Friday, September 16, 2016

Captain America: Civil War 3D / 2D Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Sean Ferguson
Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War finds Steve Rogers leading the newly formed team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. But after another incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability, headed by a governing body to oversee and direct the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers, resulting in two camps—one led by Steve Rogers and his desire for the Avengers to remain free to defend humanity without government interference, and the other following Tony Stark’s surprising decision to support government oversight and accountability. Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Frank Grillo, with William Hurt and Daniel Brühl.
Film (5 out of 5 stars)
This is the golden age of comic book movies as they just keep getting better and better. While it's easy to say that Captain America: Civil War is the culmination of all of the Marvel movies to date,it's not really true as the Infinity War movies will be that. But at the same time, this movie really is because the next two movies are going to be so big and have so many Marvel characters in it, that the focus will be spread much wider. It's easier to say that this movie represents the culmination of phases 1-3.

All of the relationships, the plot twists, the past histories, the loyalties that have been earned or burned all play into this movie. There are threads in the movie that go back to WWII when Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) worked with Tony's dad Howard Stark. All of those intersecting plot-lines finally come together with this movie that brilliantly switches the moral positions of Captain America and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). This film also serves as a capstone for the Iron Man movies too as this completes the arc of Tony Stark. I'm sure there's more to come, but it's fascinating to see the character change and yet remain identifiably the same in  many ways.

Continuing where The Avengers: Age of Ultron left off, the world has changed with Ultron's attack on Sokovia and their patience with the Avengers has come to an end too. In fact, General Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt) present the bad news to the Avengers - either sign the Sokovian Accords or retire. The Accords were drafted as a response to the mass devastation in Sokivia, and it would place the Avengers under the control of the United Nations, a concept that Captain America doesn't agree with as he's see too many other governmental agencies like S.H.I.E.L.D. fail before. Surprisingly enough, it's Tony Stark who believes that they should sign them because not to would make them no better than the bad guys they're fighting. 

It's a huge character change from the days when he didn't even want to join the Avengers, but Tony has been scarred by his involvement in Ultron and the weight of feeling responsible has changed him. The rest of the Avengers aren't happy about the prospect either but Scarlet Widow (Scarlett Johansson), War Machine (Don Cheadle), and Vision (Paul Bettany) agree to sign the papers. Opposing that decision, Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and the Scarlet Witch (Elisabeth Olson) who refuse to sign which leaves the Avengers in a precarious position. Although they are still friends, they find themselves slowly being orchestrated to against each other by Helmut Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) who has a personal vendetta against the entire team. Zemo has framed the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) for a crime knowing that it would cause a schism within the team. The fact that he killed the King of Wakanda which brings forth a new Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) to avenge his death, only makes his plan even more viable.
I've loved all of the Marvel movies so far, but I think Civil War has the highest emotional stakes as we've come to love these characters over the course of the last decade or so. Everyone is asked to pick a side (which was also a big part of their marketing for the movie), but honestly, I was on both of their sides and I think that's what the film does so well. There's really no right or wrong position as both Captain America and Tony Stark made valid points. Even the rest of the Avengers don't really want to pick sides either and the two sides only come into actual conflict after they did all they could to avoid it. Even during their fight against each other, no one was trying to kill the other, a fact that Scarlet Witch commented on when she accused Hawkeye of pulling his punches against Black Widow.

The Russo brothers have done an amazing job with this movie which keeps up the tricky balancing act of giving time to all of the characters while telling an emotional and action packed story. I thought they did a fantastic job on Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it's great that they will be directing the next two Avengers films. The actors all do excellent work in this film too, especially Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans who have the most to do. These two characters have so much shared direct and indirect history that it's almost like watching two brothers fight. The addition of Howard Stark and his wife only make their shared history more poignant and it also serves as a catalyst for the final fight between them. Much praise must also be given to the new additions to the MCU, Spiderman and Black Panther were impressively introduced with this film. Tom Holland is a great Spiderman and his interactions with Tony were fantastic. Boseman makes for a great Black Panther and I'm excited to see both of their upcoming solo movies. This may be the finest Marvel movie made and that's saying a lot!
Video (5 out of 5 stars)
2D Video (5 out of 5 stars)                           3D Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)    
I really enjoyed the 3D version of the film as it really adds a lot more immersion to the movie. The hallways look deeper with the extra depth, the battles look more lifelike, and there's also the fun things extending from the screen gags, I've found that 3D is pretty subjective though, as my wife hates it while my son and I love it. If you are a fan of 3D you will love this. If not, then you should stick with the 2D version. I will admit that the 2D version looks better overall as it doesn't have the aliasing issues that the 3D one intermittently has and the overall detail and sharpness is better, but I will still go with the 3D. They are both pretty much reference quality and the 3D version barely missed a perfect score because of the aliasing issues. Both offer stunning colors and extremely sharp details and the black levels are nice and dark. The 3D version also doesn't suffer from being too dark, like some other 3D versions. Whichever version you pick, you will be happy as Disney has done a wonderful job with these transfers.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Captain America: Civil War's DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is quite good but not perfect, which honestly really surprised me. Usually these movies pack a lot of punch, but for some reason, like Hawkeye, this one feels like it's pulling it's punches at least through the first half of the movie. Once we get to the third act, it seems as though it's been woken up and kicks into high gear. Maybe that was a choice by the directors. In any case, the dialogue is nice and clear and the surround activity is well done and accurate. The excellent score by Henry Jackman comes through nicely without being overwhelmed by the various sound effects. This is a great mix, but I wish it had more power to it.
Extras (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
I really liked the extras included in this set, but like usual, I will they would have gone more in depth than a surface level review of the movie's themes and motivations. All of the extras are in high definition.
  • United We Stand, Divided We Fall: The Making of Captain America: Civil War  -They made this a two part feature for some reason. I wish they would just leave it as one choice. The only reason studios break them up is to make it look like there's more extras than there really is. I really liked both parts, but this is the usual EPK level stuff and it really never gets into the nitty-gritty of anything. We do hear from pretty much all of the actors, the directors, the producers, and more talk about the films comic book origins, how it was changed for the movie, and a focus on new characters like Spiderman and Black Panther. Both combined are about 45 minutes long and while it was enjoyable, I really wish they had gone more in depth as the story's direction really could have used a more detailed look into the two positions the heroes were forced to pick.
  • Captain America: The Road to Civil War - A little over four minutes long, this featurette focuses more on Captain America's position in the movie and how Chris Evans brought that performance to life. 
  • Iron Man: The Road to Civil War - The flip side to the previous one, this one is focused on Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr, and his relationship and stance towards Captain America. 
  • Open Your Mind: Marvel's Doctor Strange - This is a cool extra that gives us a more extensive look at the upcoming Doctor Strange movie. We get to see a little more footage than we've seen in the trailers and the cast including Benedict Cumberbatch talk about the film.
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes - We get a collection of deleted and extended scenes that shed a little more light on certain scenes, but there's nothing earth-shaking here. Here are the ones included: "Extended Peggy's Funeral," "Zemo Meets Doctor Broussard," "You Are Not Used to the Truth," and "Gotta Get Me One of Those." 
  • Gag Reel - The usual collection of clips of the cast screwing up and having fun.
  • Audio Commentary - This commentary track features directors Joe and Anthony Russo along with writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. If you're like me and want more details on the film, you should take the time to listen to this track as it's pretty informative and enjoyable. They talk about the structure of the film, the character arcs and their relationships with each other, and more. 
  • Digital Copy of the Film
Summary (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Captain America: Civil War is one of the best superhero films ever made. It has a great story, a great cast, and a well though out message built into it. This Blu-ray offers some fantastic video and audio presentations and I really liked the 3D too. The extras are really good, but I wish there were more and that they were more in depth too. This is a very easy Blu-ray to recommend to everyone. Please support the site and purchase yours by clicking on the link below. It is very appreciated!

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