Frank's Review of Captain America: Civil War
The first thing I want to say in this RottenTomatoes review is this: anyone who watches this movie and doesn't enjoy it (especially: those who are willing to take time to write a negative review of this movie) probably doesn't understand action movies, doesn't understand the Superhero Movie genre, doesn't like comic books, and wonders why anyone would make a movie about people who wear costumes. For this movie to have migrated from 95%+ positive reviews to 90-ish is proof that the internet is made to ruin good things.
Review in brief:
Action: 4 stars
Plot: 3.5 stars
Casting: 5 stars
Directing: 4.5 stars
Overall: 4 stars
Let's get a couple of things right before we talk about this movie with the minimum number of spoilers. First, it is utterly unfair to Marvel and the talent associated with this movie to think that the audience ought to be able to walk into this movie without having seen all the other movies before it (which is something like 7 movies, and may be more like 9 or 10 given that the "MCU canon" version of Thunderbolt Ross is in this movie). They are not making these movies to stand-alone, and in that purpose is one reason not to pan this movie: This movie is a sequal, and as "Marvel Movie #9" its quality overall is a monument to something which may never have been done in cinema history before: it delivers a product as good or better than the first movie in the series.
To that end, the complaint that this movie is a formula movie is a horrible reductionistic observation. Every movie is made inside a formula, and in the end the audience is left to judge whether or not the final product is a good or bad version of that formula. My suggestion is that Marvel and the Russos have mastered the formula, and do something especially clever with it: they honor the core audience (comic book nerds) and also appeal to the wider audience (action movie nerds) while giving some service to the wider audience still (movie nerds).
I'm not going to rehash the plot here or otherwise spoil it, but a lot of people have written about how this movie is about current political themes. That observation misses the way this movie is made - which is that it is a movie about charismatic protagonists who must deal with the consequences of responsibility, failure, and loss. There are three takes on this subject in this movie - Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and T'Challa of Wakanda. If you watch this movie as a study of the resolution of personal failure and loss, and how we redeem the past to make the future, it becomes a far better movie than the one about solving a problem with our fists.
Go see this movie at least twice. You will like it much better the second time, and you will have everything you need to tell the nay-sayers about it to find something better to do with their time.