Sometimes, when something you have low expectations for or are expecting to be bad actually reveals itself to be better than what you thought it was going to be, it can fill you with a sense of joy and praise towards that product when it may not be deserving of such praise. It is only upon further reflection when you realize this and admit to yourself that you were wrong about those particular products.. And yes, this is me admitting I was too nice to both Captain America: Civil War, and Star Wars: Rogue One.
Civil War is still far better than the comic book from which it takes its name, thanks especially to a smaller cast and more personal conflicts amplifying the stakes. Civil War is a flawed but very much enjoyable movie, but not one of the best comic book films I’ve seen. Most of the positive things I said in my review still hold up. Spider-Man (Tom Holland) is still as great as he was when I first watched him. Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), have great character moments. However, the movie, and I worry the MCU in general, seems to have no idea what to do with characters such as Vision (Paul Bettany), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) because of how powerful they are. I can barely remember anything they did in the entire movie except for Wanda unintentionally blowing up a hospital. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) is just sort of there, but it’s Paul Rudd so he makes his presence known and is a welcome source of levity amidst the pretense. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is on the pro-registration side in spite of her clear defiance and contempt of the government and loyalty only to her comrades-in-arms, especially from Winter Soldier. Not only that, but she seems to only do whatever the plot needs her to do at the exact same moment to the point where she veers so off-character. Zemo (Daniel Bruhl) was more lucky than anything the more that I think about it, and though I am willing to forgive much of it as similar to a James Bond movie, some of his menace is lost.. Civil War is still mostly enjoyable in spite of these issues, but it is difficult to regard it as one of the best.
In contrast, Rogue One is not very enjoyable. While better than it could have been, Rogue One is an okay-to-average movie that can best be described as the best Star Wars fan film. After having seen it again to collect my thoughts, I began to see this movie in a much different light. For one thing, there is no reason to care about anything that happens in the film without the Star Wars connections. None of the characters are particularly memorable except for the ones played by the most famous movie stars or previous Star Wars actors, namely Forest Whitaker (Platoon, Arrival), Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, A Royal Affair), Donnie Yen (Hero, Ip Man), and Jimmy Smits (NYPD Blue, The West Wing). The action is spectacular but that’s about everything that good that can be said about Rogue One’s “new” elements. The best parts are when it reminds us the older movies and shows the Stormtroopers, the spaceships, the walking vehicles, the Death Star, Darth Vader, etc.
I just want to ask, am I the only one who actually groaned when they showed Darth Vader and his lightsaber in action? For me, that symbolized that the movie really did not have any idea what to do with itself and was desperate to provide something. So much for a gritty war drama without the lightsabers and the Force.
Are my previous reviews invalid? No. I still stand by those reviews as how I felt at the time and wholly legitimate. I’m just offering my updated thoughts. I hope I will not have to do another one of these, but I felt compelled.
Image from comicbook.com