Box Office Democracy: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
I very much enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I enjoyed it so much that I want to discuss the plot in a way that will quickly get in to spoiler territory. If this bothers you please leave now and come back later.
Everyone else good? Great.
I’ve been worried about the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the aftermath of The Avengers; it seemed to cast such a long shadow that the rest of the films withered from the lack of sun. Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and even Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were disappointments on one level or another from having to be compared to the 900lb gorilla of superhero action films. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the first movie to escape that shadow and it does it by not only telling a more personal story but by also feeling like a big movie that affects the rest of the universe. I know Thor destroyed huge parts of England this fall but it never felt like anyone anywhere cared; that is not the case in Captain America’s second feature.
It helps that screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely used two of three interesting plotlines in the history of Captain America to make this movie. The titular Winter Soldier is, of course, ripped from the most exciting development in Cap’s comic series in quite some time but they also layer on top of that the well-worn trope of Captain America at odds with the government he represents. This leads to a movie that feels packed to the gills with story and there’s honestly never a dull moment. There are great, innovative action beats and there are tense espionage scenes and never is the audience left waiting to be entertained. I’m a little worried that the next Captain America movie will suffer from having so many good plots taken for this one but that’s more of a problem for 2016 to worry about.
I remain unsold on Chris Evans. He does a great job looking right but I wish there were more to the character. I’ve never found the comic book Steve Rogers particularly compelling so this might be a personal problem. I’m not asking for a recast I’m just asking to feel a little more like I’m actually watching a man finding out his childhood best friend is both alive and an evil assassin. Scarlett Johansson is delightful as Black Widow; it’s enough to make you sad that she’ll never get a solo movie in the MCU but I’m quite content to watch her steal these other movies.
This movie should but won’t be the nail in the coffin for the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series. Finding out that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been infiltrated at the highest levels by HYDRA and has been secretly doing their bidding for 70 years but no one on the show had any idea or will really acknowledge it shows the flaw in having a weekly MCU show. They can’t have the budget to do the big things or the lateral movement to change things lest they confuse moviegoers who don’t watch the show. This exposes the show as adrift in creative no-man’s land.
- REVIEW – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (comicmix.com)