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Captain America: Civil War could’ve been something really special had 7 awful human beings with nothing better to do at 12:30 on a Monday afternoon not strolled into my private theatre to ruin my life. I came agonisingly close to having a cinema all to myself and CA:CW would have been part of a momentous event. Sadly, I was thwarted once again in my quest to check off highly coveted bucket list item 47. As it stands,  Civil War will just have to settle for being yet another pretty awesome Marvel movie.

If you were one of the five people that read half of my Batman v Superman review before throwing in the towel, don’t worry, this one will be much shorter and that’s mainly because Captain America: Civil War is an enjoyable film so I have nothing much to rant about and being overly positive about things is no fun.

Civil War was well on it’s way to becoming the best superhero movie of all time. The action set pieces in the first half of the movie are probably the best I’ve seen. The opening fight scene in Lagos is stunningly choreographed, as is the one in the stairwell where Cap helps Bucky escape. The visceral, hand to hand combat that was introduced to great effect in The Winter Soldier continues to be fantastic.

 

Armed bad guys still haven’t realised that aiming for Cap’s head or upper body is a waste of time because he’s just going to block the gunfire with his shield and then that shield is going to give you a concussion or more likely, given how hard he throws it, decapitate you. Credit should go to the writers/directors for addressing this when Stark advised Spider-Man to go for his legs.

Violence is always fantastic but what I also really like in these Marvel movies, Age of Ultron, Winter Soldier and now Civil War in particular, is the interaction and dialogue between the heroes.  The whole team discussing whether or not to sign the Sokovia Accords, Tony pleading with Steve to get on board, Vision and Scarlet Witch talking about the mind gem, and probably the best one of the lot, Tony Stark meeting Peter Parker.

I also have to tip my hat to Marvel for making me want to see more of characters for whom I’ve never really had much of an affinity. Notably, Vision (possibly my favourite character at the moment), Black Panther and most of all Captain America himself who I used to think was the lamest superhero imaginable. Seems they’ve knocked it out of the park with the new Spidey as well. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s anything that can be done for Hawkeye.

OK, enough with the damn praises. Suprisingly, it’s the effects heavy, sprawling airport fight everyone else is creaming themselves over that signalled just a slight downward turn in the film for me. Actually, maybe it’s not surprising at all given my well documented distaste for overuse of CGI. From the moment Spider-Man appeared, to steal Cap’s shield, it seemed like the effects guys must’ve thought they were working on Sharknado 12 and not a major hollywood blockbuster with a huge budget. Tony Stark’s floating head was pretty mediocre work for a movie of this calibre. You would think that they would’ve perfected the CGI effects for the Iron Man suit after 352 movies. Then with Spider-Man swinging all over the place, War Machine, Iron Man and Falcon flying all over the show with Giant Man thrown in for good measure, it’s just a bit too much going on. Much like the climactic battle with Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman vs Doomsday except a lot clearer because, y’know, it was daytime and not in the middle of a goddamn lightning storm! Perhaps I’ll be able to appreciate both scenes more when I watch them a second time. Makes me wonder though, how will the Russo Brothers handle what are likely to be even more massive fight scenes in Avengers Infinity War.

Quick word on the villain. Zemo’s motivations for revenge are a bit weak. “My family was killed by the Avengers :(” Boo-hoo. But he does do a good job of pulling the Avengers’ strings and turning them against each other.

And now, the inevitable comparison….B v S v CA v IM!

Civil War is a far superior subtitle to Dawn of Justice (one of the worst ever created) so the Marvel movie already had the upper hand. I would argue though that of the two marquee fights, Batman v Superman edges it. As much as I like the close combat stuff, perhaps I had seen enough of it by the time Iron Man and Captain America went head to head. Or it could just be that after nearly two and a half hours I had to piss like a race-horse and I was distracted. Then again, Cap smashing Iron Man’s arc reactor to hell easily tops the now infamous “Martha Moment” so Civil War should really take the honours.

And finally, based on initial viewings, Civil War is, overall, just a better movie than Batman v Superman. Simple as that. I doubt that will change after repeat viewings. Furthermore, I suspect the box office will also reflect as much despite my thoughts a couple years ago:

Damn…I caused it.

Whether or not Civil War beats Deadpool to best comic book movie so far this year, I’m not so sure but both are definitely up there in the all time rankings. Looking forward to seeing what X-Men: Apocalypse (also a solid subtitle) brings to the table and based on that final trailer, it might join them.

 

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