‘Captain America: Civil War’ Spoiler Review

The Russo Brothers once again prove themselves as the best Directors in the MCU (Sorry, Joss). They do an incredible job balancing out both Team Cap and Team Iron Man throughout the film. The motivations are clear and the characters are provided equal screen time to support their sides of the argument. It doesn’t matter whether your Team Cap or Team Iron Man, you can absolutely understand the opposing side. What makes it so compelling is that both sides are right.

Civil War gets started with a pulse pounding action sequence that showcases the Avengers’ teamwork and chemistry as they work together to secure a biological weapon from the hands of terrorists. The wonderfully directed action sequence is a bit overshadowed by the absolutely astounding action that comes later in the film, however. It serves its purpose effectively to energetically jumpstart the film with the three most important qualities for any superhero story: Heart, humor, and heroics.

The Russo Brothers once again prove themselves as the best Directors in the MCU (Sorry, Joss). They do an incredible job balancing out both Team Cap and Team Iron Man throughout the film. The motivations are clear and the characters are provided equal screen time to support their sides of the argument. It doesn’t matter whether your Team Cap or Team Iron Man, you can absolutely understand the opposing side. What makes it so compelling is that both sides are right.

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Chris Evans as Captain America and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man in Captain American: Civil War (Marvel).

Robert Downey Jr. turns in his best performance as Iron Man yet, however. The clear standouts of the film are Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Ant-Man. Paul Rudd as is as charming as ever. He and Tom Holland work together to bring brief but necessary levity to the drama that without, may have left us exhausted by the time we reach the films final action scene. Chadwick Boseman packs power and conviction into every line he has. He is so well used by the Russos that every time he is on screen you know it’s important. But I think we can all agree going into this film we were most excited for Spider-Man’s introduction into the MCU and it couldn’t have been done better. Marvel absolutely nails it. The moment Tom Holland stepped on screen I felt as if I was witnessing the true Peter Parker for the first time ever. Tom kills it as Peter only to outdo himself as Spider-Man in the short amount of time we get with him.

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Tom Holland as Spider-Man. (Marvel)

The airport scene is one of, if not the greatest action scenes ever put to screen. The scene is fantastically shot, edited, and balanced between both sides of heroes. The action is constantly engaging. It perfectly showcases all of the heroes’ strengths as well as their weaknesses. The Russos managed to strike a rhythm in this scene that prevents it from feeling too long, even at 15 minutes. The best part of this fight, and probably the film itself is when Spider-Man takes down Giant-Man like an AT-AT on Hoth. Myself and the rest of the theater were cheering as if the Luke just blew up the Death Star! The Russos have set the bar high and there is no doubt they will outdo themselves with Infinity War.

As great as this film is, it isn’t perfect. Marvel once again fumbles when it comes to the villain. Daniel Brühl as Baron Zemo isn’t necessary to the story until the final confrontation between Captain America and Iron Man. Ultimately he does succeed in tearing apart The Avengers and that’s awesome. But they were already doing a good enough job at them themselves. Zemo is just there to give the final push.

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Team Cap charges toward Team Iron Man. (Marvel)

It boggles my mind that Marvel isn’t concerned with focusing on the villain in their films especially after we have seen how well the Netflix series have done with Wilson Fisk, Killgrave, and I’ll even say Punisher. While Punisher wasn’t a villain, he was still an incredible antagonist to Daredevil in those few episodes of season two. A great villain can help elevate a good superhero movie to a great superhero movie and as good as Marvel’s films have gotten over the last few years, they could still be better.

Captain America: Civil War is what I call Marvel’s Dark Knight. It does what Dark Knight did for WB and transcends the superhero genre. This isn’t just some spectacle we can all sit back and admire. This is a vehicle with enough seats for everyone. No matter which side you take, you’ll feel justified in your position all the way until the credits roll. Bravo, Russo Brothers, Bravo.

9.1/10 – FANTASTIC

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‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season 3 Premiere Spoiler Review

Star Wars Rebels kicks off the season with a fun and exciting mission developed and lead by Ezra to save Hondo, who is in possession of valuable information that could help the rebels to recover a fleet of Y-wings.

Enter Thrawn! Well, sort of…

Star Wars Rebels kicks off the season with a fun and exciting mission developed and lead by Ezra to save Hondo, who is in possession of valuable information that could help the rebels to recover a fleet of Y-wings. We’re welcomed back into the Star Wars universe quickly as we’re reminded that Stormtroopers still can’t hit anything and it feels great! Right off the bat we are shown just how strong Ezra has grown since we last saw him as he ruthlessly cuts down several Stormtroopers and sends an AT-DP plummeting to its demise. It’s clear he’s chosen the quick and easy path and there’s most certainly going to be consequences for him and the team.

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A blind Kanin Jarrus meets The Bendu in the Season 3 premiere of “Star Wars Rebels”. (Disney XD)

Kanin is off meditating, being summoned by an unknown voice later to be revealed as the Bendu. It is a real treat when Kanin meets the Bendu face to face. The scene was fantastically written and extremely well performed. Most definitely one of the best scenes in the series to date. The only thing negative I’ll say about this encounter is that it seems a bit convenient that the Bendu happens to be on the same planet as the current rebel base but the force works in mysterious ways, right?

As someone who doesn’t have a strong attachment to Grand Admiral Thrawn, I have to admit I was underwhelmed by his introduction. The scenes he was in were absolutely chilling. This calm and calculated genius could very well be the demise of our beloved rebels. My issue was that I wanted more of him. Maybe it was the marketing that made me think he was going to be featured front and center this episode rather than looming from the shadows, mostly…

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Grand Admiral Thrawn makes his debut in the Season 3 premiere of “Star Wars Rebels”. (Disney XD)

The opening and closing action sequences were some of the best action sequences I have ever seen in animation, however. The best thing about this episode was that it featured some great character development for Ezra and Kanin. I found it surprising, T.V. shows don’t normally pack this much character development into a season premiere. Obviously, Ezra has grown a lot in the last few months but he still has a long way to go and he definitely got an idea for just how much on the mission to recover the Y-wings. Kanin reached an incredible turning point with his lesson from the Bendu. Healing from his loss and moving forward. I am so excited to continue on his journey with him! Freddie Prinze Jr. does a truly incredible job conveying the doubt a great warrior would feel after the loss of their sight.

Oh, and one last thing…

Never trust Hondo.

4/5 – Awesome

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‘Rogue One’ Celebration Reel Impressions

Hold on to your butts. In just three months we’ll be fully engrossed in another Star Wars Christmas season being yet again introduced to a slew of new characters, ships and planets never before seen in the ever expanding Star Wars galaxy.

Hold on to your butts. In just three months we’ll be fully engrossed in another Star Wars Christmas season being yet again introduced to a slew of new characters, ships and planets never before seen in the ever expanding Star Wars galaxy. Only time will tell whether or not Garreth Edwards was the right choice to helm the first of many Star Wars spinoffs but as it stands Edwards looks to have crafted what could be the most immersive experience yet in the film franchise. Even the biggest skeptics, including myself, who were left bored by Edwards’ other films are scratching their heads wondering how the hell this film could be boring after that action-packed sizzle reel.

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Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso and Diego Luna as Cap. Cassian Andor in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (Lucasfilm)

The reel opens showcasing a battle scene that is no doubt the Star Wars version of Omaha beach. The film looks to have pulled many visual influences from war films such as Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now, and Platoon. Yet the film still feels unquestionably Star Wars. This has many of us wondering what other kinds of genres could be blended into the Star Wars universe going forward. The possibilities really are endless.

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Garreth Edwards behind the camera. (Lucasfilm)

As with any Lucasfilm production, you would expect there to be some incredible filmmaking behind this project and Rogue One looks to be no different. In much of the reel Garreth Edwards can be seen being a boss behind the lens during sequences featuring practical effects. In some shots, rather than using green screen, Edwards has chosen to use projection screens giving the actors something to look at as well as act off of. This will surely help to avoid the wooden performances captured in the blue screen vacuums the prequels were filmed inside of.

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Ben Mendelsohn as Director Orson Krennic. (Lucasfilm)

What might be most exciting is how many new things we will see for the first time in the Star Wars universe. In the Skywalker Saga things are usually black and white. However, some of the new canon novels have delved into grey area of the galaxy. As we learned in Lost Stars, there are good people in the empire. Good people who end up on the wrong side. Rogue one will explore the grey area. Fans of the Clone Wars are familiar with the character of Saw Gerrara but in December, Forrest Whittaker will introduce a wider audience to a rebel freedom fighter whose tactics are considered too extreme for the rebellion.

We will also be treated to the first hand to hand combat action scene in the franchise. In past Star Wars films we have experienced the most jaw dropping and breathtaking action sequences in history. From the trench run to the lightsaber duel on Mustafar, the action has always been epic. Maybe that’s what makes the action in Rogue One look so refreshing. Sure, punches have been thrown throughout lightsaber duels in the past but never has anyone just ripped off their gloves and gone fist for first.

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Felicity Jones and Diego Luna taking on Stormtroopers. (Lucasfilm)

While Godzilla and Monsters weren’t very good, one impressive quality about both films is how Edwards managed to hone in and focus on the characters against the backdrop of something large and fantastical. Judging from the teaser trailer and the celebration reel, it certainly seems Edwards has managed to do that again. Maybe that’s why he was Kathleen Kennedy’s choice to helm the first spinoff of the franchise.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters December 16, 2016.