‘Captain America: Civil War’: Russo brothers deliver mic-drop worthy Marvel movie

Captain America Civil War

Captain America: Civil War is downright amazing. It’s scary-good. It’s so good that it makes one wonder if Joe and Anthony Russo cut some sort of weird deal with Mephisto to make it happen. The script is so tight and the direction is so proficient that employers should ask questions about it during job interviews — any candidate who says Civil War is a rotten film should be told to have a nice day and shown the door due to their unfortunate lack of good judgment (I’m kidding … sort of).

For those who have been living in an underground bunker for the last year, Civil War involves the disintegration of the Avengers when the international community demands regulations governing the actions of super-humans. The United Nations has had enough with civilian casualties and diplomatic headaches linked to free-wheeling superheroes, and Tony Stark agrees. Steve Rogers decides the world is safest if he and his allies are only beholden to their own consciouses, and the disagreement puts everyone on a collision course.

Since this is a spoiler-free review, I will concentrate on what the Russo brothers professionally accomplished and only talk in broad brushstrokes about the of the film.

Imagine you’re the Russo brothers.

Now imagine Kevin Feige gives you $250 million and tells you to find a way to utilize Captain America, Iron Man, Winter Soldier, Black Widow, Falcon, War Machine, Hawkeye, Black Panther, Vision, Scarlet Witch, Ant Man, Spider-Man, Crossbones, and Zemo. You need to make sure the script is tight, juggle all the weirdness that actors bring with them to the set, navigate countless professional mine fields, and then somehow deliver a product that can impress a fanbase that has been spoiled with excellence since 2008’s Iron Man.

The verdict is in: Captain America: Winter Soldier was not a fluke. These guys not only met expectations given an almost impossible task — they exceeded expectations. Civil War is a modern superhero classic and should be used as the gold standard by which future installments are judged. One almost feels bad for the pressure their own greatness has created as production on Avengers: Infinity War – Parts I and II begins.

Regular readers of this blog know I am a stickler for superhero stories that work on multiple levels. If some child (or an adult) just wants to see Spider-Man swing across the screen and come to blows with other superheroes, then he or she will exit the theater with a smile. If intellectually curious individuals want their superhero flicks to be much more than “popcorn fare,” they too will be happy after the end credits roll.

Civil War has gravity, but it also has lighthearted humor. There is plenty of action, but the blows actually mean something because the script took the time to adequately address every character’s motivations. As an added bonus, the world will now get to see cinematic killjoys attempt to nitpick the film into oblivion (e.g., Well, the score wasn’t all that great and it was a bit too long.)

“Compromise where you can, but where you can’t — don’t. Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right. Even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say, ‘No. You move,'” S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Sharon Carton (Emily VanCamp) says at one point of advice her aunt once gave her.

After watching Civil War, it is obvious that the Russo brothers had a vision and refused to compromise on all the issues that mattered.

If you are a fan of superhero movies, then you owe it to the creative team that put Civil War together to see it before it leaves theaters.  When you are old and grey you will watch it again and say, “Those were the good old days.”

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‘Captain America: Civil War’ trailer: Spidey, and more proof Russo bros. on point

Tony Stark Civil War

The second trailer for Captain America: Civil War was released Thursday, and it is good. Correction: It is excellent. It looks as if directors Joe and Anthony Russuo, along with writers Christopher Markus Stephen McFeely, will handle “Civil War” like is should have been years ago in the comics. Who is right? Who is wrong? The comic books — predictably — went with stupid political potshots instead of exploring complex issues in ways everyone could enjoy.

How do political leaders maximize security and individual liberty when man is fallible and capable of horrendous deeds? It’s a good question. Markus and McFeely appear to understand that’s it’s not as simplistic as “Conservatives, bad! Liberals, good!” as the writers in Marvel’s comics division would have you believe.

The exchange between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers in the trailer portends good things to come on May 6:

Tony Stark: That’s why I’m here. We need to be put in check. Whatever form that takes, I’m game.

Stever Rogers: I’m sorry, Tony. If I see a situation pointed south, I can’t ignore it. Sometimes I wish I could.

Tony Stark: Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth.

Steve Rogers: I know we’re not perfect, but the safest hands are still our own.

It is telling that Captain America’s rebuttal to Tony’s call for a “check” on people with superpowers is to acknowledge that he has no self-control.

Steve Rogers is obviously a good man, but a.) Not all men are good, and b.) The individual with an all-consuming desire to right wrongs in a fallen world is, in fact, dangerous.

Captain America Civil War

Captain America: Winter Soldier showed that there are legitimate reasons to fear and distrust the federal government, but Rogers appears to have decided that because man-made institutions are subject to the shortcomings of men, then he should be given a license to act outside the rule of law. When Stark talks about punching Rogers in his “perfect teeth” it resonates with viewers because Captain America smugly but unwittingly stands upon a moral pedestal.

How strange is it that Tony Stark understands The Federalist Papers better than Captain America?

“If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” — Federalist 51, James Madison.

These are the questions the Russo brothers seem ready to explore with maturity and professionalism, and for that fans should be grateful. Sadly, the comic book writers tend to dish out partisan slop and then feign indignation when they’re taken to task.

Tony Stark Cap

Finally, it is good to know that Spider-Man will make an appearance in a great movie for the first time in years. While it is frustrating that Marvel Studios was not able to wrestle full control of the character from Sony Pictures, at least fans know there will be a “check” on Sony’s habitual stupidity.

Check back in at this blog opening weekend for a full review of Captain America: Civil War. I’m looking forward to your feedback.

SpiderMan Civil War

‘Captain America: Civil War’ trailer arrives, Steven Spielberg wipes egg off his face

Tony Stark War Machine

The trailer for ‘Captain America: Civil War’ premiered on Tuesday night, and somewhere out there Steven Spielberg of “superhero movies will go the way of the Western” fame wiped egg off his face.

For those who don’t remember, The Hollywood Reporter noted Sept. 2:

Two years ago, Steven Spielberg famously predicted an “implosion” of the movie industry because of its over-reliance on big budget summer blockbusters. In the wake of the success of Jurassic World, which Spielberg produced, that hasn’t changed, he says.

“I still feel that way,” Spielberg told The Associated Press while promoting Bridge of Spies, his upcoming Cold War-era thriller. “We were around when the Western died and there will be a time when the superhero movie goes the way of the Western. It doesn’t mean there won’t be another occasion where the Western comes back and the superhero movie someday returns.”

Spielberg didn’t “predict” anything because his diagnosis of what ails the movie industry is not even correct. It has been big-budget summer blockbusters allowing the industry to tread water now that Hollywood is just one of many outlets Americans use for entertainment and escapism. But I digress.

Tony Stark says to Steve Rogers:

Stark: Captain, you seem a little defense.

Rogers: Well, it’s been a long day.

Stark: If we can’t accept limitations, we’re no better than the bad guys.

Rogers: That’s not the way I see it.

Stark: Sometimes I want to punch you in your perfect teeth.

Boom. Stark nails it.

In a world populated with beings as strong as gods, capable of mind control, or able to alter space and time, the federal government would have a vested interest in knowing who those individuals were. To not track human nuclear bombs walking among the civilian population would constitute a level of negligence by elected officials worthy of prison time.

Tony Stark Rhodey Civil War

The problem Marvel will face on the big screen will be the same one faced by its comic book writers — who failed miserably with Civil War. They heavily put their thumb on the scale to make Steve Rogers the “good guy” and Tony Stark the “bad guy” instead of telling a nuanced tale.

Captain America Civil War

If directors Anthony and Joe Russo demanded more of their writers than Marvel Comics did with Civil War, then fans may get the best MCU movie to date. If they did not, then Steve Rogers will once find himself fighting for Kilgrave’s “right” to anonymously rape young girls.

Bucky Winter Soldier

Will the MCU be one where it’s right for the government to demand an ID to get a drivers license but wrong if a man has the power to blow up an entire city? Let us hope the Russo brothers once again rise above the petty politics routinely demonstrated by Marvel’s comic book writers. If they do, then Mr. Speilberg will be picking egg out of his beard for many years to come.

Anthony Mackie attacked by racial thought police for Trump support; Falcon immediately grounded

Mackie Twitter

Marvel “Avenger” Anthony Mackie found out the hard way that Orwellian thought police are watching his every move and listening to his every utterance. The actor, who portrays “Falcon” on the big screen, dared to say a few nice things about Donald Trump — and was quickly grounded by an onslaught of racial vitriol.

Mackie

What was it that Mr. Mackie said that warranted the “he’d love to get called a nigger” attack by New York Magazine staff editor Ira Madison, you ask?

Answer: It doesn’t take much. In an interview with BET on Monday he said:

“I would 100 percent want to run Trump’s campaign. 100 percent. … When you look at Trump, he’s an easy sell because you can sell him as the guy who worked his way up from nothing. And I think if you’re a ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’ candidate, people would identify with that.”

Breitbart News covered most of the bases. In short, the racial invective was going to build until Marvel’s Sam Wilson bowed down to the Racial Thought Police.

It didn’t take long: “Sorry Donald, that wasn’t an endorsement. Just a bad attempt at a joke, I guess?” Mackie tweeted just hours after telling BET he was drinking Trump’s “Kool-Aid.”

Mackie Trump

It is rather bizarre that a man can keep his job at New York Magazine after saying Mr. Mackie looks like “he’d love to get called a nigger,” but by now we all know that saying vile and disgusting things is permissible with the right (or should I say “left”?) credentials.

I hope Mr. Mackie learns from this experience. Those who claim to be the most tolerant in the U.S. — men of Ira Madison’s political persuasion — almost always reveal themselves to be totalitarians-in-training when they must respond to independent thought.