individual cinematic experience than it is checking up on a long term entertainment investment.  Such is the case with Captain America: Civil War, which could just as easily have been called Avengers III or IV or whatever number it’d be at now if Marvel made an honest count.  (And if we really wanted to be honest here, this flick more properly deserves to be called The Winter Soldier than the actual Captain America: The Winter Soldier did, but I digress.) 

Taken in that spirit, Captain America: Civil War pays out a solid dividend and suggests continued healthy performance in the future (which, given the divisive nature of this story, is no mean feat).  The action is fantastic with plenty of fresh stuff added to the mix, the new characters (Black Panther and Spider-Man) are well met with phenomenal debuts, and the returning veterans… okay, so they’re hit and miss, but you’ve got to expect that when your main cast list starts to look like the marquee for a 1970s disaster flick.  I’m just happy that one of the returning faces who gets some well deserved attention is Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch.  (Scarlet Witch’s boyfriend, on the other hand, doesn’t even make any sense.  Yeah, I get that it’s drawn right from the comics, but on screen?  Not so much.)

So there’s the good news.  If you’ve been following the overarching Marvel movie story thus far, you’re golden.  Most everything will make sense to you, and the plot holes – like, say, the gigantic one that underpins the major conflict of the third act with nothing logical – well, you’re used to ignoring plot holes by now, aren’t you?  Just sit back and enjoy the ass kicking.

If you’re new to the party, then there are a whole lot of things about Captain America: Civil War that just won’t make sense and that context won’t do enough to fill in.  (Like, say, what the deal is with the silver-armed guy.)  Consider any Marvel movies that contain the words Captain America or Avengers in the titles to be important prerequisites.

With all of that in mind and understanding that anything else one might say will in no way have any effect on your choice to see Captain America: Civil War…

I do hope that the next time more than three Avengers get together, it’s to have a sit-in with Bob Ross to paint some happy trees.  (“Forget Ultron.  He’s a bird now.  Fly away, bird!  Be free!”)  And hey, if Cheech and Chong want to show up with the big bag of weed that Tony Stark once suggested as a remedy for Hulk, I’m all for it.  While Marvel unquestionably handles conflict-amongst-allies with far more aplomb that their cinematic colleagues playing in the DC sandbox, the patented Joss Whedon flavored “can’t trust anyone” vibe is getting really, really old.  The fact that Captain America: Civil War is still a workable and even enjoyable movie is a testament to the skill of the writers, actors, and other creative professionals involved, but dammit, that’s at least three times Marvel has rehashed the exact same basic story frame, and one can only do it so many times before things start to wear thin.  Like the peaceniks used to say, can’t we all just get along?

Indeed, this attitude of constant conflict and mistrust speaks to another trend I’m starting to become trepidatious of: comic book hero flicks coming too far into the real world.  I understand that along with heavy influence from the “Winter Soldier” arc, Captain America: Civil War draws from a major comic book storyline.  Of course I understand; I read it.  (And of course the one scene from the series that really jumped out at me couldn’t be reproduced in the film, because, y’know, no Punisher.  Oh, well….)  Marvel’s “Civil War” was and still is one of the most disturbing and indeed disheartening comic book arcs I’ve ever read.  If superheroes were real, you’re damn right that governments – especially the United States – would want to regulate their activities… and that sucks.  That’s not what I want to see with comic book hero plots.  I read these books and go to these movies to escape the hideous bullshit that is the real world of politics.  I want good guys and bad guys doing what good guys and bad guys do.  Sure, I’ll take the occasional experimental side road (“Suicide Squad” is my favorite comic, after all), but at the end of the day, I still want to get away from it all and escape onto the page or onto the screen.  So let’s keep the White House and the U.N. out of it, huh?

And yet, whatever issues I may have with the underlying story of Captain America: Civil War, and however big its plot holes may be, I still can’t help but enjoy the end result.  It’s a well made movie and a well played movie, and when all is said and done, I got what I paid for and then some.  And yeah, I’ll be buying the blu ray as soon as it comes out.

And you’re damn right I’m on #TeamCap.

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, May, 2016

You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


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