Captain America: Civil War Review

Captain America: Civil WarSynopsis
During a conflict in Lagos between the Avengers and Crossbones (Frank Grillo), an explosion takes the lives of many civilians. After this incident, the United Nations create the Sokovia Accords, which will put a UN board in charge of when and where the Avengers are deployed. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) feels that superpowered individuals should be held accountable for their own actions and the UN board will prevent the Avengers from helping the people that need it. Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) thinks that the heroes need to be supervised. This difference of viewpoints creates a rift between the two friends and sends Steve on the run after his friend, Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is accused of causing an explosion at a UN meeting.

Review
I think it is safe to say that Captain America: Civil War is probably the movie I have been looking forward to the most in the first half of 2016. Not only is it a Marvel movie but it is heavily influenced by my favorite comic event to date (and it introduces Tom Holland as the new Spider-Man). There was a lot for it to live up to and it passed with flying colors.

First, I want to address one of my fears going into this movie and it may be considered spoiler-ish, and is entirely based on my geeky side, so keep that in mind. When I heard that Frank Grillo would be returning as Crossbones and the movie would star Daniel Bruhl as Helmut Zemo (aka Baron Zemo), I was really concerned. In the Civil War comic, there is no villain. The conflict is entirely between Tony and Steve and their two viewpoints. I was concerned that towards the end, the two heroes would make up, hold hands and fight the pair of villains. That’s not what the Civil War story was about. It is about the difference in ideologies and at the end of the comic, both Tony and Steve were left in very interesting places. So I didn’t want the film to turn into this team-up at the end and not have any sort of ramifications going forward. That did not happen at all. By the end, there were real consequences that will have a huge impact on the MCU going forward. Thank you so much Marvel for understanding what made the source material one of your best events.

Although this has “Captain America” in the title, many superheroes made an appearance, it’s pretty much like a mini Avengers movie. However, since it does have “Captain America” in the title, much of the focus was on him. Even having Tony (Robert Downey, Jr.), a headliner of his own franchise, Steve (Chris Evans) was still front and center the entire time. Many of the other heroes didn’t linger on screen longer than they needed to. They did their part to move the story forward then got out of the way to allow Steve to be in the spotlight once more.

Despite its more serious story, Civil War still manages to inject Marvel’s signature humor into the film. It helps when Paul Rudd and a Spider-Man are in it. But all the humor didn’t come from these two. RDJ has always had a quirky Tony Stark, who gets a several joke in (though not as many as previous movies) and even Evans garnered a few laughs. Some might be getting tired of Marvel’s humor but I like it and I think it prevents their films from becoming too dark.

Speaking of Spider-Man, I think we might have our best movie version yet. Both Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield were good Spider-Men but they didn’t have the humor quite right (although this is more on the writing than it is on them). Tom Holland is the youngest Peter Parker yet and does absolutely wonderful. His discussion with Tony about why he became Spider-Man is very emotional and when he is fighting the other heroes, he talks non-stop, geeking out about being around the other heroes and their powers and gear. I was excited for Spider-Man: Homecoming before but now I am even more excited which I didn’t think was possible!

Kicking off Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was the perfect time to make this movie. There aren’t any more Captain America movies on the horizon, nor are there any Iron Man movies happening anytime soon. Telling this story now gives a good perspective on how much these two characters have grown since we first met them eight years ago. This film builds off of the previous two Captain America, three Iron Man and two Avengers films. By the time Steve and Tony come to blows, we have a deep understanding of these characters, so their conflict has a ton of emotional weight behind it. Still being able to develop a character after about four movies is an amazing feat but doing it with two characters is truly impressive.

I thought Captain America: Civil War was GREAT :-D. Way back when, shortly after the release of The Avengers, I began thinking of story lines Marvel could adapt for their Avengers movies and Marvel’s Civil War was at the top of my list. However, I didn’t think It would happen because of the scale of the event (it literally touched every book Marvel published for months). But Marvel found a way to shrink down the event’s scale and still keep the core of the story, and what made it an engaging story, intact. The MCU is once again shaken up and leaves me excited to see what its future holds.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Anthony Russo – Director
Joe Russo – Director
Christopher Markus – Screenplay
Stephen McFeely – Screenplay
Henry Jackman – Composer

Chris Evans – Steve Rogers / Captain America
Robert Downey, Jr. – Tony Stark / Iron Man
Scarlett Johansson – Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
Sevastian Stan – Bucky Barnes / Winter Soldier
Anthony Mackie – Sam Wilson / Falcon
Don Cheadle – Lieutenant James Rhodes / War Machine
Jeremy Renner – Clint Barton / Hawkeye
Chadwick Boseman – T’Challa / Black Panther
Paul Bettany – Vision
Elizabeth Olsen – Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
Paul Rudd – Scott Lang / Ant-Man
Emily VanCamp – Sharon Carter
Tom Holland – Peter Parker / Spider-Man
Daniel Bruhl – Helmut Zemo
Frank Grillo – Brock Rumlow / Crossbones
William Hurt – Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross
Martin Freeman – Everett K. Ross
Marisa Tomei – May Parker
John Kani – King T’Chaka
John Slattery – Howard Stark
Hope Davis – Maria Stark
Alfre Woodard – Miriam
Kerry Condon – FRIDAY (voice)

Advertisements

Captain America: The First Avenger Review

Captain America:The First Avenger movie posterSynopsis
During World War II, Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) creates a formula to create a super soldier. Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) was the first person selected to receive the serum. Before the procedure can be used again, Erskine is killed by a member of Hydra, a Nazi research division led by Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving). Now the only super soldier, Rogers goes after Schmidt to eliminate him and the rest of Hydra.

Review
Captain America: The First Avenger was the final stepping stone to the historical The Avengers. Each of the Phase One films have all been unique. What makes this film stand out is that it’s a period piece, something that none of the other films did or have done since. It takes place during World War II, separated from the Iron Man films, The Incredible Hulk, and Thor. It’s not without it’s faults, but like the other movies of Phase One, Captain America: The First Avenger serves as a good introduction to Steve Rogers.

Right away, I want to say Hugo Weaving was the perfect choice to play Johann Schmidt. He can just play the perfect villain no matter the situation (he is arguably the best thing from the later Matrix movies). He is cold and heartless, or at least he is great at acting to be. I can see him being the sweetest person in real life.

At first, I wasn’t sure about Chris Evans as Captain America. I still envisioned him as the lighthearted, whimsical Johnny Storm. I wasn’t sure if he could pull of the more serious and patriotic Steve Rogers. Thankfully, my reservations were misplaced. Evans ends up doing great. The same can be said for Hayley Atwell. I wasn’t familiar with her before Captain America, but she simply killed it as Peggy Carter. She’s strong, independent and sassy, the perfect complement to Rogers (and Evans).

When dealing with a character like Captain America, where patriotism is a huge part of his character, it can creep into being obnoxious. This film does great with showing Steve Rogers’ personality without shoving that aspect down your throat. He is a good person and his country is important to him, but it’s not overbearing on the audience.

Alan Silvestri is one of my favorite composers, so it’s no surprise I really enjoyed the score. It may be my favorite of at least all the Phase One films (maybe even all of the MCU films). I immediately recognize it whenever it comes onto my Film Scores Pandora station. You can’t help but be filled with excitement and gusto whenever you hear it.

Captain America’s costume from the comics is as hokey as they come. I’m glad that the final outfit didn’t go that route. It still had the color palette but was actually practical. But there was a throwback to his comic book garb when he was touring the country trying to sell bonds, which was a nice touch.

The tiny Chris Evens in the beginning kind of freaked me out a little. The effect was well done but knowing how Evens looks normally, seeing him so disproportionate threw me off. After several viewings I have gotten used to it, but is still was weird at first.

My biggest issue with this film is the inconsistent pacing. Captain America: The First Avenger loves it’s montages. Normally montages aren’t a bad thing, but this movie doesn’t use them sparingly. There’s a montage and then a few scenes, then another montage, followed by some more scenes and another montage. I understand that it was almost a necessity to for time jumping, but it just seemed irregular.

Captain America: The First Avenger distanced itself from the previous Marvel films by it’s setting in World War II, giving it the sort of freedom to tell the story it needs to. Even with it’s spotty pacing, Marvel’s strong casting choices once again carries their movie further than it would have otherwise.

Rating
3.5/5

Also check out my reviews for the other films in Marvel’s Phase 1: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, and The Avengers.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Joe Johnston – Director
Christopher Markus – Screenplay
Stephen McFeely – Screenplay
Alan Silvestri – Composer

Chris Evans – Steve Rogers / Captain America
Hayley Atwell – Peggy Carter
Sebastian Stan – James Buchanan ‘Bucky’ Barnes
Tommy Lee Jones – Colonel Chester Phillips
Hugo Weaving – Johann Schmidt / Red Skull
Dominic Cooper – Howard Stark
Richard Armitage – Heinz Kruger
Stanley Tucci – Dr. Abraham Erskine
Toby Jones – Dr. Arnim Zola
Neal McDonough – Timothy ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan
Derek Luke – Gabe Jones
Keneth Choi – Jim Morita
JJ Field – James Montgomery Falsworth
Bruno Ricci – Jacques Dernier
Lex Shrapnel – Gilmore Hodge
Samuel L. Jackson – Nick Fury

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie posterSynopsis
Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is trying to integrate into the modern world after being frozen since World War II. To occupy his time, he takes on missions for SHIELD. When director of SHIELD Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is attacked by a mysterious assailant known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Steve must confront an enemy from his past, an enemy he thought was long forgotten.

Review
Oh Marvel, you clever people. Few studios can continuously churn out movies the way you do and maintain such a high quality. Captain America: The Winter Soldier continues Marvel’s excellent Phase 2 slate of movies by stepping on the accelerator and never slowing down. Add equal parts action, spy thriller, and character development, with a great reveal and an explosive ending that leaves the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a new status-quo, and you’ve got yourself a movie that not only excels as a superhero movie, but an action and spy thriller as well.

The movie starts with Cap going on a mission to free SHIELD agents kidnapped when their ship is hijacked by pirates (which introduced Batroc the Leaper, played by former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre, into the Cinematic Universe). This scene shows much about how Cap thinks about the world, about how soldiers should trust each other, and sows seeds of his doubt about working for such a secretive organization such as SHIELD. It was the first look at his mindset and the rest of the movie does great to build off what is seen in this first scene (well technically second but the first was the opening scene so it doesn’t count).

The action only continues to grow from there. All the action set pieces are huge and look amazing. Every action sequence is filled to the brim with explosions and/or hand-to-hand combat, all of which are extremely well choreographed. The scenes with the Winter Soldier were especially exhilarating. Going back to the opening scene and the ship infiltration scene I mentioned, it is clearly obvious Cap has a significant strength advantage over, well, pretty much everyone else. What’s great about the Winter Soldier is he gives Cap an adversary that not only had a personal connection with him, but also could match Cap blow for blow.

Cap’s fighting style has evolved much since he donned his shield back in The First Avenger. In that film he wasn’t using it much since he was just starting. And in The Avengers, he was throwing his shield around and using his military combat training, but his fighting style still wasn’t yet that developed. But in this movie, we get to see what Cap is truly capable of as a man in peak physical condition. He is very acrobatic, leaping around his enemies and parkouring around his environment and utilizing his shield more offensively and effectively.

I was surprised how much screen time Agent Sitwell has. I always thought he was just a SHIELD agent that Marvel could throw in to give the audience a familiar face. That’s changed. He has a significant role this time around. I’ve always felt Maximiliano Hernandez did great with the part, so it was cool to see him in a more expanded role. On the flip side, I was hoping Agent 13, aka Sharon Carter aka Peggy Carter’s daughter (although that part wasn’t explained in the movie), played by Emily VanCamp, would have more screen time. I guess there were enough new characters introduced that someone had to go on the backseat. Hopefully she will have a larger role in Captain America 3.

Marvel has done well to develop strong villains in their movies, most of whom have some sort of personal relationship with the hero. The villain here, more than just the Winter Soldier, has a close relationship with Cap. I was taken aback when they showed their true colors and revealed themselves. Not only was the reveal executed effectively, but they had a deep motivation to their actions.

As I said before, the action in The Winter Soldier is huge and spectacular. However, there was one problem: it was hard to see it with the camera shaking so much! The shaky-cam can be used as an interesting effect, but when it is used all the time, it becomes jarring and irritating and is one of my movie pet peeves. I would have loved to see the fight between Cap and The Winter Soldier in all its glory, especially because it was clear a lot of effort went into making it exhilarating.

From the first explosive scene, you know right away you are in for a wild ride. Even during the non-action scenes, Captain America: The Winter Soldier keeps you interested in what is happening on screen. The action set pieces are huge and impressive, with some well choreographed hand-to-hand fights thrown in for good measure. Caps style has really grown since he first picked up his shield and he shows what a super soldier is capable of. Sitwell had a larger part than anticipated, which is welcome since I have always enjoyed the character. The reveal of the villain is well done and even took me somewhat by surprise. Even if you pick it up from the trailer, it isn’t exactly what you think. As cool as the action was, it was shot using the shaky-cam effect, making the awesome action sequences difficult to watch. Without a doubt, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has left the Marvel Cinematic Universe drastically changed and I can’t wait to see how the pieces are picked up in The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Rating
4/5

Also check out my reviews for the other films in Marvel’s Phase 2: Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Trailer

Cast & Crew
Anthony Russo – Director
Joe Russo – Director
Christopher Markus – Screenplay
Stephen McFeely – Screenplay
Ed Brubaker – Story
Henry Jackman – Composer

Chris Evans – Steve Rogers/Captain America
Scarlett Johansson – Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow
Samuel L. Jackson – Nick Fury
Robert Redford – Alexander Pierce
Anthony Mackie – Sam Wilson/Falcon
Sebastian Stan – Winter Soldier
Frank Grillo – Brock Rumlow
Callan Mulvey – Jack Rollins
Cobie Smulders – Maria Hill
Maximiliano Hernandez – Jasper Sitwell
Emily VanCamp – Sharon Carter/Agent 13
Hayley Atwell – Peggy Carter
Jenny Agutter – Councilwoman Hawley
Bernard White – Councilman Singh
Dale Coffman – Councilman Rockwell
Chin Han – Councilman Yen
Georges St-Pierre – Batroc

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer #2

Official Synopsis: After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

Once again we get a Captain America trailer filled to the brim with action.  I do like how they aren’t giving too much away, but one thing is obvious: SHIELD has security issues.  After Loki mind controlled several SHIELD agents then later used them to attack the Helicarrier in The Avengers, you would think they would have gotten their act together, but apparently not.  Although, I have a feeling that this time there will be an internal instigator.  The villain Crossbones, played by Frank Grillo, appears in the first trailer as a SHIELD agent and Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce, a senior SHIELD member, makes the comment “To build a better world sometimes means tearing the old one down, and that makes enemies.”  This line has been featured prominently in both trailers and I think he may be referring to SHIELD itself.  So my theory is that Pierce hires the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) to kill Nick Fury so he can take over SHIELD and bring the organization into a new administration of sorts.

There was one line that stood out to me from Fury, and that was “Looks like you’re giving the orders now, Captain.”  I can’t tell if this is simply Fury’s sarcasm or if they are setting up to have Rogers take over SHIELD by the end of the film.  It may just me nothing, but if Rogers does become the director of SHIELD, that would be a great place to leave SHIELD before The Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Rogers had a short stint as SHIELD director in the comics, so it wouldn’t be too far fetched.

Still no Emily VanCamp as Agent 13/Sharon Carter, or at least in the US trailer.  In the UK trailer down below, she appears for a moment.  Cobie Smulders doesn’t appear as Maria Hill at all in either trailer.  Crossbones, accept from the opening scene in the first trailer and the new UK trailer, doesn’t have much trailer time.  I was hoping the second trailer would show is more of the supporting cast.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, will be in theaters on April 4, 2014 and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Robert Redford, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, and Cobie Smulders.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Trailer

Synopsis: After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” finds Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C. and trying to adjust to the modern world. But when a S.H.I.E.L.D. colleague comes under attack, Steve becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue that threatens to put the world at risk. Joining forces with the Black Widow, Captain America struggles to expose the ever-widening conspiracy while fighting off professional assassins sent to silence him at every turn. When the full scope of the villainous plot is revealed, Captain America and the Black Widow enlist the help of a new ally, the Falcon. However, they soon find themselves up against an unexpected and formidable enemy—the Winter Soldier.

I say this after pretty much every Marvel trailer I see, but man i can’t wait for this movie!

The first movie poster was released earlier this week, and now we have the trailer.  The action looks awesome, especially what happens in the elevator scene.  I like Cap’s new outfit, it is very similar to his recent outfit from a few years ago.

Steve Rogers SHIELD Agent Costume captain-america-new-costume1

Although it does seem he will get the new outfit somewhere along the way, since there were several quick seconds towards the end that featured his red and blue costume from The Avengers.  We also get to see Anthony Mackie as The Falcon and Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier.  The Winter Soldier looks down right intimidating.  And when he catches the shield?  Hooboy, I got chills!  I was hoping to see some of Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter (AKA Agent 13), but maybe in the next trailer.

More of SHIELD is shown, too.  From the Helicarrier shipyard-like thing, to more of the higher personnel, such as Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce, a senior SHIELD member.  With Cap working for SHIELD, maybe we get to see more of how it operates and their relationship to the World Council seen in The Avengers.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, hits theaters April 4, 2014 and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, Sebastian Stan, Tobert Redford, Emily VanCamp, and Cobie Smulders.