By Michael Brouillet (United States)


Captain America: Civil War is phenomenal, and that might be an understatement. It is one of the best superhero movies of all time; quite possibly the best.

Civil War coherently combines the tone and gritty aesthetic of a Jason Bourne film, with the humor, fun and freewheeling kinetic energy prevalent in today’s superhero movies.

The plot is sound and the motivation behind many of the characters actions is succinct. Despite being a beacon of light for the rest of the world, and the only legitimate resistance to the likes of “Ultron” and various other evil doers, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow and the rest of the Avengers need to be reeled in, and their powers stymied. The world has come to the realization that their mere existence has incited violence, and their actions have real world consequences; because of this the Avengers must no longer act independently, but rather take orders from the United Nations. It will be up to the UN to decide how and when the Avengers will be utilized. This cause’s much friction between the team, and both sides have legitimate points. It is this disagreement that leads to civil war.

The plot works on so many levels. It adds a degree of realism, and gives the movie great depth and dimensions from which it can draw from. The engaging and thought provoking plot is the fulcrum from which the entire movie hangs. It is the plot that allows Civil War to be as fun and entertaining as it is. Captain America is unique in its ability to provide awe inspiring visuals while also brandishing the mind with issues of morality and consequence. What we have is an intellectual pulse pounding superhero film that has not been seen since 2008’s The Dark knight.

Returning from their exceptional directorial work on Captain America: The Winter Soldier the Russo brothers do a brilliant job crafting the action and they have a great eye when it comes to finding that “superhero” shot. One such example of their mastery and acute understanding of the genre takes place near the end; with all the superhero characters lined up on opposite sides of each other, preparing for battle, the camera slowly pans past each character. The shot only lasts a few seconds, but the set-up and staging is perfect. The fight scenes are tight and handled with exceptional grace. Practical effects, and some amazing stunt work reign supreme; you will be hard pressed to spot the CGI. Everything in this movie looks completely authentic and genuine.

The cinematography is brilliant and the lightning is exceptional. Unlike Batman v Superman where everything seemed murky and opaque, this movie is clear and focused. I did not have to strain my eyes to comprehend the action. The extreme contrast between the stark, gritty realism and the lush, rich and lucid colors that fill the screen is breathtaking. Every image is sharp and well defined; from the inviting warm texture of the Spider-Man costume to the Hard, almost workman like, look of captain America’s armor.

The crazy amount of superhero characters and plot that fill this movie could easily have been a disaster, but nothing feels rushed and everyone is given their fair share of screen time. Each superhero seemed to be part of their own movie, and their powers and abilities are fully realized. Nothing is left on the table. This film is fun, full of energy and yes absolutely brilliant.



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