Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Movie Review: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (Review #2)

Marvel's 13th entry in their cinematic universe proves wrong anyone who was thinking that the super hero genre was starting to die or that it had spent its potential. Captain America: Civil War is a soaring triumph of modern mythological storytelling which improves on its source material and delivers a film with a remarkable artistic credit.

The most stunning element the film immediately presents is its relentless momentum and pace. The way in which every single story beat feels necessary and connected with everything else is astonishing. There isn't half a moment wasted, you are grabbed by the narrative and never given reason to let go. What the Russo's manage to do with these characters is shocking the more you think about it. They succeed in not only making this story integral and interesting to every one of them, they also manage to give each and every character deeper development and insight, from the smallest one to the ones we have seen in six movies already.

I have no idea how a vision this big and complicated got so smoothly adapted on screen. There is so much to get across, so many points to tick, so many elements in play and the filmmakers manage to nail every single one of them. The themes are engrossing and relatable, but most importantly they are presented to you in a clear way. You don't have doubts about each character's motivation, every one of them has complexity and can be related to, and it is a joy to see their relations unfold on screen.

And we haven't even started talking about the action scenes here. On a first impression I might say that this is one of the best action films of this era, it might just be an instant classic from that point of view. These sequences all have such an urgency to them, you feel stakes and momentum. They are supporting every beat of the storytelling, they are almost all an integrating part of it and stunning to experience. The flawlessness with which they are put together is overwhelming. Not a beat was missed. The stunts are clearly visible, the CGI (for the first time ever in a Marvel movie) is unnoticeable, the complexity is engaging and not distracting.

Look, the sophistication of the film is reflective of the difficulty of reviewing it, everything is just so good and emotionally touching, it is coherently funny, joyful, dramatic and thrilling, there just is too much to get into, every one of these actors should deserve a paragraph on their own. Their commitment in bringing this together is heart warming and they all deliver performances that are exactly what the movie needs. The music, the villain, the sound, I just could go on and on about the technical perfection we have here, it almost moves me to tears because it's the demonstration of everything I've believed: love and passion for the material always brings the best results and the fact that everybody involved so clearly cares about the final result is demonstrative of why this film is such a success, and I really look forward to checking it out again because I am sure there will be stuff to be found in further viewings.

It does bear some minor problems: a 10 minute rounding of the edges could have been easily done, the famous airport scene has a couple of tonal shifts that could have been handled slightly better, there is a little too much breathing space between the first and second climax, yet that is probably all.

I loved this movie with both my heart and my brain. It's put together with a mastery and affection that is rare to find in any kind of movie overall, it's the proof of the equality of all movies and that it doesn't matter what is in yours, what matters is what story you're telling. I repeat, I genuinely can't wait for a second viewing, it's so encouraging to see a movie this big and this commercial be so endearing and important for cinema.

James's Score: 8.5/10

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