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Critics reviews
Captain America: Civil War
Anthony Russo, Joe Russo United States, 2016
The directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s filming is clever, brisk, detailed, balanced, and—exactly when, over the two-hour mark, attention might flag—thoughtfully engaged. What it isn’t is exhilarating or exciting; the filmmakers display their keen interest in the material and the characters, and that very interest inhibits the exceptional, the wondrous, the hyperbolic, the gratuitously sublime. “CA: CW” doesn’t need more grandiosity but more grandeur.
May 11, 2016
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Civil War is missing something important: magic, madness, call it what you will. Fortunately, it gets better. The Winter Soldier – an old friend of Cap’s, brainwashed by the Russkies – appears, literally summoned up by a magic spell, a series of words awakening his secret psyche like in the old Charles Bronson movie Telefon. Then we get the actual clash of superheroes, a scene Batman vs. Superman totally whiffed and this one totally nails.
May 10, 2016
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Captain America: The Winter Soldier was the film equivalent of a graphic-novel masterpiece. Civil War doesn’t reach that level, but it is solid, engrossing, and, in places, inspired. It fulfills the promise of the title and sometimes surpasses it with Brobdingnagian comedy and audacious mood swings.
May 05, 2016
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Despite any complaints about the narrative shoe-leather that expands this latest entry to 150 minutes, if Civil War were tighter you might lose the best beats, like the scene where a robot man that used to be a computer program butler tries to make dinner for a girl he likes. What’s more, even if most of the one-on-one fights are failures, the film’s centerpiece, Everybody vs. Everybody showdown is perhaps the most absurdly entertaining spectacle any Marvel outing has yet generated.
May 05, 2016
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The bad news is, there are about ten movies going on in “Captain America: Civil War,” which is at least seven too many. The good news is, most of them are fun, and there are enough rousing moments to elevate the movie to Marvel’s top tier.
May 05, 2016
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Despite all the levitating superheroes, this third installment in Marvel’s Captain America franchise almost sinks under the weight of its own gravitas… The players salvage this thing with their acting and awesome thighs, and the fun really kicks in when Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), and Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) join the squabble in an exhilarating airport sequence. After that centerpiece, the slugfest grows monotonous on its way to a final showdown.
May 05, 2016
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But wait, there’s more! So much more, and so much of it pointless in that very Marvel Studios way. Every single serious moment is undercut by a cheap-seats witticism (or a Stan Lee cameo, here disastrously interrupting a tender moment between Stark and Don Cheadle’s Lieutenant James Rhodes aka War Machine). And every plot point lands with a pro forma thud, paving the way to that Infinity War that’s been teased since the beginning of the decade.
May 04, 2016
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When someone tells Cap not to break things, he lets them know that he has to because it’s his Responsibility to Protect; he has to burn the village to save it. He has no interest in the judicial system since it’s run by military madmen just like himself. Like a true villain, his loyalty to Bucky overrides all moral and ethical responsibilities. Logic isn’t his strong suit, he just needs his freedom because his Democracy of One is indubitably best suited to the practice of ecstatic violence.
May 04, 2016
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Chris Evans as Captain America—with that retro-patriotic turtle-shell of a shield strapped on his back, and muscles sculpted into the exaggerated proportions of a parade balloon—looks completely ridiculous. Yet his very lack of embarrassment is what makes him so shiny and wonderful, and his spirit sets the tone for Captain America: Civil War. It’s that rare superhero movie that doesn’t grind you down with nonstop action or, worse yet, the usual tiresome cavalcade of smart-ass wisecracks.
May 03, 2016
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The undeniable fun of the action scenes only exacerbates the failure of the narrative to adequately contend with its own themes. Though it lacks the stultifying somberness that weighs down Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Civil War in many ways shares ties with Zack Snyder’s film a willingness to decry collateral damage while causing even more; it also uses personal loss to motivate characters who apparently cannot care about destruction unless it happens to someone they know.
May 03, 2016
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Repetition sets in and the escalation of set pieces reaches some sort of a peak here: there are good-to-great action, chase and fight scenes (Bryan Singer’s X-Men films still have an edge on depicting superpowers) but there’s also a limit to the number of times people can be kicked through walls before the scraps start to feel samey… It’s not as gloomy as DC’s recent efforts (few films are) and judicious doses of wit and charm relieve the angst and the smashing.
April 29, 2016
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These films no longer have to delight and surprise us; no, their job now is to manage the brand, not screw anything up too royally, and keep us hooked for the next installment. Civil Wa rpulls all that off mostly well. It skips all around the world, anxiously maneuvering plot points into place, and audiences know to trust that it’ll all add up to something, because these things usually do. But I never found myself genuinely wondering what was going to happen next; the moves are too familiar.
April 28, 2016
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Calling this “the best Marvel movie” is equivalent to proclaiming “this is the best Dorito I’ve ever tasted.” But the Russos do make some wise decisions. Time is given over to lengthy sequences in which characters just talk. And they don’t talk directly about the themes of the film, or what’s going to happen in the next scene, but they subtly couch these ideas within semi-interesting conversations which have the perfume of realism to them. Which is big.
April 20, 2016
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