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Let the War begin…


So, what were you hoping from here then? More action? Bigger bangs? Bit of the ol’ Spidey?

Or were you expecting something more akin to The Winter Soldier, where a more political plot rode roughshod over the more traditional comic book fight scenes?

If you answered yes to the first question, you’re in. This is the film for you!

If you answered yes to the second question, you’re in. This is the film for you!

And in a simple moment of flippancy, you have all that’s right and wrong with the latest Captain America instalment.

There is, to put it mildly, a lot going on.

In terms of where this all fits in with what’s gone before, we pick up the action post-Age Of Ultron – yet the shadow of Winter Soldier and the first Avengers outing looms large.

After a slight whoopsie while on a mission overseas, the new Avengers (in film terms, not to be confused with the book bunch) find themselves in the spotlight and under pressure to conform to political masters.

Meanwhile, Mr Baddy is hellbent on revenge and wants to make people pay for things what they did when trying to save the world.

In essence, it’s two very different films, mashed together. And not edited.

Which is cool if you don’t mind wondering where three hours of your life went…

Visually and tonally as well, Civil War feels like two films in one.

And amazingly, none of this is a criticism.

Because, even hours after watching Civil War, it’s stayed with me. And the only reason I’m not watching it again right now is I had to write this.

I was asked by a friend (yes, I do, but just the one) after I left the screening where I would place Civil War – was it up there with Guardians Of The Galaxy or Ant Man?

Yes, I think it is, but it’s a very different film.

Both of those were huge amounts of fun, and while CW (shush, I get bored easily) has its lighter moments it is a much, much darker film by the end.

So let’s look at the plus points, of which there are many.

The whole cast are on top form, the quips – when they appear – are sharp and quippy, the central Cap v Stark motif is gripping and there are a few surprises.

(Well, if you’ve stayed away from all the preview hype there are.)

Its running time, amazingly, doesn’t drag and while I doubt you’d lose anything by shaving 20 minutes off it doesn’t feel overblown.

But it’s not perfect.

The early fight scenes are almost a blur as Anthony and Joe Russo try to jam as many of your fingers as possible into every available socket.

Then there’s the graphics telling you we are in LONDON or BERLIN.

Subtlety was out of the office when that decision was made. In fact those captions are so intrusive they almost ruined the film.

Fortunately they piss off after a while and we can all relax and just get on with things.

The problem at the heart of CW is just how many characters and plot devices the team are trying to get in.

Already signed up for the next two Avengers films, it feels like the Russo boys are practicing to be as good as Joss Whedon was first time around.

And then something happens.

As the sides start to get drawn up, as the divisions and reasons behind them become clearer, the film calms down a bit and the drama and tension are allowed to creep forth and take hold of you.

And they do.

To the point that the ending almost sneaks up on you, as the climatic battle becomes infused with emotion.

It was at this point I was glad I knew there were two post-credit thingies, because I was genuinely in no rush to leave my seat such was the impact of the closing half hour.

Civil War is not perfect. It’s overly ambitious and at times unnecessarily complicated.

But despite this, it entertains and grips in equal measure while showing Zack Snyder how you do something big without screwing it up.

If Marvel can maintain this level, DC might as well stick to the small screen…

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Unsalted Popcorn
A fresh approach to film reviews - no spoilers, just honest and heartfelt opinions.