What I'm Watching: Captain America - The Winter Soldier
Welcome back, Triskelions!
And boy, is that ever an appropriate nickname for all my fans. All two of you!
ANYways, yeah! I saw Captain America 2 tonight, if that isn't super clear by now. This should be NO surprise to anyone. I love superhero movies more than I love horror movies, I just chose to make a site about those other ones.
But I still talk about the former, so here we go, watch out and don't trip over the spoilers!
The plot finds Cap still trying to adjust to this new time, and honestly? He's doing a pretty good job of it. They don't hammer the man out of time stuff at all. Most of that comes from his moral compass and how he feels America should be, and that is the absolutely correct way to go with that. Don't spend half the movie making jokes about what the internets is and such, but show him as the great man, the great patriot, he is, and disappointed in what the country he loves became while he wasn't looking.
I really, really liked Cap 2. Anyone who's talked to me enough knows that I still say the original Cap flick is my favourite of the Marvel movies most days, and that holds true today. Which isn't a bad thing for Cap 2, that's a high bar to leap over.
I can't say I outright LOVED Cap 2, though. It is hard to put my finger on precisely what, if anything is wrong with it. It's a perfectly solid movie, it's very much more comicbook action, but I think, much like Iron Man 3, after the spectacle of Avengers, it has a lot to live up to.
And Cap 2 has even more to pull off, since while it IS pretty good, it's still not up to the gigantic superheroic spectacle of the other films. I almost don't want to say it's more grounded, more real world, because we still have a dude that was frozen in ice for 70 years, gigantic flying fortresses, and the like, but you get my meaning, I hope!
I really love this being more of a political thriller, because that makes this really its own thing. The fact that this ISN'T a big superhero spectacular movie is in its favour, truth be told. That's the brilliance of the comics, and it helps to have each movie with its own flavour to have each one stand out amongst the crowd. And going the political route definitely helps Cap stand out from an INCREASINGLY crowded crop of superhero movies, as well as being a perfect fit for Captain America. Duh. The comics did it for decades, so of course the movies should follow suit.
I especially like that the world wasn't *really* at stake this time out. Sure, it was in its way, with our freedoms being in grave danger, and a large number of the population being firmly in the villains' crosshairs, but the stakes here are WAY different than an alien invasion trying to destroy everything. There was very little 'destroy the world' type stuff, and that is SO refreshing in a blockbuster movie. This is more about the fight for the soul of the country and the world, than anything else.
The biggest problem for me, is that Emily VanCamp was *criminally* underused in this movie. I really hope this is more setup for future films, because it feels almost like a waste here, and I can only imagine there's deleted scenes. Still, Emily is such a good actress, that even with what little she had, she still brought SUCH weight to the role, that it felt more than what was there. Again, I hope I'm making sense here. ;)
They managed to do a very solid adaptation of the Winter Soldier ideas from the comics, and almost everything worked in the remade context of the MCU, which is always good. The thing I missed the most though, is that they have firmly established that Black Widow was born in 1984 and doesn't have a lengthy history of being a Russian spy, part of which would have involved spending time with the Winter Soldier. I liked the movies neither confirming nor denying Natasha's age, and losing out on such tidbits of her past just feels like a missed opportunity to me. I would've loved to have seen some flashbacks with the pair of them.
Speaking of Black Widow, man. While there's a strong argument to be made for Avengers being her story, Nat was given SO much to do in this movie. I can't even call her 'the breakout star' of this movie, since Scarlett has done such a great job already in the MCU, but this movie really let us spend time with the Black Widow, REALLY get to know her beyond kicking ass, and it was great to have.
A lot of the characters were well served, from Fury, to Nat, to Falcon and Maria Hill. Even Peggy Carter got some great moments. Even some of the lesser characters and cameos got some great moments. And oh MAN was it *awesome* to see Jenny Agutter in action! Sorry, the Logan's Run fan in me is showing.
Falcon was an absolute treat, by the way. Anthony Mackie's joy at playing this part is evident in every moment he's on screen. He was introduced perfectly at the start of the film, and ever so slowly brought into the circle of chaos around Cap. It was also a great contrast with Cap's own circumstances, and also great to show how some things never change in wartime. The pair may be separated by half a century, but they bond over shared circumstances in completely different wars. It worked SO well, and the friendly banter between them was exactly what I'd expected from the comics coming to the screen.
As you can see, I have a LOT of positive things to say about the movie, and not a lot of negatives. It really is a matter of just not being as explodey as other movies, but it's also not trying to be. And at the same time, I love that about this movie! I'd still give it a giant yay, and of course if you're a fan of the Marvel movies, you are going to see this.
So yeah, that's my chaotic mishmash of a review. ;) I think this will be more important in what it causes other movies, and Agents of SHIELD to do, in light of its events, than anything within itself. This was a similar issue I had with Cap 1, in that it felt a lot like putting the pieces into place, and not quite complete in its own right.
Now that I know what to expect from the movie, what its tone is, what it's striving for, I'm sure it will grow and grow on me with later viewings.
Gaaah, and I didn't even mention how cool Batroc was! As a huge Batroc fan (I know it's weird, shut up!) it was such a blast to see him, even briefly, on screen. And the fights in general were great! The action was really well choreographed, and gah, I could go on about every little detail as it comes to me, but I'm gonna jump out now.