‘Civil War’ pays off despite weak premise

Civil War should be seen in the largest venue possible. The preview was at an IMAX theater and there were at least two times during the screening where the sound system (that has sound specs equivalent with the visuals) brought a whole new way of interpreting events by the scale of its defiance to the film’s otherwise normalcy. In other words the bullets and explosion were jump scare loud.

Frankly, and as an admirer of Alex Garland who wrote and directed Civil War, the build up at the beginning feels really forced. But the ending absolutely slays.

The conceit that Civil Wars uses like a crutch is that there is more than one faction in a nation wide civil war. The thought that Texas and California would be allies in their own rebellious union is either top-tier satire or a blind Anglican interpretation of Christian metaphors.

Great cast all the way around, and that includes cameos. Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Cailee Spaeny headline as war corespondents and photographers.

The quartet are driving to Washington D. C. on an assignment to interview the President of the United States. Getting there may be a problem as most interstates are clogged with abandoned cars and backroads are filled with militias of many stripes.

Perhaps the most bothersome thing is that in a kitchen-sink-variety-war-flick manner you have characters that have endless props such as unlimited cigarettes, bottles of designer vodka, and most unlikely a portable film development lab. The unimaginable resources are seemingly contained in a SUV with a luggage rack.

There’s a specific type of action war film that revolves around combat reporters only in each film it takes place during an actual war: The Story of G.I. Joe; Under Fire; Salvador; 84 Charlie Mo-Pic; The Hunting Party; Welcome to Sarajevo. Civil War attempts to upset that cart while embracing the genre.

The finale pays off with dark humor and action beats in a way that clicks off the boxes of the film’s thematic spine.

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