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CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR Blu-ray Is Just Shy of Perfect (Review)

Although some superhero moviegoers have drawn battle lines between Marvel and DC fans, it is possible to find aspects to like and dislike in both groups of films. Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice went for broke on visual style, while Captain America: Civil War had the advantage of starring many characters we already liked in interpretations that didn’t feel as radically different as some of the onscreen DC icons. Now on Blu-ray, Civil War is both better and worse than it was in the theater: better in that the stutter-vision effect used on every major fight scene is easier on the eyes when the screen is smaller, and worse in that plot holes and inconsistencies become a bit more obvious. Not killing, for example, may be more integral to the character of Batman than to that of Falcon, but it’s still jarring how casually Sam guns down bad guys in the opening battle. And how does a super-intelligent, logical android like Vision so easily mistake correlation for causality? That’s kinda statistics 101.

We might also ask how the Sokovia Accords would have prevented the so-called Age of Ultron; unless you passed a law that stopped Tony Stark from inventing as well as superheroing, they really wouldn’t. Nor would they have stopped Loki from trashing New York, or Hydra launching Helicarriers against the American people. They arguably would have prevented the Hulk rampage in Age of Ultron, and Wanda’s awkward suicide bomb deflection in Civil War, but not much of the rest.


These are details that can be forgiven if the movie is good enough—thankfully, the central conflict of Iron Man versus Captain America has been thought through, building on a foundation from the previous films. In the commentary track with directors Joe and Anthony Russo and screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, you can get good answers to just about any, “What were they thinking?” query. There’s also some fun trivia, like the fact that Black Panther’s costume is CG-enhanced in every single shot to give it a proper vibranium sheen.

The commentary only ventures into what I’d consider “spin” a couple of times: the Russos, for example, claim their regular-guy take on Baron Zemo was really popular with fans, and I would suggest otherwise. And in touting the fight scenes and praising their choreographers, they also insist there is no speeding up or special effect being used to enhance, when the stutter-vision is obviously, at minimum, a form of drop-frame editing that I’d qualify as an effect. You can tell, because the behind-the-scenes documentary shows some of the fights unaltered, and makes me wish the movie had in fact done the same. Speaking of said doc (which is in two parts), it spotlights every single superhero character and lets each actor expound at length; in the absence of having a cast commentary track, it’s the next best thing.


The making of Doctor Strange sneak-peek probably won’t tell hardcore fans anything they don’t already know, but it does gives a few soundbites from Benedict Cumberbatch and Kevin Feige. The gag reel is fun, but if you’re looking for the “Team Thor” comedy short, it isn’t on the basic Blu-ray; you’ll have to either buy the iTunes version of the movie, or shell out an extra few bucks for the combo package with digital download and Blu-ray 3D, which comes with a code to access the iTunes extras.

The regular Blu-ray comes with a Disney Movies Anywhere code, which can be redeemed for a Marvel code that allows you to download two digital comics (with a account, which is free): Civil War II #0, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther #1. iTunes also features an interactive menu that allows you to find other downloadable movies featuring the lead actors, and featurettes from previous Iron Man and Captain America movies to get newer viewers up to speed. Condensed highlight reels for each can be found on the regular Blu-ray.


The first trailer for Doctor Strange is here too, as well as an ad for a downloadable Marvel app and a sort-of commercial for Audi in which the Russos show how useful the company’s cars were in the tunnel chase sequence.

It would be nice if the disc had all the same extras as the iTunes download, but that’s not the world in which we live. A single disc wouldn’t have been able to contain everything, and bumping up to two discs would have made the regular edition cost more. With the full package and the iTunes extras, this would be a five-burrito purchase for Marvel fans for sure. That’s not the one I was given to review, though. And not getting “Team Thor,” after it was strongly suggested that this feature would be included, knocks off at least half a burrito in my eyes.

Most likely, you already know if you want to buy Civil War, but do think carefully about which version you’re going to buy.

Blu-ray rating: 4.5 burritos.

4.5 burritos

Featured Image: Marvel/Disney

Luke Y. Thompson is the weekend editor for Nerdist and would usually say something clever here. Find him on Twitter @LYTrules.

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