Captain America: Civil War (Blu-ray 3D) (2016)
Featurette-Making Of-United We Stand, Divided We Fall
Featurette-Captain America: The Road to Civil War
Featurette-Iron Man: The Road to Civil War
Featurette-Open Your Mind: Doctor Strange - Exclusive Sneak Peak
|Year Of Production||2016|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Robert Downey Jr.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 7.1
Italian dts 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Two additional scenes|
†††† The status quo of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was blown to smithereens in 2014 by Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a sizzling espionage thriller which reinvented its titular superhero and took the MCU to a deeper, darker place. Thankfully, this thematic density and harder edge is preserved for 2016ís Captain America: Civil War, which also sees the return of directorial duo Anthony and Joe Russo. As to be expected from a superhero blockbuster, it marches across the globe to provide expanse, but the stakes are entirely personal this time around, which is a refreshing change in such a crowded subgenre. In addition, Civil War is a more fitting thematic follow-up to 2012ís The Avengers than its own underwhelming sequel, as this is as strongly a movie about a team falling apart as the first Avengers was about a team coming together. While itís removed from the playful jubilance of prior Marvel entries, Civil War still delivers bruising action set-pieces as it works through an intricate narrative, and the Russo Brothers confidently maintain control of the picture from start to finish.
†††† When a skirmish in Lagos against bioterrorists ends in innocent deaths, the Avengers suddenly find themselves under increased scrutiny by the United Nations. Enter U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt), who proposes a legal document known as the Sokovia Accords, which would require the Avengers to seek approval from a designated U.N. panel before engaging in battles that could jeopardise innocent lives. Billionaire industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) finds himself in favour of the legislation due to the guilt he feels over both creating Ultron and devastating Sokovia, while Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) resolutely opposes it, believing that bureaucratic control will hinder their duties and ultimately cost more lives in the long run. As a result, the Avengers are split right down the middle. In the midst of this, Rogers realises that his old friend Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) is being used as a patsy for global unrest, held responsible for the death of Wakandan King TíChaka (John Kani). Convinced that Bucky is innocent and something more sinister is afoot, Rogers goes rogue to hunt for the real culprit, while the manipulative, vengeance-hungry Helmut Zemo (Daniel BrŁhl) methodically lurks in the wings.
†††† Once again written by the pair of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (who scripted both Captain America: The First Avenger and The Winter Soldier), Civil War is based on the seven-issue limited series of the same name by Mark Millar, and in many ways it represents the next logical step in the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe. The cost of collateral damage is not normally addressed in superhero stories, and its fertile ground for exploration, presenting a different perspective to previous battles. Of course, it ostensibly seems as if the Russo Brothers chose to deliver The Avengers 2.5 at the expense of a more focused Captain America story, but we actually get both. Civil War is a Captain America story first and foremost, as it delves further into his troubled character and largely concentrates on Rogers, but because Cap resides at Avengers headquarters and his social circle is almost exclusively compromised of the other superheroes, the movie canít help but feel like an Avengers sequel. Itís also a creative way to eliminate the question of ďWhere are the other Avengers?Ē which lingers throughout other solo adventures like Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World. (However, the glaring absence of Chris Hemsworth as Thor is baffling, though the Hulkís absence is understandable given the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.)
†††† Prior to directing The Winter Soldier, the Russo Brothers had predominantly dabbled in comedy and television, but now theyíve become the go-to guys for superhero extravaganzas. Civil War is a full meal, spending nearly 150 minutes working through its complex themes and narrative machinations, but it never feels strained or messy. Furthermore, just as The Winter Soldier was a more serious affair, Civil War likewise dials back the humour, a wise move after the forced, inorganic comedy which plagued Avengers: Age of Ultron. Nevertheless, laughs do permeate the movie, adding plenty of unforced levity, avoiding the dismal gloominess of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. As to be expected, fight choreography remains top-notch - the close combat throwdowns are tight and brutal, and the characters bleed and bruise. The well-publicised battle royal at the airport, meanwhile, is a standout in the grand scheme of the MCU. Much has been said about the airport showdown, and you can believe the hype - it is thoroughly awesome in every sense of the word, observing the skilled and ornate heroes unloading on each other with their unique gifts. Furthermore, thanks to smooth cinematography and astute editing, itís always easy to follow and enjoy all of the action scenes, which are coherent and thrilling. Plus, digital effects are consistently convincing, as to be expected from a movie with this price-tag. From a visual standpoint, itís hard to fault Civil War.
†††† Commendably, after the standout airport skirmish, the Russos dial things back a touch for the climax, which is more intimate and understated, and more rewarding as a result. Itís explosive and gripping, to be sure, but itís a far cry from the scope of something like the New York City showdown in The Avengers. Incredibly, once the driving force behind the superhero civil war is identified and the motivation for the action scenes has ceased, the fighting continues because the dark secrets, deep-seated character flaws and furious emotional pain involved in this story have transcended the plot mechanics which brought them to the surface in the first place. While itís a given that more cynical, smug viewers will downplay the tremendous achievements of Civil War since itís ďjust another Marvel/Disney movie,Ē the picture works as well as it does largely because Marvel has spent so many movies introducing these characters and establishing the world for this narrative to inhabit. To be sure, the screenplay isnít airtight; the villainís plan does rely on accurately predicting the behaviours of the Avengers and government with little margin for error, which is certainly ridiculous in hindsight. But then again, this is the fantastical MCU, and this nit-pick may be fixed with a retcon in a future movie.
†††† Despite being Captain America 3, this particular Marvel adventure also introduces Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and TíChalla/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), and both are permitted more than just a cameo. Miraculously, the script manages to handle both subplots without detracting from the central narrative, in the process negating the necessity for either hero to be subjected to a generic origins movie. (Seriously, the story you would expect to see in an introductory Black Panther movie is told in the background here.) This is the third cinematic Peter Parker in just fifteen years - after the dismal failure of the Amazing Spider-Man reboot series, Sony agreed to a rights-sharing situation to allow Spider-Man to join the MCU. Holland instantly makes an enormously positive impression in the role, right down to an authentic-sounding Queens accent, making the character feel truly alive for the first time in years. It also helps that this is the first Peter Parker to actually look like a teenager.
†††† Speaking of the heroes, a huge cast comes out to play in this instalment (and itís set to increase again in Avengers: Infinity War). Remarkably, just about everyone gets a chance to shine here, though Rogers does undeniably remain the protagonist. Evans carries a lot on his shoulders, but manages to pull it off with ease and make us still care about him. Moreover, you can understand his perspective, as well as his frustration with the bureaucrats. Rogers and Stark have always had a humorously antagonistic relationship, as Capís patriotism and purity clashed with Iron Manís conceited vulgarity, but itís something else to see the two truly at odds with one another. Downey Jr. is oddly serious and sombre in the role this time around, due to his change in character, which may require a period of adjustment. Still, the much-loved Marvel luminary has a real talent for witty one-liners, of which he delivers a fair few, and he handles the dramatic material without missing a beat. As Bucky, Stan is given a beefier role than ever, and heís one of the movieís secret weapons. Meanwhile, the other members of the Avengers - Scarlet Johansson, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Paul Bettany and Jeremy Renner - hit their marks as expected, and itís a treat to see Paul Rudd return to the fray again so soon as the wise-cracking Scott Lang/Ant-Man. Elsewhere in the cast, this is the first time that Hurt has appeared in the MCU since 2008ís The Incredible Hulk, and itís a nice touch to bring him back. Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock) even shows up in a minor role.
†††† Itís often said that Marvel has little in the way of memorable villains, but that changes with BrŁhl as Helmut Zemo. He isnít a flashy bad guy by any means, but heís possibly the best antagonist in the MCU to date directly because of how low-key he is. His motivations are wholly understandable, and he manages to do a lot of damage without the need for super powers. BrŁhl is quietly chilling in the role, but heís also not out-and-out evil.
†††† All things considered, Captain America: Civil War is the best Marvel production in some time, making up for the studioís weak 2015 output. Even though it covers a daunting amount which causes it to feel a bit leaden at times, it nevertheless doesnít feel too overstuffed. Under the careful eye of the Russo Brothers, Civil War is thrilling and consistently engaging, belying its origins as a comic book superhero film. And when the dust settles, what really sticks around and satisfies is the emotion-driven character work that the action scenes ultimately exist to facilitate and underline. Plus, even though this is a gloomy tale, it ends on a note of optimism which will ultimately lead into the next Avengers. Itís also encouraging that Marvel has finally nailed a trilogy. As usual, be sure to stay tuned for both a mid-credits and a post-credits scene.
†††† Captain America: Civil War lands on 3D Blu-ray with an MVC-encoded, 1080p presentation that represents another win for the House of Mouse. Like most Marvel productions, Civil War was shot in 2D and converted in post-production, but the conversions have come a long way since the early days - since, well, Captain America: The First Avenger, which was subjected to a very subpar conversion. The presentation here retains the movie's 2.40:1 aspect ratio, though the airport sequence was shot in IMAX, and luckily (unlike the 2D disc) this 3D edition opens up to the 1.85:1 IMAX aspect ratio for said sequence. As is standard for most Marvel movies, while the 3D presentation is competent for the most part, it's not quite essential. I would prefer to see a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release.
†††† Depth remains consistently solid throughout the 3D presentation, while object delineation is sensational. Characters appear to be separate from backgrounds and environments, and the transfer never falls victim to the "pop-up book" effect, with each layer looking suitably three-dimensional. During interior shots within Tony's mask, the various pieces of information appear at different depths. Title cards revealing locations like "Berlin" and "Queens" appear to float separate from all other visual elements.
†††† The standout 3D sequence here, easily, is the airport battle. As previously stated, the sequence is opened up to 1.85:1, and therefore fills most of the screen, allowing for more visual information to be seen. Added to this, since the sequence was shot with IMAX cameras, it looks superior compared to the rest of the movie. You can be forgiven for flinching throughout the action scene, especially when Spider-Man flies around and shoots webs, or Tony fires rockets from his suit. The scale of "large" Ant-Man is also emphasised all the more, and the scene is shot with smooth cinematography, without any unnecessary shaky-cam. It's clear that this sequence was made for 3D, rather than just emerging as an afterthought.
†††† The encoding is not quite perfect, however. While there is no apparent ghosting, I did notice a bit of judder in certain moving shots, and minor aliasing does crop up. (It's worth pointing out that before I properly calibrated my television, there were more minor glitches - but after disabling motion smoothing, disabling noise reduction and turning sharpness down to 0, there were far less problems.) Not every sequence suits 3D - some of the close combat fights are cut quite fast, and though it's not bad enough to give you a migraine, the result is a tad muddy. And due to the inherent dimming of the 3D glasses, certain scenes look too drab. But these are about the only shortcomings of an otherwise fine 3D presentation, which should certainly please fans of the format. The airport sequence in 1.85:1 3D alone makes the disc worth buying.
†††† The 3D disc contains the exact same DTS-HD MA 7.1 track featured on the 2D disc.
†††† Like most contemporary big-budget action blockbusters, Captain America: Civil War was mixed in Dolby Atmos, but it's "only" presented on Blu-ray with a lossless DTS-HD MA 7.1 presentation that may disappoint Atmos-compatible audiofiles. Nevertheless, there's very little to complain about with this enormously competent 7.1 mix. Whatever audio issues which plagued Disney's release of Avengers: Age of Ultron were temporary, as Civil War is a superb listen. There's plenty of loud, explosive action throughout this particular Marvel adventure (of course), which relies on effective sound design to augment the visceral impact. Thankfully, the subwoofer is up to the task - every punch, kick, gunshot and explosion is loud and impactful. Surround activity benefits from precise placement - the rear channels are put to good use in the big action scenes to create an immersive soundscape.
†††† Henry Jackman's flavoursome original score comes through clearly, as do the songs that play throughout. There are absolutely no issues with the audio mixing, as dialogue is never too soft, nor does it get too much drowned out by sound effects. Thankfully, too, it's free of crackles, hisses and drop-outs; it's a problem-free track. Casual viewers probably won't care about the lack of an Atmos track when the 7.1 mix is this good. Nevertheless, we are only left to hope that a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release comes with a Dolby Atmos track to please everybody. I'm docking half a star from the overall rating to reflect the loss of channels, but rest assured that it's still a treat.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
† † In terms of supplemental material, all editions worldwide appear identical. Buy local.
†††† Another staggering success for the well-oiled Disney/Marvel machine, Captain America: Civil War manages to be epic in scope yet also intimate. With its amazing action sequences and engaging story, this one holds up on repeat viewings and is absolutely worth owning.
†††† The 3D Blu-ray is certainly worth buying for fans of the format, especially with the airport sequence in its original IMAX aspect ratio. The exceptional audio track remains identical to the 2D release. If you can get your hands on a combo pack with the 2D disc (featuring all the extras), that's the definitive edition until a 4K Blu-ray comes along. Highly recommended.
|DVD||Samsung UBD-K8500 4K HDR Blu-Ray Player, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Amplification||Samsung Series 7 HT-J7750W|
|Speakers||Samsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up|