07 May 2016

"Captain America: Civil War" Review

I'm going to give my SPOILER ALERT early, because any information can ruin a movie - something I wish I remembered before devouring every sneak peek I could find for Captain America: Civil War. If you sneak too many peeks, you gain a pretty good grasp of the whole without even seeing it. You can predict the plot.

Strangely, a fan like me often wants to predict the plot, which is why there are so many web sites and podcasts and YouTube channels specifically dedicated to that purpose. Like an appetizer, it tides you over while increasing your appetite, and all the while, you just assume the filmmakers are still going to surprise you.

And then they don't.

It's not their fault. Not entirely. Sure, sometimes formulaic writing and genre tropes are to blame; but again, if I watched every Captain America: Civil War trailer, tv spot, and clip leading up to the film's release, why am I surprised by the lack of surprise?

(Knowing this was another Russo movie, I even watched Community for the first time - every single episode! - because that's how eager I was for more of their work. At least now I notice the cameos.)

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't agree with a lot of the hype surrounding Civil War - specifically that it's the best superhero movie ever, or even within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For me, Winter Soldier still holds that title. Repeat viewings might cause a change of heart, but like they say, you can't un-ring a bell, and I can't undo all my sneak peeking. My sons and I walked out of Ant-Man gushing pleasant surprise because we walked in knowing very little. We walked out of this...divided. Given its theme, maybe that was appropriate!

However, it seems like I only muster the energy for a review when I'm disappointed by a movie, which is kind of sad and not entirely fair. After all, I only see them and write about them because, under all the nitpicking, I do enjoy them. So as I delve into details, I'm going to try a binary approach and balance all my complaints with sincere praise. I know that's a bit ironic, given this movie largely resists binary, black-or-white interpretations, but whatever.

I'm going to call these warring sides "Team Obvious" (led by Captain Obvious, obviously) and "Team Other Hand."