Impossible Sides; Irreconcilable Differences.
If you thought Winter Soldier changed the shape of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, wait until you see Captain America: Civil War.There's no question that the Russo brothers have taken the mantle from Joss Whedon in forging the shape of the future of the MCU, having already delivered what is likely still the best entry by far with Winter Soldier, and now following it up here with a storming ensemble mash-up that refocusses the events following on from Phase 2 of Marvel's run into another game-changing war. For those somewhat tired of seeing alien invasions and cities destroyed,Civil War makes this very personal instead. Joss Whedon may have shown the path to bringing all of these heroes together in one movie, successfully; but, once they've been brought together, the Russo Brothers clearly know how to better tear them apart. The is certainly the Golden Age of Marvel Movies.Although a Captain America movie in name, this is almost a full Avengers outing, with Hulk and Thor conspicuous in their absence only for the first few minutes. The introduction of a couple of key new players is expertly handled and seamlessly integrated, once again showing that Marvel still has the edge and still knows how to handle their own characters - even the ones they've borrowed. Stark's character is as well-developed here as he's ever been, building on what's come before, whilst delving further into his past, all the while perfectly drip-feeding the events of Cap and Bucky's own past into the same messy universe full of hidden secrets and traumatic revelations, drawing the trio into a messy, political - but ultimately personal - conflict. Unmissable.
Picture QualityCaptain America: Civil War hits UK Region Free Blu-ray in a comprehensive 2D/3D set that promotes the epic with a 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition 2D video presentation and a 1080p/MVC-encoded High Definition 3D video presentation, both (mostly) in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 widescreen.
Detail is excellent almost throughout the piece, with seamlessly (again, for the most part) integrated CG elements crafting a wonderfully realised world of superheroes battling on our planet. Clarity is impressive, with strong close-up detail on wounds, textures, skin and hair - and battle damage detail - whilst the colour scheme is broad and vibrant, with some excellent range, natural skin tones and solid, rich black levels.
Civil War looks excellent in 2D and 3D, with the latter allowing for a fuller IMAX experience even at home
The 3D conversion brings several of the biggest setpieces to life - like when the airport scene is opened up to 1.78:1 so that you can enjoy it in all its glory. The shaky-cam feel to the opening sequence thankfully calms down fairly quickly, and proves to be the only scene that doesn't sit well in 3D, with latter skirmishes and epic battles impressing with the discrete objects at play, each given roundedness and depth. Even in the more static sequences, tangible level of depth is afforded to the piece, again reminding us of just how far conversions have come, even if - and this is no exception - they can't quite compete with the real thing.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is another spectacular effort to match up to the stellar video
It's curious that Disney/Marvel have not adopted the new Ultra HD Blu-ray format, and curious that, even though many of their films have Dolby Atmos tracks for the cinema, the home cinema releases haven't utilised them. Nevertheless, if we weren't aware of the next level staging of Atmos, tracks like this would undoubtedly prove irrefutably impressive - which they arguably are for the majority of home cinema enthusiasts. Dialogue gets keen presentation across the fronts and centre channels, whilst effects are well-observed across the array, offering up some discrete prioritisation even without the wonders of Atmos. With a rousing score beneath and plenty of LFE input, this is a great track.
Steelbook ExtrasThe UK Zavvi-Exclusive Steelbook boasts all of the extras on the 2D disc, headlined by an Audio Commentary by directors the Russo Brothers and their co-screenwriters, who look at the building of this milestone conflict from the bottom up, and fitting all the moving parts together to get an end result that is a cohesive whole.
The 50-minute Behind the Scenes Documentary United We Stand, Divided We Fall is split into two parts and looks at the burgeoning group of characters, in particular the new arrivals, and crafting an ongoing, naturally evolving story in order to introduce and incorporate them. Separate Captain America: The Road to Civil War (a title from the original source novels) and Iron Man: The Road to Civil War Featurettes, each only a few minutes long, briefly summarise the opposing viewpoints, with the related content rounded off by 4 Deleted/Extended Scenes and a Gag Reel. There are also a number of Promo Trailers and an extended look behind Doctor Strange.
A comprehensive selection of extras housed in an impressively designed Steelbook
Zavvi's UK-exclusive steelbook looks outstanding and grabs the core theme of the film with an iconic design complete with just enough embossing to give it a nice, impressive edge. It looks fantastic amongst the other MCU titles, even if they're running out of room for all the characters on the spine!
VerdictJoss Whedon knew how to bring them all together, and the Russo Brothers know how to tear them apart
This outstanding 2-disc Steelbook Blu-ray release of Captain America: Civil War provides demo quality 2D and 3D - opened up for the IMAX sequences - as well as excellent audio and a solid selection of extra features. This is top tier Marvel superhero material and a stellar release which should be top of your list of must-have titles.
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