Captain America: Civil War is a win for #TeamRusso
Unlucky for some? Captain America: Civil War is the thirteenth film of Marvel's Cinematic Universe.
For the superstitious, that may be bad news. Not here. in this case, 13 is a very auspicious number.
After last year's bloated and dull Avengers: Age Of Ultron along with the fun but unessential Ant-Man, one could be forgiven for thinking the wheels were close to falling off the Marvel wagon.
Well, Anthony and Joe Russo, the same guys that made 2014's Captain America: Winter Soldier one of the smartest superhero flicks are back – and they have improved on the formula.
In this, the United Nations want to take over the Avengers. Too many innocent people have died in the course of them saving the day. Tony Stark aka Iron Man is all for having accountability, Steve Rogers aka Captain America sees it as a leash. The issue breaks up the band.
Neither side being the bad guys but both unable to play nice.
We watched it. And here, spoiler-free, is what we thought of it...
A bit of a no-brainer to say this is better than Batman V Superman: Dawn of Yawn, but the plots are cut from similar cloth – aside from having two big name heroes duke it out.
One of the good parts of BVS was the collateral damage caused by superheroes fighting super villains.
That is writ big here. You defeat the bad guy but did you really save the day if a building fell on top of a crowd?
IT'S A MIRACLE IT'S NOT A MESS
Not that anyone was hoping for this to fail (outside of the DC Comics crew) but considering how many characters are involved, the huge fights, plus the need to introduce Black Panther and Spider-Man, this romps along.
To have that many pieces in play, it is stunning how crisp and coherent it is.
The label says Captain America but it's really the third Avengers instalment.
It is a true ensemble film with no character left behind. Even Hawkeye gets a fair shake.
The only character that is an odd is Paul Bettany's Vision. The bright red guy in green may work in comics - or could work with Guardians Of The Galaxy - but here?
It's an odd fit with the muted colours and grounded world view of this film.
Also, it looks like his cape is made from a set of curtains from a particularly cheap restaurant.
...AND HOW LONG DO WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE BLACK PANTHER AND SPIDER-MAN FILMS?
Hey Marvel, are you totally committed to the idea of Bumbly Cumberpatch's Dr Strange? It feels like an unnecessary diversion after Civil War. Really, 2017's Spider-Man film cannot arrive soon enough. If you thought he's just a cameo here, think again. You get a lot of web for your buck, plus a very smart workaround to avoid yet another origin story. Welcome, Tom Holland - possibly already the best cinema Spider-Man yet.
And we have to wait until 2018 for Black Panther? Chadwick Boseman is so definite in the role, you'd think it's his third sequel. That we have to wait that long for his first solo adventure just feels mean.
DEADLY SERIOUS... WITH LAUGHS
This could be the most serious of all Marvel's films to date. Yet - and this is where Zack Snyder may want to pay attention - it isn't without humour. Despite this being the film where the cost of heroics in ordinary lives is brought to bear on our heroes, it remembers that they are human too.
The balancing act is incredible, especially in the airport fight — one of the greatest action sequences in any Marvel films.
You'll wince, you'll worry... but you'll also laugh-out-loud. (Did we mention how spot on Spider-Man is?)
It's also interesting that the fear factor here is not that it's the end of the world. To quote every mother when the kids are playing up: If they don't behave, someone's going to get hurt.
REMEMBER THAT GYM MEMBERSHIP YOU'RE NOT USING...?
This must be a rare case of the men serving as eye-candy more than the women. And there's no more a humbling sight for the average bloke than Chris Evans in his basic grey T-shirt. There are some highly gratuitous scenes of the gun show on display, with some very blatant flexing going on in a struggle with a helicopter. Then again, if you've got them, flaunt them. But for every other guy, you may hear the dumbbells calling...
ONE #TEAM... ABOVE ALL OTHERS
Sure, choose #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan... We are firmly #TeamRusso. So far, out of 13 movies, they are the only directors that are two for two. Jon Favreau stumbled and stepped out after Iron Man 2. Joss Whedon - the king of the ensemble - fell at the hands of Ultron (and studio heads, according to him). Only the Russo brothers have knocked it out of the park twice. This is the film with everything. Great then that they are back in 2018 for Avengers Infinity War - though given how grounded Civil War is, it will be interesting to see how they manage with more fantastical fare.