It’s been more than a month since my last blog post – and even longer since I wrote an actual review on anything. I’m hoping I can put out the four movie reviews I have in my drafts (including this one) before the weekend is out – and before another episode of ‘Game Of Thrones,’ so I can hopefully squeeze in a review now that spoiler – a certain member of the Night’s Watch has returned – but I’m in the home stretch of cramming for finals, so my head hurts. A lot. However, I came home this weekend for the sole purpose of seeing this movie on opening night – and also to see my family, too, I guess – and I. Am. Still. So. Hyped. (Sorry for the blocks of text that are to come, I’m still so excited. Anyone up for round two?)
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
- Plot: 8/10 – The trailer basically tells you what the movie is about up front – though if you have any prior knowledge of the comics, it helps a little. Not much, as they definitely strayed (thank god) but even knowing and expecting all that I did going in, I was so invested. To be completely fair, I am 210% for any and all Bucky Barnes/Sebastian Stan, so this installment kept me going the whole time – and to add to that, I’m all about discussing the politics behind superheroes and their accountability. Granted, I’m Team Cap so that’s where I stand on that, but the way the information and circumstances are presented throughout the course of the film proved me wrong. For weeks leading up to this release, I found myself in that mindset of ‘oh, you’re Team Iron Man? You picked the wrong side! Bad guys!’ but it’s almost insulting to me now to fully choose one side or the other. Someone has to be held accountable for all of the Avengers’ collateral damage, there has to be some sort of cap on their seemingly limitless power – but at the same time, what would have really happened if Fury had listened to the Council and not assembled the Avengers for the Battle of New York? Would we be under the Chitauri and Loki’s rule? People die all the time, and our heroes can only do so much and try their best to save everyone. But is that enough of a payoff for people who have lost whole families? I’m really enjoying this trend of superhero movies that make you reconsider what used to just feel black and white.
- Characters: 10/10 – I always love all of the different dynamics between each and every character, and those just seemed amplified given the circumstances (take Natasha and Clint, for example, being on opposite sides). Black Panther, or T’Challa, was so brilliantly done in his introduction – I definitely wanted to see more of him and what exactly is it that he does when we aren’t following him. Surprisingly, I didn’t mind the way Wanda and Vision’s relationship panned out, having presumably been developed quite a bit off screen, unlike Natasha and Bruce’s. (At least Vision and Scarlet Witch have history in the comics, okay.) Paul Rudd and Don Cheadle are great comedic additions as always, but I personally felt Tom Holland as the MCU’s newest Peter Parker stole the spotlight out from under everyone (including Bucky and Sam, and I don’t say that lightly). I wasn’t sure what to expect, because while I grew up feeling alright about Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield nailed it for me. Holland did that and more – young, fresh, quirky, and witty. He was almost on par with Tony’s usual quips, and I could feel everyone in the theater’s energy just rocket up when he appeared, everyone was that hyped. Of course, Steve and Tony provide the big backbone to all of this and those two always knock it out of the park, but Bucky and Sam are definitely in my top three (speaking of, their interactions, plus the ones where they were with Steve – and let’s not forget Sharon – were hilarious. Seeing that lighter side of Bucky made me so, so happy, I am blessed).
- Music/Score: 8/10 – To be honest, I felt a little more like I was watching the third Avengers movie (though when ‘Infinity War’ actually comes – I really wish they’d keep the name – can you even imagine? There are going to be about 50+ characters). If you watch these movies enough – like me – you can pretty easily memorize which one is which by the scores, which is a credit to Henry Jackman who always comes through. I heard those signature Cap notes in the important scenes though, and those are what tied it all in for me, brought me back to the core of the story.
- Cinematography: 8/10 – Yes, yes, and yes. The Russo brothers’ vision for ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ is the reason why that is still my favorite superhero movie to this day (yes, even after how epic ‘Civil War’ was), and they went above and beyond in this one. A few of my favorite shots include: Bucky and Steve vs. Tony towards the end, basically everything set at the airport (so suspenseful, so dramatic, so satisfying), and, well, anything where Bucky and Steve are speaking to each other. It’s a credit to the actors and the writers, but I honestly feel like if the scene where Steve confronts Bucky in his apartment had been shot another way, it wouldn’t have been right. It almost reminded me of their flashbacks in Brooklyn. Or the scene in the elevator in Siberia – it was a quick thing, nothing much, but it was enough to see their characters reflected in that.
- Editing/SFX: 8/10 – The special effects were on point. I love everything Scarlet Witch does – and I was surprised that I liked Vision, too – but the biggest moments for me were really between Spider-Man’s introduction at the airport and Ant-Man’s becoming, well, not an ant (which made me so excited because his daughter, Cassie, becomes Stature in the Young Avengers! God, I love the Russo brothers).
- Theme: 7/10 – The reason I gave this a 7 out of 10 rather than an 8 or a 9 isn’t because the theme wasn’t good or didn’t achieve all that it set out to. It was more because it never got wrapped up – though I guess that’s fair, considering there’s more to everything. Signing the Sokovia Accords was signing away certain rights and certain freedoms for Steve, but for Tony, it was making up for bad things that have happened under their watch. However, not signing them was a terrifying notion, too – the thought that these super powered people could potentially do anything they wanted without anyone to answer to is something to think about. Not signing them also meant standing up for the little guy, because more often than not, the big guy’s not always looking out for him (see: Daredevil, fighting crime in Hell’s Kitchen – which is actually only 10 blocks, guys, what is happening there). The end left me wanting more, but at the same time, I get it. And that’s exciting, that they didn’t tie it with a nice, neat bow because that just means we get to see more of this conflict. I just wish we’d gotten some kind of closure, rather than Steve breaking out his team from their underwater prison (which, what was that? Not okay, that was some Azkaban level mess) and Tony going on about his life. The theme was standing up for what you believe in, fighting for what you believe is the right side only to realize there isn’t one – but the ending felt just a little bit like a cop-out in that sense, if that makes any sense. (It might actually not, seeing as it’s almost 2 am. I just felt really inspired.)
- Public Reception: 9/10 – $200 million worldwide at the box office during its first weekend, and a predicted $250 million this weekend during its U.S. release (I’m giving it a 9 for now, just because we don’t have the box office numbers in yet). Enough said. They might just beat out ‘Jurassic World’s’ opening with this, and it’s beyond well-deserved. I’ve been waiting for this movie for a year, counting down with my friends, and it was more than worth it. In fact, I’m probably going to hand over another $10 to the box office because that deserves a second watch.
I don’t care if we don’t speak often, or if we’ve never spoken at all – please go watch this movie for me, so I have someone to scream to. This is the most coherent I can be about it right now, so you’ll get all the rest of my unfiltered, incoherent screams, if that’s any motivation. Even if you don’t care much for the characters, you’ll still probably get a kick out of some parts, and it’s full of action so you’ll at least be entertained by that. Just do yourselves a favor: love yourself, watch this movie, enjoy!
Featured image courtesy of Disney/Marvel.