Captain America: Civil War – 1 star

My son and daughter have impeccable taste in films, so the other night, I bowed to their wishes and watched Captain America: Civil War, which was streaming on Netflix.  I do not want to put the recommendation squarely on their shoulders.  A colleague who has his own movie podcast and my nephew, who are much more attuned to this genre than me, also dug the movie.  It rates a 90% on rottentomatoes.com.

What am I missing?

Some background.  Of Captain America, I wrote, “All characters are boring and stock, particularly Evans, who has the face and demeanor of soft butter. A lot of stuff happens after his transformation, but full disclosure – we turned it off after an hour.”

Of Marvel’s The Avengers, “The picture is dizzying, occasionally funny, well-paced but really, really long and immediately forgettable.”

Of Avengers: Age of Ultron, “Best part. A friend of Captain America asking if he’s found a place to live in Brooklyn yet, and Captain America responding that he doesn’t think he can afford it.  Because what’s missing from these films is the Avengers at a cocktail party.  Full disclosure: turned off at the halfway point.”

This flick did not represent a reversal in the trend.  You have scads of super heroes running around either intoning gravely over the issue of the day (should they or should they not place themselves under the command and oversight of . . . the U.N.?) and when they are not doing that, they are cracking wise.  They line up against each other and meet on an airport tarmac where they have a CGI rumble, a scrum made so  dull by their invincibility (after all, kill Ant Man and that’s like burning $650 million)  I was reminded of a time when the aforesaid nephew was playing a first person shooter video game (Doom?) and he was just tearing it up, knife through butter.  I was impressed by his prowess until I noticed that he wasn’t even getting nicked, despite being shot repeatedly.  It was then he informed me that he had a cheat, or a code, that allowed him to traipse through the game, unhurt.

For him, it was the journey, a pleasing way to pass time and explore the world of the game makers.  I was all like, “Kill or die!”

And I imagine that is a generational difference that explains my view of the film.

Now get the hell off my lawn.

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3 comments
  1. Ryan said:

    Based on your ratings and what I know from your past reviews, what you are “missing” with Captain America : Civil War, is Character development.

    The Marvel films you have enjoyed, or hated less, have all impressed you with their characters. With Guardians you called out a “surprisingly moving raccoon” and your only complaint is “the short shrift given to the motives and backstory of the villains.” Ant Man you make sure to praise Paul Rudd’s character as “a charming as an ex-Robin Hood con”.

    So why does Civil War fail so badly in your mind? It is because its focus is on characters you said have already described as “Unintelligible” (Iron Man 2) and having “the face and demeanor of soft butter” (Captain America 1). Then the movie does you no favors by talking over the key moments of the score, staying to busy, and lazy the same gray, boring digital color scheme most marvel movies suffer from. (The movies are all filmed on digital camera’s but in the post process they don’t do enough to color correct the films to make them visually interesting and you end up with flat looking crap. Go back and look at the airport scene and you can see what I mean).

    This doesn’t mean that you are right, and Civil War is just a boring looking, poorly scored, thematically adolescent, action ride. It means that you would like it more if it just bothered to hit some of the things you enjoy about movies, which it doesn’t bother to do at all.

    I can predict now you will like Doctor Strange more then Civil War but be annoyed that other then Strange himself, every other character is an obstacle/trope/gag.

    • Solid points. There are no characters and the slim ones they have are predicated on mere wisps (hey, Black Panther, you’re mad dad died). And yes, the two super hero movies you cite are by far the best written. And it does mean I’m right, because dammit, it is boring looking, poorly scored, thematically adolescent, action ride, when it could have been an exciting, good looking, well scored, thematically ambidextrous, action ride

  2. elfodder said:

    Based on your ratings and what I know from your past reviews, what you are “missing” with Captain America : Civil War, is Character development.

    The Marvel films you have enjoyed, or hated less, have all impressed you with their characters. With Guardians you called out a “surprisingly moving raccoon” and your only complaint is “the short shrift given to the motives and backstory of the villains.” Ant Man you make sure to praise Paul Rudd’s character as “a charming as an ex-Robin Hood con”.

    So why does Civil War fail so badly in your mind? It is because its focus is on characters you said have already described as “Unintelligible” (Iron Man 2) and having “the face and demeanor of soft butter” (Captain America 1). Then the movie does you no favors by talking over the key moments of the score, staying to busy, and lazy the same gray, boring digital color scheme most marvel movies suffer from. (The movies are all filmed on digital camera’s but in the post process they don’t do enough to color correct the films to make them visually interesting and you end up with flat looking crap. Go back and look at the airport scene and you can see what I mean).

    This doesn’t mean that you are right, and Civil War is just a boring looking, poorly scored, thematically adolescent, action ride. It means that you would like it more if it just bothered to hit some of the things you enjoy about movies, which it doesn’t bother to do at all.

    I can predict now you will like Doctor Strange more then Civil War but be annoyed that other then Strange himself, every other character is an obstacle/trope/gag.

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