2021 Oscars Predictions – Who Will Win, Who Should Win

Ok so it’s one day before Oscars telecast tomorrow night, so I’m obviously kinda late to the party, but what the heck. I suppose, before those envelopes are opened, it’s still fair game, right? 

I actually haven’t seen ALL of the nominees, but hey, that hasn’t stopped me from making predictions in years past, so it’s not going to stop me this year, either 🙂 Also, in case you’re wondering, this prediction is based on gut instinct, so not exactly scientifically based. The SHOULD WIN category is who I would like to win, as in the one I’m rooting for this year (except for in categories where I have not seen ANY of the nominated films).

In any case, here we go:

Best Picture

The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: Nomadland

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
David Fincher, Mank
ChloĂ© Zhao, Nomadland
Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

WHO WILL WIN: Chloé Zhao
WHO SHOULD WIN: Chloé Zhao

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

WHO WILL WIN: Chadwick Boseman
WHO SHOULD WIN: Chadwick Boseman

Best Actress

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

WHO WILL WIN: Carey Mulligan
WHO SHOULD WIN: Viola Davis

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

WHO WILL WIN: Daniel Kaluuya
WHO SHOULD WIN: Paul Raci

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

WHO WILL WIN: Yuh-Jung Youn
WHO SHOULD WIN: Olivia Colman

Best Original Song

“Husavik (My Hometown),” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Fight for You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
“Io Se (Seen),” The Life Ahead
“Speak Now,” One Night in Miami…
“Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Speak Now
WHO SHOULD WIN: Io Se (Seen)

Best Original Score

Da 5 Bloods
Mank
Minari
News of the World
Soul

WHO WILL WIN: Soul
WHO SHOULD WIN: Soul

Best Cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
News of the World
Nomadland
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: Nomadland

Best Adapted Screenplay

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
The Father
Nomadland
One Night in Miami…
The White Tiger

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: One Night In Miami

Best Original Screenplay

Judas and the Black Messiah
Minari
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Promising Young Woman
WHO SHOULD WIN: Sound of Metal

Best Animated Feature

Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

WHO WILL WIN: Soul
WHO SHOULD WIN: Wolfwalkers

Best Documentary Short Subject

Colette
A Concerto is a Conversation
Do Not Split
Hunger Ward
A Love Song For Latasha

WHO WILL WIN: A Love Song for Latasha

Best Documentary Feature

Collective
Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
Time

WHO WILL WIN: My Octopus Teacher

Best International Feature

Another Round
Better Days
Collective
The Man Who Sold His Skin
Quo Vadis, Aida?

WHO WILL WIN: Another Round

Best Film Editing

The Father
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

WHO WILL WIN: Nomadland
WHO SHOULD WIN: Nomadland

Best Costume Design

Emma
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Mulan
Pinocchio

WHO WILL WIN: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
WHO SHOULD WIN: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Best Hair and Makeup

Emma
Hillbilly Elegy 
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 
Mank
Pinocchio 

WHO WILL WIN: Mank
WHO SHOULD WIN: Mank

Best Production Design

The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
News of the World
Tenet 

WHO WILL WIN: Mank
WHO SHOULD WIN: The Father

Best Visual Effects

Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
The One and Only Ivan
Tenet

WHO WILL WIN: Tenet
WHO SHOULD WIN: Tenet

Best Sound

Greyhound
Mank
News of the World
Soul
Sound of Metal

WHO WILL WIN: Sound Of Metal
WHO SHOULD WIN: Sound Of Metal

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow”
“Genius Loci”
“If Anything Happens I Love You”
“Opera”

WHO WILL WIN: If Anything Happens I Love You

Best Live Action Short Film

“Feeling Through”
“The Letter Room”
“The Present”
“Two Distant Strangers”
“White Eye”

WHO WILL WIN: The Letter Room


Ok let’s see how many I get right tomorrow night. HAPPY OSCAR WEEKEND, everyone!!

FlixChatter Review – Da 5 Bloods (2020)

In the last few years, Netflix has attracted several talented filmmakers to come and make films for their streaming service. Talents such as Fincher, Scorsese and Cauron has come on board and now Spike Lee has joined the crowd. The last film I saw from Lee was the much-hated remake of OLDBOY, even though I’m a big fan of the Korean original version, I didn’t hate Lee’s remake, I actually enjoyed it. To be fair, Lee disowned that film because the studio butchered his original cut to make it shorter. Now Lee’s tackle a Vietnam war theme film that sits on my top best films list so far this year.

During the Vietnam war in the late 1960s, buddies Paul (Dilroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis), Melvin (Isiah Whitelock) and Stormin’ Norman (the late Chadwick Boseman) formed a tight bond fighting in a war for country that rejects their presence because the color of their skin. Seeing the lives of their fellow soldiers being lost in a war they don’t believe in, Paul, Otis, Eddie and Melvin looked up to Norman for leadership. Norman educates the men about the value of their lives and black history. During botched a mission in the jungle of Vietnam, the group found a chest of American gold meant to be a protection payment. They decided to bury the gold and come back to collect it once the war is over. 50 years later, four of the men Paul, Otis, Eddie and Melvin decided to go back to Vietnam to find the gold and also their leader Norman.

The plot of Da 5 Bloods broke into two parts, the first is about the men coming back to a country that’s now modern and full of tourists. It’s not the same place they remembered, Paul is having a hard time accepting the fact that the Vietnamese are no longer the enemy, while the other men are enjoying their time in a country that don’t really judge them based solely on the color of their skin. Otis who’s now the leader of the group, met up with an old flame Tien (Le Y Lan) who can connect the men with a Frenchman named Desroche (Jean Reno) that can help them move the gold out of the country. The men also have local guide named Vinh Tran (Johnny Nguyen) who helps them navigate through the city and into the jungle. The second part became more of an action/adventure as the men look for their buried gold and battle with the local henchmen that’s been following them.

With a runtime of 155 minutes, the script is credited to 4 writers including Lee. It’s a meaty script that could’ve derailed the story but Lee’s on top of his game and really took his time to tell the tale. Just like his other films, the film is full of political and racial subject matters that’s as relevant in today’s politics as it was back during the Vietnam war. The cinematography by Newton Thomas Sigel is quite spectacular, this is probably the most “cinematic” looking film that Netflix has ever produced. I thought other films that they’ve made still has that made for TV look to them. Sigel and Lee really shot this film meant for the big screen. The only thing I didn’t really like was Lee’s decision to switch aspect ratios. The flashback scenes during the war were shown in boxy 1.33:1, the present-day scenes in the city were shown in cinemascope 2.39:1 and the second half jungle scenes were in flat 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I’m sure Lee has his reasons for that decision, but I don’t understand why he’d done that. I would’ve been fine with the film being shown in constant wider aspect ratio of 2.39:1.

Performances were great all around. With Paul being the lead in the film, Delroy Lindo shined as a trouble character who has to come face to face with a guilt that he can’t accept since the war. This guilt has been haunting throughout his life since the war ended. Another great performance belongs Clarke Peters, he’s the more level headed man of the group and tried to keep the group together when they face troubles in the jungle. Even though he’s featured prominently during the promotion of the film (given this is his last film released before he died), Boseman only appeared in flashback scenes and has about 10 minutes of screen time. But he’s great as the leader of men who needs someone to guide them during war time.

I thought this is one of Lee’s best films and I think it could be in the Oscar race comes awards season. Assuming there will be any awards this year. If you’re a Netflix subscriber then this film is a no brainer, it comes highly recommended.

4.5/5 stars


At the end of Da 5 Bloods, Lee showed with a quote from a speech by Martin Luther King Jr. that made the year before he died, in which King quotes literary icon Langston Hughes:

“O, yes/ I say it plain/ America never was America to me/ And yet I swear this oath—America will be!”


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So have you seen DA 5 BLOODS? Well, what did you think?

FlixChatter Review – 21 Bridges (2019)

Before the superhero genre dominated the box office, super cop action thrillers were the blockbusters of the 80s and most of the 90s. Films such as Lethal Weapon, Die Hard and Beverly Hills Cop spawned several sequels and earned millions back in the days. 21 Bridges tried to bring that genre back to the big screen and it starred the late Chadwick Boseman as the action super cop.

The story takes place in one night in NYC as two low level criminals Ray (Taylor Kitsch) and Michael (Stephen James) decided to steal some cocaine from a local mob restaurant. Things didn’t go as planned when the cops showed up and a shootout ensued. Ray ended up killing several cops at the scene and he and Michael was able to escape. Police Captain McKenna (J.K. Simmons) is furious and wants justice for the fallen officers, so he called in Detective Andre (Chadwick Boseman) to track down the two criminals. Andre is forced to partner up with another cop named Frankie (Sienna Miller).

Knowing that Ray and Michael are still in Manhattan somewhere, Andre order all of the 21 bridges in the island to be closed. As the night progresses, it’s a cat and mouse game between Andre his new partner Frankie and the two criminals. To anyone who’ve seen this kind of genre before, the story is pretty simple and most the audience will figure out what’s really going before the hero does.

Stephen James & Taylor Kitsch

The screenplay by Adam Mervis and Mathew Michael Carnahan started out pretty well, it has the potential to be a great action thriller with the real time chase element. But as the story progresses, they couldn’t help but to bring in eye-rolling clichés that’s been done in several cop action thrillers of the past. Also, not helping was how the climatic sequence was written, it’s basically something out of a Steven Seagal’s films of the 80s and 90s. My guess is that the scene was probably a reshoot after test audience didn’t like the original ending.

Director Brian Kirk did a decent job with keeping the story moving along with some good action sequences and didn’t try to make it into some super serious action thriller that plagued too many action films in the last decade.

Being that the script was kind of weak, Boseman was good as the action hero even though he didn’t really have much to do except to chase the criminals. Same can be said of Sienna Miller’s Frankie, although her NY accent was pretty bad. As for the rest of cast, they played their part well but nothing spectacular.

This is a good example of a film that has good ideas, but the execution just wasn’t there. Probably another round of rewrites of the script would help. I think with a better talented group behind the scenes, it could’ve been a really good suspense and thrilling action film.

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So have you seen 21 BRIDGES? Well, what did you think?

Chadwick Boseman 1976-2020

Rest in Power and Love, Chadwick Boseman – a real life superhero

This weekend we lost a young but powerful figure of cinema… Chadwick Boseman, who died at the age of 43 after a four-year battle of colon cancer. I was in the midst of watching a movie on Friday night, specifically a miniseries, on Amazon Prime that I had been wanting to watch for ages. I usually left my phone away while watching a movie, but I somehow checked on it in between episodes, and was absolutely flabbergasted.

If you’re like me, most likely you had been totally blindsided by the fact that  Boseman had been sick all these years. The statement on his Twitter account read that he was was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 and thus he filmed many movies during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy.

Looking at his IMDb profile, there were no less than eight films that he must have filmed while he was undergoing treatment:

  1. Da 5 Bloods
  2. 21 Bridges
  3. Avengers: Endgame
  4. Avengers: Infinity War
  5. Black Panther
  6. Marshall
  7. Message from the King
  8. Captain America: Civil War

All the while he kept his condition and suffering privately, instead, Boseman chose to bless others with his talents… not just in his astounding performances, but also to his many, many fans. Such as this moment where he surprised many of his fans on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon:

I remember being moved to tears by his genuine gentleness and grace, and you could tell he really appreciated his fans and they knew that. Perhaps Boseman was excellent in portraying real-life heroes, Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, not only because he was a gifted actor, but also because he too, was a real-life hero.

Many film fans knew him as King T’Challa aka Black Panther, in the smash hit Marvel superhero movie. It was definitely one of my top 10 favorite MCU movies, as Black Panther was more than just a superhero movie… it became a phenomenon and statement of success for representation and diversity. It’s as if the #WakandaForever became a defiant force for the under-represented in Hollywood that people of color ought to have a voice and when they’re allowed to shine, the world will respond in kind. Yes, the film was a state of the art, competently made by Ryan Coogler & his team, and filled with terrific supporting actors… but it’s the power, grace and dignity of Boseman who lead the film that made us believe in T’Challa’s heroism, and what he stood for.

As Boseman was a private person, there were few known facts about him when he lived… and I really respect that. I read a bunch of articles in the past couple of days, simply trying to get a glimpse at who Boseman was, not just as an actor but as a human being… and many of the facts confirmed just what a hero he was in real life.

Here are seven lesser-known facts to me that I thought you might find interesting:

He fought to give An African Accent To T’Challa

Per this article, before filming began, Chadwick was presented with two options: keep his American accent or take on a British one.

Chadwick felt that either option implied that Wakanda had been colonized. He worked with a dialect coach to produce his accent in the film, which is based in the Xhosa language.

He received his Bachelors in directing

Per The Things website, initially, Boseman wasn’t going to become an actor. He wanted to become a writer and director instead. Even when he was at school, he wrote and staged a play. Then Boseman went on to study to Howard University and majored in directing there. After graduating, he moved to Brooklyn and began pursuing his career — writing and directing small off-Broadway plays. Boseman decided to take acting courses only to better understand the actors better. “I really only started acting because I wanted to know what the actors were doing, how to communicate with the actors.” 

He was a playwright

Per TheaterMania, Boseman wrote his first play in high school. Crossroads, which was performed by students, was written in response to the death of a classmate, a young man on his basketball team who was shot and killed.

More about his theatre roots from that article:

After graduating, Boseman taught acting to students in the Schomburg Junior Scholars Program, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. He immersed himself in the hip-hop theater scene, working with Howard classmate Kamilah Forbes to create the play with music Rhyme Deferred, which toured the United States and appears in the Hip Hop Theatre Anthology The Fire This Time. He wrote and directed the play Hieroglyphic Graffiti, which was produced at Negro Playwright’s Theatre, Kuntu Repertory, the National Black Theatre Festival, and the Hip Hop Theatre Festival.

Boseman’s most well-known play is titled Deep Azure, which was commissioned and produced by the Congo Square Theatre Company. It earned him a 2006 Jeff Award nomination for Best New Play.

He did not have to audition for Black Panther

Due to his history of biopics and tremendous roles, Boseman didn’t even have to audition for Black Panther. After seeing the actor in Get On Up, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige knew that it was the man he wanted to see as King T’Challa. “I think it was 24 hours between saying his name in a creative story meeting and talking to his agent and getting on a phone with him and offering him the role of Black Panther, which he accepted,” Feige said,

It’s incredible given the fact that Boseman had just been acting in films for about five years prior to his Black Panther role. His big movie break came in 2012 (when he was already in his 30s) when he got the career-breaking role in 42 as Jackie Robinson. He was up against 25 actors for the role of the baseball great. According to this article,  it was rumored that Robinson’s widow was initially unhappy with the casting and had hoped that Denzel Washington would play the role. However, she was happy with the final result of the film and has since become friends with Boseman.

He was a Christian

I read in several articles that Boseman was raised a Christian and he still kept his faith. Per Christianity Today, Boseman grew up in the church, and it has been reported that his former pastor praised him for always being involved in serving at the church and helping others. Baptised and raised as a Christian, Boseman maintained his Christian faith through his development into Hollywood stardom.

In the video below in his tribute to Denzel Washington, he referenced a Bible verse of Ephesians 3:20, saying, “May God bless you exceedingly and abundantly more for what’s in store than He ever has before. God bless you.”

He owed a lot to Phylicia Rashad + Denzel Washington

Following graduation from Howard University, Boseman studied at the British American Dramatic Academy in Oxford, England. Thanks to his acting mentor, Phylicia Rashad (from the Cosby Show) that Denzel Washington ended up paying for his tuition, plus nine of his fellow Howard theater students, at Oxford University.

He was trained in Martial Arts

Per that TvOverMind article, Boseman was also trained in martial arts. This came in handy for his role as Black Panther and he was well prepared for the action scenes. However, he and other cast members had to attend a boot camp to fully prepare them for the physical aspects of their roles. The stunts in Black Panther’ were predominantly performed by Boseman and the cast members rather than by stunt professionals.


The Yasuke Movie

The hard-working actor had a lot on his plate and one of the films he had signed on to do was to play Yasuke, the first and only black Japanese Samurai.

Per Deadline, Yasuke was a native of Portuguese Mozambique who was brought to Japan as a slave to Jesuit missionaries. The first black man to set foot on Japanese soil, Yasuke’s arrival aroused the interest of Nobunaga, a ruthless warlord seeking to unite the fractured country under his banner. A complex relationship developed between the two men as Yasuke earned Nobunaga’s friendship, respect — and ultimately, the honor, swords and title of samurai.

Photo courtesy of thegedsection.com

This is what Boseman said about the role in that article written in May 2019:

“The legend of Yasuke is one of history’s best kept secrets, the only person of non-Asian origin to become a Samurai,” Boseman said. “That’s not just an action movie, that’s a cultural event, an exchange, and I am excited to be part of it.”

Oh how awesome would it be to see Boseman in this film… he’s so perfect for the role, and his martial arts training would’ve been put to great use. Alas…

It remains to be seen what would happen to this project. I sure hope it would still get made after Boseman is gone. One thing for sure though, I do NOT want to see Black Panther 2 get made without Boseman… I simply cannot imagine another actor for the part. I think Disney/Marvel should scrap the sequel idea, as it would be disrespectful to recast him and I don’t think it would’ve been successful anyway as fans would refuse to watch it.


I’m still trying to come to terms with Boseman’s untimely death… he’s gone far, far too soon. My heart goes out to his family and friends… and to his wife Taylor Simone Ledward whom he apparently married before he died. I pray the Lord would comfort them during this painful times.

In his relative short career, Boseman made such a huge impact – as a human being AND as an artist. I know he will be missed by many, me included… but for sure, his legacy shall live on.

THANK YOU, Chadwick Boseman… for everything you had done. May God rest his soul.

 

FlixChatter Review – Captain America: Civil War (2016)

CapAmerica_CivilWar_bnr

The buzz over the latest Marvel blockbuster has been through the roof. It’s already made over $200 mil internationally before it even opened here in the US, so no doubt it will wipe out any competition here this weekend.

I have to say that despite my increasing superhero fatigue, I was still looking forward to this one mostly because I love the first two Captain America films, and I have faith in the Russo brothers’ direction. Like Zack Snyder with Batman V Superman, Anthony & Joe Russo had the tricky task of not only continuing the thread of the Avenger story, pulling off a large ensemble cast AND help launch/introduce individual standalone films (Black Panther, Spider-man). Suffice to say the Russos did a much, much better job than Snyder in delivering an entertaining Summer blockbuster that’s actually has depth and thought-provoking ideas. Interesting that The Avengers and Superman share a similar predicament in their effort to safeguard humanity, and how the DC and Marvel tentpole movies are dealing with the issue of accountability.

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The ‘Civil War’ in the title stems from an ideological conflict about what should be done in that issue of accountability and collateral damage, and whether a governing body (in this case the UN) should oversee them. Now, the fact that the perceived common enemy happens to be Steve Rogers’ (Chris Evans) BFF Bucky a.k.a. The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), it’s easy to see which side the Cap is on. The events in The Winter Soldier has undoubtedly made Cap wary of big government and how a centralized power could be manipulative and corrupt. So it makes sense that he won’t be so easily persuaded to sign something like The Sokovia Accords that’d essentially put the Avengers under UN control.

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow: Just because it’s the path of least resistance doesn’t mean it’s the wrong path. Staying together is more important than how we stay together.

Steve Rogers/Captain America: What are we giving up to do it?


Whilst the motive behind Captain firmly believing in self-regulation is more clear cut, I’m not as convinced why Tony Stark would support it with little resistance. A cameo by Alfre Woodard briefly reveals the burden of guilt on Tony’s part as the Stark companies supplies most of the weaponry (including Captain himself who was created in the lab of his dad Howard), but still I’d think he’d be more apprehensive about government interference in the Avengers.

I have to say that the film has a pretty slow start. I understand they’d have to establish the conflict and a reason for all the fighting, but it went on a bit too long for my liking and frankly, it all feels a bit tedious. Thankfully, things do pick up as soon as an incident happens at the UN meeting and before you know it, Captain becomes a hunted man wanted by the government along with Bucky. It’s there that we meet new Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)’s member Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) and he certainly looks the part. This is perhaps one of the most diverse cast in a Marvel film aside from the X-Men franchise.

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I think the fact that the same writers, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, are involved in the Captain America trilogy so far makes the film flow nicely and has a cohesive storyline. They also did a decent job showing the events in previous films to viewers who might not be familiar with the Avengers story, i.e. the battle in the fictional Eastern European country Sokovia in Avenger: Age of Ultron that caused massive collateral damage. Marvel fans would especially enjoy the references and inside jokes, especially during the actual civil war battle involving a dozen MCU superheroes. This is also the first time we see the new Spider-man (Tom Holland) as part of MCU and he’s definitely a highlight. Spidey is supposed to be a wisecrackin’ teenager and Holland’s captured that. All his comments as he’s fighting the other heroes, like referencing Empire Strikes Back and saluting Cap before he fights him, are a hoot.

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Spider-Man (to Bucky): You have a metal arm? That is awesome, dude.

The intro to the appropriately-aged character is full of good humor as he’s fanboying over Iron Man, who somehow still has time to flirt with aunt May (Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr’s co-star in the rom-com Only You) despite a brief 36-hour deadline to arrest Cap. There’s a lot of fanboy-ing going on in this movie that’s so hilarious. My fave part is when Ant-Man (the immensely affable Paul Rudd) meets Cap which got one of the biggest laughs in the theater.

Scott Lang/Ant-Man: Look, man, I know you know a lot of super people so… thinks for thanking of me.

Captain America: Civil War is commendable for having the right balance of story, character, emotion, humor AND high-octane action. The fight scenes are well-choreographed that you can actually see the action despite the sheer number of people fighting. It wasn’t so bombastic that it’s headache-inducing. The story never feels cartoonish even with SO many characters involved and the battles feel sprightly and fun without being frivolous or silly. When one character is injured, we feel the emotion of fellow team members and the sense of solidarity is definitely there. The Captain America trilogy benefits from the strong base of Steve/Bucky relationship established in the first film. I totally believe why Cap would go to such length to protect his best friend and stand by his side regardless of what he’s done, and I think Bucky would’ve done the same if the situation were reversed. I love Evans and Stan even more as they become more at ease in their respective roles, and Anthony Mackie is always so charming and fun as Falcon. I also have to mention how I appreciate Scarlett Johansson‘s Black Widow more and more, and the fact that she’s undeniably torn between the two sides is a testament to her intriguing character arc.

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The key in making a huge ensemble cast work is they have to have a reason for us to care for the characters. It’s getting immensely tricky here but I think keeping the focus on just a small group helps. The final battle between Cap, Iron Man & Winter Soldier is not only cool to watch but it also carries a certain emotional weight because there’s something personal that affects the three of them. It’s perhaps one of the most compelling dramatic moments from RDJ that I’ve seen in all the Iron Man & Avengers movies so far.

That said, I don’t think this film is perfect and I don’t think it’s the greatest MCU film so far, as many critics have said. I’ve mentioned about the rather sluggish start, but there are also moments that don’t really work. Daniel BrĂĽhl is a perfectly capable actor but he barely makes a dent here amongst an ocean of characters, though I think the character’s motive is a pretty decent one. The romance between Cap and Sharon Carter also feels so obligatory and the lack of chemistry between Evans and Emily VanCamp doesn’t help. Oh how I miss Hayley Atwell‘s Agent Carter who’s such a strong female character who doesn’t need any superpowers to make a difference. I also find the music unmemorable as I barely remember any of it, which is odd given I LOVE what Henry Jackman did with The Winter Soldier.

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All in all, it’s a VERY good film that ties all three Captain American movies superbly well and would rank amongst the best film trilogies. After this, I’m even more confident in the Russo brothers’ directing talent and MCU is definitely in capable hands if they continue to make Marvel movies. I love the end credits of the first two Captain America movies and they did an excellent job here as well. In terms of replay-ability value, this one ranks third after The Winter Soldier and The First Avenger, both of which I actually just re-watched last night and I still enjoyed them immensely!

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So have you seen ‘Captain America: Civil War’? Let me know what you think!