Captain America: Civil War

This review may contain spoilers, if you have not watched Captain America: Civil War, I recommend to stop reading and go watch it. Then come back and read and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Right now is a wonderful time for fans of comic books and super heroes. We seem to have an endless stream of film choices out currently and even more coming out and in development. Marvel has a plethora of fans and has a solid lead in the sheer number of movies released in the last few years. Marvel is more than just volume when it comes to their movies: the fantastic quality is what really stands out. The Avengers universe has top the charts, but lets focus on on hero today. Looking specifically at the Captain America movies we see a trend happening: each one is even better than the previous entry. Civil War had some hype built up, just like each movie before it, but it delivered on almost all levels.

This movie was absolutely outstanding and very enjoyable. Someone who hasn’t seen the other movies (I’m not sure such a person exists) can watch this and still have a blast, but obviously it helps to see them all. While the title of the movie only has Captain’s name in it, this movie certainly has a large cast of super heroes.

The plot has the government, and most of the world, growing weary of the Avengers acting without consequences and wants to institute heavy regulations. Captain America/Steve Rogers (played by Chris Evans) strongly disagrees with government regulation while Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) is experiencing massive guilt at his own actions, and those actions by the Avengers, which leads him to fully support regulation. This creates a split within the Avengers and two “teams” emerge. Siding against regulation with Captain are his old friend and former enemy Bucky/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Ant-Man (Paul Rudd). Their affiliation with Bucky brands them criminals in Iron Man’s eyes since he still holds Bucky responsible for past criminal acts. Iron Man gathers heroes to form his own team to uphold peace. His team is War Machine (Don Cheadle), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Vision (Paul Betany), and Spider-Man (Tom Holland). This movie has plenty more story to pair with the brewing war, alongside the moral divide, Colonel Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) is on a mission to control Winter Soldier through mind control and destroy the Avengers.

Let’s talk about the some of the things I loved about this movie. As noted above, the plot is strong and keeps you invested throughout the film. A good story can easily be defeated by weak characters and/or weak actors. Fortunately for us, we have amazing characters played by incredible actors. I do not feel that any of the actors hold the movie back, but there are a few that excelled and stood above the rest. Sebastion Stan, Robert Downey Jr, and Tom Holland are each spectacular in their roles. There are plenty of rabid fans waiting for Holland to star in his own stand alone Spider-Man movie (July 2017) and he showed he can hold his own in a movie full of big name stars. The action is captured well with several cool fight scenes: Black Panther/Winter Soldier/Captain America have an intense combat and chase sequence. One of the biggest scenes in the movie is the airport battle between both sides. All the heroes are gathered and thrown into a massive battle royal. While the action is expected in a super hero movie, humor is sometimes neglected. This movie packs plenty of one-liners and stirs in comedy to lighten the sometimes dark mood. Something we all know Marvel to do particularly well, but it was exceptional in this case.

There is much to love about this movie but there are a few things that lacked the wow-factor. The director was infatuated with shaky camera work during the fights and chases. I can only assume it was to add “impact” to the brawls, however it is so overly shaky that people who suffer from any degree of motion sickness will feel disoriented quickly. Those who do not mind some shaky camera work will even find it excessive. True to the Avenger style, Civil War is not a short movie. At 147 minutes long it can present issues to those who ordered the jumbo size fountain drink, but don’t want to miss any of the action.

Even the few negatives can’t detract from the immense quality of Civil War. This movie is among the best movies in the entire Marvel cinematic universe and among the best super hero movies of all time. As of now, it is my favorite of the Avengers Universe and earns only 1 Apology. I can’t wait for more of the movies in the Avengers universe to be released.

-Movie Apologist

Suicide Squad (Spoiler Free)

For comic book fans and super hero fans alike, there has been such hype generated for this movie in the years since it was announced. But when the movie finally came out, it did not receive the kindest reviews from movie critics. That does not seem to have stopped us fans from flocking to the theaters to see it. Like most fans, I did my best to not let the negative views affect my desire to see this movie and I was still very excited for it’s debut. After seeing it, I can say that the hate it received was not deserved. I want to express what I liked and didn’t like about the movie without giving anything away.

Overall, I very much enjoyed the movie and do recommend comic book and super hero fans to see it and share their own thoughts (please share opinions in the comments section below, but keep this review spoiler free for now).  Suicide Squad didn’t have that same feeling as many other super hero movies: organize super heroes together and have them save the day. The big difference is that the main characters are not heroes, they are villains being recruited to try to do some good.

These villainous characters are the main stars here and they deliver a fun experience. A character is only as good as the actor who is playing them, and lucky for us, we have a really good cast. The Joker, played by Jared Leto, is always an interesting character. The Joker has been played in the past by some very talented actors (Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Mark Hamill) which would seem to leave some big clown shoes to fill. Each actor has played the Joker with a touch of their own flair and Leto definitely adds his touch. He tiptoes down the line of perfect insanity and being too over the top but manages to stay perfectly insane. Margot Robbie does an unbelievable job as Harley Quinn. She absolutely nails the character from dramatic, wild-eye facial expressions to wacky speech to the physical appearance of someone committed. She steals the show and is supremely entertaining to watch with her insanity and spouts of comic relief. I also thought Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang turned in very strong performances as well.

The action sequences were well done. They did not have that shaky camera work that Marvel seems to love in their films. The plot does follow a pretty standard formula for a hero movie but it is serviceable. While I did enjoy the movie and thought it was an overall positive experience, it is not a perfect movie. There are some drawbacks that I will briefly go over without ruining any of the movie. It is not an overly long movie at 2 hours 3 minutes however it seemed to drag on. As much as I loved certain characters, there are plenty of characters that were weak and forgettable. I don’t want to say which ones at this point so I’ll let you decide that on your own.

I do look forward to the DVD/BluRay release with what I hope will be an unrated/rated R director’s cut. In the meantime we have this version which delivers quality action, some laughs, and manages to exceed the critic reviews.

This movie earned 2 1/2 Apologies. 

-Movie Apologist

Batman V Superman: Ultimate Edition BluRay

I was super excited to see this movie in the theaters. I grew up a huge Batman fan and still find myself watching anything and everything Batman, even with commercials. Everyone knew how negatively the critics felt about this movie, making it difficult to head to the show without having a predisposition.

I came away from the showing pleased, however I felt something was missing to make it even better. I loved the cinematography, it added power to the story. The action was fast paced and reminded me of the dramatic interactions of the Arkham games.

I was impressed by Ben Affleck’s take on Bruce Wayne/Batman even though he received a lot of flack for the role. The bar was set pretty low for him, thanks to the critics and social media, but he was very believable in character. Henry Cavill is one of the better, if not best, Superman castings and is very good in his role. He captured the essence of the movie in his acting and made a fictional character come to life. Cavill and Affleck add tremendous believe-ability to what is otherwise an unbelievable story. Even Jesse Eisenberg gives a commendable, but different, interpretation of Lex Luther Jr. I did find his character annoying during first viewing. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I had to watch twice before I appreciated his character. I was unsure of Gal Gadot’s ability to portray Wonder Woman but she outperformed my expectations, despite her small role. Her performance in Batman vs Superman was enough to make me excited for her own movie coming out June 2017 (at least as of now).

The story feels slightly cramped to be forced inside one movie. There is quite a variety of protagonist and antagonist battles that build and shift among characters making a very elaborate story which was probably not quite enough for two movies, but a little bit much for one. Some of the dialogue could be improved, it didn’t feel as natural as one would hope.

I would give the theatrical version 3 Apologies.

When I heard that the DVD/BluRay release was going to be an unrated Director’s Cut Ultimate Edition, I thought “this must be what I was looking for from the beginning!” Naturally, I preordered the Ultimate Edition BluRay and couldn’t wait to watch it with Mrs. Apologist when it finally arrived. The cut contains an additional 30 minutes of footage, which makes a huge difference in the quality of the story and of the film overall. At 182 minutes run time it is quite the endeavor to sit down and watch the whole thing in one sitting (highly recommend to watch from the comfort of your own home, ample snacks, pause button for bathroom breaks, and a rewind capability for when Mrs. Apology falls asleep), but I enjoyed it more on the second viewing.

My rating for the unrated version improved to only 2 Apologies as it remains an enjoyable movie but still far from perfect. I am looking forward to the other movies in the group (Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League, etc)

  • -Movie Apologist