It’s a pleasant surprise to be pleasantly surprised with a Hollywood “blockbuster”, but here I am, quite happy indeed, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
I have to admit, it was kind of surprising that the first Captain America movie was so good. It really had the potential to be overly corny. So, when I saw the trailer for the new Cap film, I was hopeful. It’s a pleasant surprise to be pleasantly surprised with a Hollywood “blockbuster”, but here I am, quite happy indeed, with Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
It’s been a couple years since the events of The Avengers, and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is trying to adjust to the modern world. it’s nice that he keeps a little shopping list of things people tell him to experience, like Thai food, grunge music, and certain movies. Seems he only uses a smart phone for when S.H.I.E.L.D. needs him to go on a mission, which is exactly what happens after making a new friend of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) while on a morning run. Well, OUT running Sam Wilson, is more like it. Superheroes are fast, y’all.
The mission involves an important S.H.I.E.L.D. boat being taken by terrorists and Nick Fury (yep, still Samuel L. Jackson) wants Cap – accompanied by the lovely Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow – to take care of business and get the hostages safe. But Rogers gets the feeling something else is going on, and when he finds Black Widow more concerned about retrieving computer files than the mission he’s on, he gets pissed off.
This, and Fury showing Cap S.H.I.E.L.D.’s new project, opens the door to some interesting political commentary about the moral quandry of pre-emptive stiking, security, and shady people in positions of power. They don’t lay it on too thick, though. They still want this to be a big comic book movie with some fun. And they do indeed dish that out, big time. The new project, if it got into the wrong hands – Oh, wait, it DOES get into the wrong hands, as you might expect. But those hands turn out to be closer than is comfortable. Classing up the joint is Robert Redford, who plays Alexander Pierce, that shady person in power, who, ironically, was the kind of character Redford spent a lot of time running from in his movie from the 70’s. I’m guessing that this might be part of what drew Redford to the role. Pierce has very different ideas about “protecting” the citizens of this country, and his ways are much too gray for Cap, who still holds onto his more black and white code, which is kind of what makes him cornily refreshing.
If Pierce’s nefarious plans weren’t enough to occupy Rogers, then surely this mythical foe referred to as The Winter Soldier will pose a serious thorn in his side. He’s fast, and about as stong, as Cap. Their fight sequences are great – if not shot with a bit too much of that hand-held camera work. Actually the action in Captain America: The Winter Soldieer is pretty brutal. It’s like every punch and kick is so hard you can feel it in your seat. It really gives you the sensation of watching a super hero with super-strength going hand-to-hand. actually, for me,this works great.
The cast here is excellent, Evans still shines as Captain America, Scarlett Johansson is so good that I think this might prove to SOMEBODY that she deserves her own Black Widow film. Anthony Mackie should easily acquire some return visits as Sam Wilson/Falcon based on this performance. Cobie Smulders returns as Agent Maria Hill, securing some high profile work now that How I Met Your Mother is done. And of course, Jackson as Nick Fury is his fine self, and he gets quite a bit more screen time here. A LOT happens with im in this, but I’m not blabbing any of it here, no sir. I will add that there are a few surprises to be had here, so enjoy.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is probably the most adult of the comic book hero movie thus far, yet still gives us plenty of Marvel action and set-up post credits; offering TWO stinger scenes, so stay in your seats, kids. If I had anything negative to say here, there are definitely some moments where it wasn’t a terribly big surprsie as to what was going to happen, such as the aforementioned new S.H.I.E.L.D. project that ends up in the wrong hands. You know that’s coming, it’s how most of these conflicts start. But you won’t mind too much because there is still enough cool stuff and human element in this to carry the film. There’s also a fair amount of great character background and on screen chemistry.
So, Marvel continues it’s reign here with a strong Captain America sequel. Easy 4 kittenhands from me. This is a great pre-summer season film that feels like a summer blockbuster – one I’m happy about.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, SO ready for the new Godzilla film. Seriously. Have you seen those trailers? Gives me chills, man.