Sunday, April 6, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

   If you'd told me 10 years ago that Marvel would be cranking out blockbuster films featuring some of my favorite Marvel heroes, I would have laughed in your face.

   But here I sit, having just seen the second Captain America movie, and guess what? It's one of "Hollywood's" best action movies since The Avengers.

   Is it better than that film? (That's the first thing everyone asks.) It doesn't quite manage that - but it's very close.

   Where the first Cap movie was a World War II period piece (with some science fiction elements thrown in), this is an espionage / action film, with some genuinely surprising plot twists, great action sequences (both real and CGI), some good character beats, well-placed humor and a lot of heart.

   The story starts with a rollicking rescue sequence on a highjacked ship at sea, and launches right into the mystery of who has infiltrated SHIELD and what their ultimate goals are.

   The movie is actually a team adventure, with the Black Widow getting more room to grow (glad to hear she's getting her own films), Nick Fury taking a much more active role in the adventuring and the Falcon joining the Marvel film universe.

   As the title gives away, Cap runs up against the Winter Soldier, a brutal opponent who has surprising connections to Cap (unless you've read the comics - or any articles about the movie, both of which give away those surprises).

   Better than being just another action flick, this is a movie with some ideas behind it, and it scores some points for hitting some thoughtful buttons about our digital society and the price of vigilance - and freedom.

   Since Cap has always been one of my favorite characters, I love Chris Evans' portrayal of him as a Gary Cooper-like good guy who's willing to tackle the dirty jobs to protect his country. But he's not humorless or a cipher - he has a sense of humor, he's intelligent, he's humble - but a great leader and extremely capable, and willing to go to great pains to protect his friends.

   If I had to complain about something, it would be the sometimes extreme violence - there's a lot of shooting going on here, and you have to think some innocent civilians got caught in the crossfire. But this film is never gory or repulsive - it's all about the action, not the violence.

   I wanted to see this before too many of the surprises could be spoiled - and I urge you to do the same. It's a terrific film - kudos to Marvel Studios for once again hitting it out of the park!

Grade: A


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good analysis!