Captian America: Civil War Movie Review

russ_grigsby_photo.jpgIt has a 90% aggregate on Rotten Tomatoes and an 8.4 out of 10 rating on IMDB.  Do you realize those numbers are better than Dances with Wolves and many other Best Picture winners?  Could it be that Captain America: Civil War is going to be 'Captain' of the Academy Awards?  I have threatened boycotting before, but an injustice of this magnitude would warrant rioting.

I remember it like it was yesterday…those painful words no fourteen year old should ever hear, “Son, these blockbusters just put me to sleep.”  I was crushed.  How could my dad say this about T2: Judgment Day?  Well, if it is true that you become your parent, watching Captain America: Civil War completed my parental metamorphosis.  I found myself almost asleep – or at least wishing I could sleep – less than halfway through the IMAX 3D showing at Rosedale.  Glancing repeatedly at my watch, I began to feel the weight of the $15 I had shelled out for the matinee.  And why was the screen half the size of the Minnesota Zoo version?  Caution: not all IMAX is created equal.

In a nutshell, Civil War tells the story of how the Avengers become divided, stemming from a tragic event in the opening scene that results in the loss of innocent civilian life.  To their credit, the Russo brothers (directing this behemoth) linger long enough in the aftermath of the tragedy so that when comedic relief is added, it does not feel insensitive.  The lines seem blurred these days, such as in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, where J.J. Abrams cues a laugh on the heels of the opening village massacre scene.  In Civil War, the comedic relief is tastefully distanced.  Unfortunately - and this was my main frustration - there was nothing for the comedy to 'relieve.'

The central and critically-drooled-over airport scene felt like the bonus level of a video game.  Nothing mattered.  The characters remained so playful with their banter that I could never believe anything was actually at stake.  And guess what?  It wasn't!  Spoiler alert: everyone comes out ok in the end.  Is that really civil war?

Technically, the cinematography was mesmerizing, but without suspense it was merely eye candy.  The soundtrack added little, leaving me to wonder if composer Henry Jackman had as much trouble engaging the action as I did?

Also contributing to the lack of tension was Civil War's inability to suspend my disbelief.  How we are supposed to accept that human flesh is not more vulnerable is, frankly, beyond my imagination.  I get Ironman, who is a walking, flying, piece of metal.  But Captain America?  And the other Avengers?  Do they not bleed?  It just seemed so preposterous given the tonnage of wreckage their bodies sustained.  And the overarching arcade style slugfest gave little opportunity to reflect on the reason they were fighting in the first place, which, quite honestly, I had forgotten by the end.

When the movie finally did end (and, I admit, I have rarely been more grateful for a 'cliffhanger' to abruptly cue the credits) I looked around trying to gauge its reception by my fellow patrons.  No cheers…no high-fives…just a bunch of other numb and exhausted looks from those who had endured the bonus level…over, and over, and over.  Could it be that we were all suckered into the mass hysteria of this 'must-see' duke-it-out madness?

For all you Marvel fans, I am prepared to catch flack for this.  Please show me where I have erred.  Why is Civil War the top grossing film of 2016, with over a billion in ticket sales worldwide?  I truly wanted to enjoy this experience with the other one-seventh of humanity.

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