Saturday, April 30, 2016

Captain America: Civil War

Try as they might, the Avengers find it hard to leave a collateral damage free scene whenever they pursue their enemies. Despite their obvious efforts in making the world a better place, a part of the general public is demanding for accountability, prompting world governments to come up with a mutant registration initiative in an effort to protect their citizens from those who are actually protecting them. Considering what happened in Sokovia, such a political move is just understandable, but the Avengers are not in unison as to how they should react to the issue. Iron Man (Tony Stark) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) both agree, which is a first, but Captain America (Chris Evans) thinks that this would limit their efficiency and freedom as a group. When Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is framed for a crime that he did not commit, Steve Rogers is forced to choose between his best friend and the ensemble that has been his family since he was thawed after decades in the ice.

This is more of an Avengers film than a Captain America one, leading many to dub it as Avengers 2.5. While the ensemble has incredibly grown larger, the focus of the story is still the friendship between Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes. In fact, it is around this friendship that the entire plot revolves. The involvement of the Avengers crew and the newbies seems to be just a consequence of different circumstances that unfold in the movie’s more than two-hour run.

One can actually frame the film in a different way that puts the spotlight more on Captain America and the Winter Soldier, but perhaps it is a marketing decision to play up the Avengers connection. What suffers most in the way they have devised the storyline is the premise itself. Anyone who has read Civil War will feel shortchanged after watching this movie, due to the fact that the issue dealt with in the comics had a lot more gravitas than what is presented in this film adaptation.

Some would even go as far as to accuse Disney of just using the comic book reference so as to sound more legit, when in fact they seem to have utilized it as a mere plot device that would conveniently lead to a royal rumble of epic proportions. They know that the moviegoing public is already emotionally invested in these characters. Pitting them against one another is definitely a surefire way of milking the franchise. Are we complaining? Maybe just a little bit, the end product is still a joy to watch after all.

Civil War is undeniably a Marvel film, from the manner by which the plot is laid out all the way to the dialogues and one-liners full of wit. But the main draw has to be the very what-if scenario of these heroes taking on each other. Who wins? Who loses? If you think you already know the answer because you have read the comic book beforehand, then you will be disappointed. A lot of detours are taken here to give way to Disney’s long list of upcoming sequels. Did you really think they’d be faithful to the comics?

But what makes Civil War a successful ensemble film is that almost every character’s involvement is justified, and although not all of their intentions are clear, the mere fact that they have a motivation for their actions and position regarding the big issue at hand is already convincing enough for you to forgive the storyline’s flaws. It helps that most of them have already been introduced by virtue of their standalone films. That way, much of the screentime is not lost on lengthy character introductions.

Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) makes an impressive cinematic debut, and his involvement will just trigger more curiosity with regards to his background, and that is always a good thing if you have your own movie coming up. Watching another Spider-Man reboot will be a really daunting task, but Tom Holland’s take on a much younger Web Slinger might just be what Disney needs to reinvent what Sony has been milking on for almost two decades now. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

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