Captain America Marathon and “Civil War” Review

ron swanson captain america medal

Reviewer Ron Swanson EARNED the Captain America Marathon Medal

Well, Marvel released its first movie in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and, in celebrating that, Marcus Theaters decided to do a Captain America Marathon that including Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron and the premiere of Captain America: Civil War.  Well, since May is my birthday month, my birthday present was taking on this marathon—also, I greatly regret not attempting The Avengers Marathon that included all the films leading up to Age of Ultron (Boy, that would have been cool and would have resulted in a great article here on The Robot’s Pajamas).  So, as you can see, I survived the marathon but how was the experience?  Well, I’ll take you through it…

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The whole shebang started at 7:30 in the morning so I was at the theater at 7 am meeting with the rest of the party that was joining me for this event: My mother (who kindly bought the tickets as a birthday present for me), my little sister, my brother-in-law and my niece. I picked up a cup for water (I try not to drink too much soda), we take our seats in the VIP section (better seats and more leg room for a guy with bad knees like me!) and almost immediately at 7:30 the first film starts. The lights go dark and Captain America: The First Avenger starts up. Sure, I’ve seen this movie several times since it came out in 2011 but seeing it again on the big screen—or the Ultrascreen, in this case—was a lot of fun. I was a little tired because I’m not a morning person and it was pretty early (and my child-like excitement of going to this marathon didn’t make for the most satisfying night of sleep) but all weariness is worn away as I watch Capt. take on the Red Skull.

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The film goes swimmingly and, pretty soon, the first film is over and we are treated to a break before the next one is up. During this time, the theater hands out medals sent by Disney that have Team Capt. on one side and Team Iron Man on the other. Personally, I thought it would have been cooler to get it at the end like you do when you complete a race but, whatever, it’s still cool. So, aside from taking the predictable bathroom break, not much happens during this break and it isn’t long before the lights go dark again and The Avengers comes blazing on the screen. I love this film and I saw it three or four times when it first came out in the theaters and have seen it numerous times since I bought it on Blu-Ray. Seeing it again on the big screen with all the laughs it creates and the epic invasion of New York was just exciting and got the old heart pumping!  At this point, there is no doubt in my mind that this marathon will be a breeze. For my mother not so much because she fell asleep at one point during this one.

After The Avengers ends with some shawarma it’s time for another break and it’s just about lunch time. Lesser theaters would result in my choices being pretzel bites, candy or popcorn but, to prevent that, I did sneak in trail mix and turkey jerky so I wouldn’t have to resort to concession treats but, still, it’s lunch time and I want some real food. The breaks are long enough where I could run to a nearby Arby’s or McDonald’s but my theater has a grill and a restaurant. I’ve never had this food so I get into the predictably long line to get a burger or some chicken tenders. The only problem is the reality that the line doesn’t move. However, the theater also has a full-service bar where you can order food and so I walked over there, ordered, paid, re-filled my water, went to the restroom, stretched out my limbs, retrieved my hot and fresh food, walked back to my seat and noticed that the original line I was in only moved two feet. Yay, me! This also couldn’t have worked out for the better because no sooner than when I sit down, the lights fade out and one of my top five films in the MCU starts up; Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

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This is the halfway point of the marathon and at no point is it getting to be grating. I’m having a blast sitting through these movies I love and, even better, my butt isn’t hating me for sitting down in a theater seat for so long. However, just before The Winter Soldier started, I noticed I was starting to feel really warm and was starting to get sweaty and gross. I silently curse myself for not wearing shorts to the marathon but before Fury is laid out by Bucky in one of the coolest car chase scenes ever, I’m feeling fine and cool… but I started to wonder, did they turn the air off during the breaks? The time flies by and it feels like a blink of an eye before the post-credit sequence hits and the lights go back on for another break. While the rest in my party go off to refill their sodas, get some food or walk around, I chill in the theater to stretch my limbs and play on Twitter and Facebook. It isn’t long before I find I’m getting warm again and feeling sweaty and gross. I swear they are turning the air off in-between movies. This break is a little longer than the others so it’s spent filling out a Marvel quiz for a contest the theater is having, discussing the latest episode of Supernatural with my brother-in-law and texting my girlfriend to let her know how the marathon is going and that I’m surviving. It’s not long after this that the lights go down again and Avengers: Age of Ultron begins.

Age of Ultron Captain America in castle

At this point I’m very excited because this means after the credits role on this one, the premiere of Civil War starts. It’s at this point too that I start to feel the air conditioning hit the top of my head and my suspicions of them turning the air off during the breaks intensifies. I silently vow I will get to the bottom of this but first I have to enjoy the movie. Yes, AoU has some issues with its story but I still enjoy it and there are some great moments in it and it was great to once again experience them on the big screen and not on my television at home. It’s this time that I start to feel the first bit of discomfort in the marathon. My knees are starting to really hate sitting in these seats and are screaming at me. A part of me can’t wait for the break because I wanna get up and walk. Pretty soon, Age of Ultron finishes up its post-credit sequence-less story and during the film I finished up both my trail mix and turkey jerk (and my mother fell asleep again). Normally, the break times are for hitting the restroom, getting a snack, getting the blood flowing in your legs, returning some emails/texts and do some shadowboxing (if you’re into that kind of stuff). However, this break feels like torture because Civil War is now within striking distance. With achy knees I push myself out of my seat, I refill my water, treat myself to a box of Junior Mints and walk around the theater. When the timer for the premiere hits the ten minute countdown, I return to the theater and immediately notice that the room is warm with the bodies of a packed house and, sure enough, no air conditioning—at least, I think there’s no air conditioning.

Captain America's Civil War team at airport

I take my seat as the lights dim and, without a single preview or notice about turning off phones or hitting the snack bar, Civil War begins… and you know what else begins? The air conditioning.  Sure enough, 5 minutes into the film, I feel the air start circulating. I knew they turned it off! With that mystery solved, the movie concludes and the marathon is over. I’ll admit, it felt a little weird when it ended and all the comes next is just walking out of the theater and getting in my car to go home and sleep (if they would have gave us the medals at this point, it would have felt like an achievement) but it was still a fun event that was far easier to accomplish than what everyone in my life was telling me it was going to be. Sure, my knees started to really hate me towards the end but it was great to re-live these entertaining films all over again on the big screen and to see them in a way that leads up to the greatness of Civil War.

What else is there? Oh, how about a Bite-Size Review of Captain America: Civil War?

The Good…

  • The story does a great job of capturing the essence of the comic book storyline.
  • The usual great blend of comedy and drama that Marvel has mastered is present.
  • There’s a big cast but they are balanced out so well in the story that it never feels overflowing, bloated or like it is taking away from this being a Captain America sequel.
  • Black Panther and Spider-Man are introduced perfectly and their addition to the story is fantastic.
  • The action is exciting and fun.  The airport battle sequence is amazingly well constructed and a show stealer!
  • The performances are fantastic.
  • The Russo brothers really delivered on a film that is both a Captain America story and something that is building on the future of the MCU.

The Bad…

  • While Daniel Brühl’s performance as Zemo is great, the character felt very underwhelming.
  • The story moves very fast. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because this means no dragging points, unnecessary fluff or pointless exposition but it did mean that the film was over before I knew it and I was definitely wanting more. It’s an odd complaint, I know.

Marvel Studios have definitely accomplished an amazing feat when they began their cinematic universe 8 years ago and they continue to add to that in very exciting ways. Civil War could have easily been a disaster as many people on the internet described it as Avengers 2.5 due to the sheer amount of characters but in the capable skills of some great writers and a pair of directors who continue to show that Marvel’s future is in good hands, the film proved to be another exciting and fun addition to their ever expanding universe.

Rev. Ron is a man fully entrenched on Team Capt. and a wannabe movie critic.  You can read more of his reviews (including a more in-depth look at Civil War and other MCU films) on his blog; RevRonMovies.BlogSpot.com.  Also, if it strikes your fancy, you can follow him on Twitter (@RevRonster).