Monday, May 23, 2016

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Hits $1 Billion Worldwide

To start off, I am TEAM CAP all the way!

This year, moviegoers with an appetite for superhero films are getting to experience on the big screen a trend in comic book storytelling that has been making waves – and I mean that both positively and negatively – in the original print form for several years now. I am talking of course about large-scale conflict and battles between superheroes, either as individuals or as groups, usually over opposing views on what being a superhero is really about or how to do superhero-ing right. 

We got our first taste this 2016 from the tandem of Warner Brothers and DC Comics in “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice”, their second offering in what both companies hope to be their very own “story universe” of films featuring the many costumed personalities from the DC stable, but all presented as dark, edgy and kick-butt violent.

It was a practical choice on their to release this epic showdown between two of the world’s most well-known superheroes when they did, so as not to be steamrolled by the blockbuster juggernaut that is “Captain America: Civil War”, the latest chapter of the by-now well-established ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’ from WB-DC’s very own rivals, the partnership of Disney and Marvel Comics through their Marvel Studios label.

This big-budget SFX flick, loosely adapted from the controversial comic storyline of 2006, is put together by co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo, and stars Chris Evans in what is also to be his final contractual lead role in a solo film as Captain America – barring future team movie appearances – alongside Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, who now finds himself at odds with Evans’ character over the issue of international oversight over superhero action, and finally outright come to blows over a dark and terrible secret. While Evans has already expressed willingness to extend his contract for more Cap films, he definitely gives his A-game performance as Steve Rogers, who must deal with the fallout of an Avengers mission gone bad that leads to numerous civilian deaths. In the wake of this debacle comes a UN accord designed to place his team at the whims of a committee that would decide when and where they would be called into action to fight future threats.

Cap refuses to sign this accord, having bad memories of government agencies being corrupted by evil organizations from “Captain America: Winter Soldier”; the incredible Downey Jr. however, portrays like only he can, a Tony Stark who is wracked by tremendous guilt over his responsibility for creating the super-villain they fought during “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, as well as the destruction left by this and their other battles across the MCU films, and thus sees government control as the only way they can properly do their hero work. This initial disagreement spirals out of control when the UN summit to ratify the accord is hit by a terrorist attack, seemingly at the hands of the Winter Soldier, who is also Steve’s old pal Bucky Barnes played by Sebastian Stan. Cap must protect his friend from the authorities and help prove his innocence even as Iron Man and the “registered” heroes come after them both, dividing the Avengers in preparation for an epic clash.

That’s not to say that all is grim and serious from here on. In true Marvel Studios fashion, a lot of humor can still be had. Particular mention goes to Paul Rudd as shrinking superhero Scott Lang from last year’s “Ant-Man”, and 19-years- old Tom Holland as Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, finally joining the MCU after five Sony Pictures films. Between the two of them we get the lion’s share of laughs with Ant-Man’s fighting tactics and Spidey’s motormouth. Speaking of the fight scenes, kudos goes to the production team for the action pieces. They easily transition between gimmicky shenanigans to brutal beatdowns.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige had said that this film would change the MCU, and with the bittersweet ending, it would be difficult story-wise to put the band back together in time for the next Avengers outing. Despite, or perhaps because of the dark shadows hanging over the end, “Captain America: Civil War” cements its place as one of the most solid instalments of the MCU. Warner-DC sure wishes their DCEU could be this.

By the way, if you are only ever a Marvel movie-watcher and are curious as to what is going on in the actual comics now, there’s actually a “Civil War II” brewing on the horizon of some Marvel titles at present. Again the super community in the comics is on the verge of suffering the hassles of another hero vs. hero divide. And you’re not the only ones to catch on the timing of another comic Civil War on the heels of the movie Civil War. But that’s another story outside of this review.

As of press time, CIVIL WAR already hit 1 Billion Dollars Worldwide.

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