CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016) 5 STARS (out of 5)

THE EPIC FIGHT BETWEEN CAPTAIN AMERICA AND IRON MAN IS SPECTACULAR!

Captain America Civil War Movie ReviewFor those of you not familiar with the world of Marvel Comics and not engaged in the world of Marvel Movies, you could find CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR to be confusing. You might also keep asking yourself, “Why is the audience applauding the entrance of each of the Marvel characters ?”

You also might think the movie to be just a bit long. But then ask yourself this question: “When was the last time you saw a movie end — and as the credits begin to roll, there is sustained audience applause — not once, but three times?”

CAPTAIN AMERICA is a fantastic and spectacular thrill-ride. This film is going to have a projected $200 million opening. Fandango reports the highest pre-selling Superhero movie in history. CIVIL WAR deserves every dollar it takes in. It not only leaves BATMAN V SUPERMAN in the dust — it obliterates them.

This Avengers series is alive and well. Never been better. So much fun. Full credit absolutely goes to Anthony and Joe Russo for their extraordinary direction. Credit also goes to actor Chadwick Boseman, who introduces Prince T’Challa / Black Panther; and to teenage Peter Parker / Spider-Man, played by actor Tom Holland (who almost steals the movie). Of course the Iron anchor of CIVIL WAR remains Robert Downey Jr. He continues to amaze as an actor. Everything he does on screen seems to be so effortless. And effective. The American anchor remains Chris Evans. He is a handsome, towering figure — who in many ways becomes the social conscience of this film.

I think what will stay with you after you leave the theater and begin to evaluate your feelings, are some very disturbing questions of accountability that we face in the real world and in our own homes. We are living in a time where so many of our families are dysfunctional, so many of our streets are filled with violence. We are living in a time of geopolitical revenge and savage terrorism. Weapons of mass destruction has become a real threat. In the movie — buildings are toppled. Property is destroyed. Thousands of people are killed. Some would say that it is as if we are watching today’s television news.

Paul Bettany (Vision); Anthony Mackie (Falcon), Paul Rudd (Ant-Man), Elizabeth Olsen (Scarlet Witch), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Sebastian Stan (Winter Soldier), Daniel Bruhl (Zemo), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and William Hurt (Secretary of State) round out the marvelous primary cast. I especially want to praise the consistent work of Don Cheadle (War Machine). It always seems to feel that “this is his year”.

The screenplay written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely is equal to the direction. And so is the powerful music by Henry Jackman. Trent Opaloch’s cinematography is flawless, as is the film editing by Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt. The same holds true for the production design, art direction, set decoration and costume design. There is going to be an abundance of technical Oscar nominations some eight months from now.

What does it take to really create this film besides a lot of money? In listing the full cast and crew, I actually printed out 32 pages — each single spaced with name and responsibility. And as I always do, see this film the way it was meant to be seen: In IMAX and 3-D.


WHAT A WASTE. WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN.

What do the following actors all have in common ?

John Belushi, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Farley, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger and River Phoenix.

The answer is obvious. Only Robert Downey Jr., survived his drug addiction. The tragedy of these six dead actors who threw away their careers is profound. As the theatergoing audience, we also lost out. Imagine the movies that would have been made. Imagine the performances that could have been honored. Sadly, one Best Supporting Actor never lived long enough to accept his Oscar.

And then there is the triumphant story of Robert Downey Jr. Mr. Downey is an inspiration who offers hope for our new young actors today. He was the lucky one. And so are we. He was able to kick the habit. But it didn’t come easy. He served time and was released in 2000. Although he won a Golden Globe for his work in Ally McBeal, he had a second drug arrest in late 2000 and a third in early 2001. After one last stay in a court-ordered drug treatment program, Mr. Downey somehow, finally achieved sobriety.

Beginning in 2008, he has portrayed the role of Marvel Comics superhero Tony Stark / Iron Man. In CIVIL WAR, he is the anchor. Since 2008, Mr. Downey has starred in several movies that have each grossed over $500 million at the box office worldwide. Three of those films each earned over $1 billion. From 2012 to 2015, he has topped the Forbes list of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors.

I go back over that list I began with. Belushi. Farley. Hoffman. Houston. Ledger. Phoenix. And I say to myself, “What a waste”; “What could have been.”

THE JUNGLE BOOK UPDATE: ROARING PAST THE $700 MILLION MARK WORLDWIDE

The only movie that I have ever awarded 10 Stars (out of 5) continues to attract moviegoers from all around the world. In China, it currently is Disney’s third biggest release ever. In India, it is already the highest-grossing Hollywood release of all time. Other top grossing markets currently include the U.K., Mexico and France. And there are yet other countries about to open. THE JUNGLE BOOK enjoys a remarkable 94% “Certified Fresh” rating on RottenTomato and an “A” CinemaScore.

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