J A Garrett

Curiously nerdy posts.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier thoughts.

Saturday afternoon, I went to go hit up the local cinema to go watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Despite my longstanding policy on avoiding any and all hype on stuff I want to watch, play, read, etc, I couldn’t really help it with this movie. This was for a couple of reasons:

1) Captain America is one of my favorite Marvel superheroes. I’ve loved him ever since I was a kid. It’s not even about the patriotic thing, either. I love heroes that are “street level” power, like Batman, Cap, Green Arrow, and Nightwing. Probably has something to do with their weaknesses being basic human ones, and not silly gimmicks.

But there’s also the appeal of his signature weapon. I have always adored the idea of a guy that doesn’t even use a conventional weapon to beat you. He uses a SHIELD to beat your face in. Sure, he can throw it like a discus, but it’s still a defensive weapon that he turns into an offensive one. I’ve always loved that.

2) I really liked the first Captain America movie. In terms of what are now identified as the “phase 1” Marvel movies, I put the original right behind Iron Man on my personal enjoyment list. I like how it merged a period style movie with superhero fixings.

And this movie? Well, it was even better.

 

What I liked:

Chris Evans as Captain America. Like any other person who saw him in the Fantastic Four movies, I remember scratching my head when I saw he was going to play Cap. But now? I have a hard time seeing him being anything else BUT Cap.

It’s really hard to play a character wearing a flag as a costume and not make them come off as one dimensional and corny. But he never comes close to that. He brings a quiet, almost Clint Eastwood style to the role that lets you know he really does believe what he says, but he doesn’t come across as silly or delusional for saying it. He’s the embodiment of Captain America when the character really works: people follow him for what he does, not for what he says.

Really like this choice of costume, too. Even if if it is a bit Top Gun.

This movie really improves the character in a myriad of ways, though. In both The First Avenger and The Avengers, Cap gets all the hype as a one man army, a badass that’s almost unstoppable. But you rarely ever see it, and when you do, he just smacks something with his shield. This movie fixes that. You get to see him engage in some serious CQC (close quarters combat) to the point where I almost felt like I was watching a martial arts movie. The movie even basically starts with him almost singlehandedly freeing a hostage ship from a bunch of terrorists.

But it also takes the time to show why it would suck to be Cap, as well. The scene where he visits Peggy was really heart-wrenching, in multiple ways. It made you realize that you can be 6’2, 240 pounds, look ridiculously good in a white tee, and still have a life that kind of sucks. Cap is alone in the modern world, where everyone he knew and loved is dead. This makes the climax of the film make complete sense, and poignant at that.

The plot. I probably would’ve enjoyed this movie, regardless. But what makes this movie special is the plot. It does everything you could ask for out of slice of a bigger picture. It’s basically a story of conspiracy, betrayal, “trust no one” espionage, and a cutting commentary on the NSA. All in one. It’s like someone took a quality plot from a spy thriller, and put Marvel characters in it. As someone who loves both comic books AND spy thrillers, this movie felt like scratching that one spot on your back right between your shoulder blades that’s hard to reach… for 2 hours straight. That, my friends, is a good thing.

It’s funny, really. You’d think I would be sick of any plots that offer commentary on the NSA, how the United States is trying to turn itself into a police state, and so on. But this movie does it well, and does it while making it still have actual context to the story it’s trying to tell, and the cinematic Marvel universe as a whole. Because make no mistake, this movie basically tells us “Yeah, we’re based on comics. But we’re telling our own original story from here on out.”

And you know what? That’s exciting, if there are more movies like this.

Robert Redford. Cheers to whoever made this happen, as he was PERFECT for this role. The only way it would’ve been better was if Paul Newman was still alive to cameo as well. It probably would’ve been silly, but I wouldn’t have cared.

The action. For a movie this heavy on action (I’d venture to guess the action scenes take almost an hour out of the movie), they had better be good ones, or I’d have gotten bored quickly. Good news! Minimal shaky cam, and no ADD camera jumps.

This fight scene in particular is fantastic.

Also, there is very little CGI compared to most of the Marvel films, and it looked absolutely fabulous for it.

The conversation in the truck. I won’t spoil the context, but I really loved it. It sounded like a conversation my fiancee and I had a long time ago.

Gotta be the hat.

What I didn’t like:

I’m going to be pretty nitpicky here, but that’s just because this movie was really good. Be warned, mini spoilers ahoy. But only for a second.

Why doesn’t Nick Fury have a phone in his fancy Suburban? He basically has the SUV version of the Batmobile, and clearly WANTS to call Hill for backup and help. Instead he gives up when his vehicle’s comm system is damaged. The scene was awesome otherwise, but that just made me a little annoyed.

Falcon could’ve used more screen time. Cap and Black Widow’s camaraderie makes sense, given that they’ve been through war together before. But even there, he didn’t trust her much at first. But Falcon shows up at the start of this whole mess, and by the end of the movie, he’s Cap’s zealous sidekick ready to trudge through hell and back with him? For a rattled veteran that wanted out of combat, he sure is eager to get back into it.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like the character, and the guy who played him. He just wasn’t really all that developed. Maybe the sequel will fix that. I hope so.

 

Bottom line:

This movie was awesome. It’s a great movie that just happens to have a guy with an unbreakable shield and super strength. It’s based off one of the best comic book arcs. The acting is great. The effects are AWESOME. Go see it.

I give this movie *****. I’ll even go buy the DVD when it comes out. And that takes a lot for me to do.

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2 comments on “Captain America: The Winter Soldier thoughts.

  1. addisoncrow
    April 12, 2014

    The Stan Lee cameo was one of the best as well – perhaps even better than “Superheroes in New York? Give me a break!”

  2. CMrok93
    April 25, 2014

    It was a very fun movie that I definitely think Marvel has down pat by now. Let’s hope they keep this up. Good review J A.

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