The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier


So far, Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been a mixed bag. I liked "Iron Man 3" and "Thor: The Dark World", but I'd be lying if I said I loved them (I haven't viewed either a second time, despite owning them on Blu-ray, whereas I've been back to the theaters more than once for Phase One). Not to mention that the television series,  "Agents of SHIELD", has turned out to be a disgusting cesspool of the worst television has to offer. I was beginning to wonder if the bubble had finally burst. While time will still tell on that score, "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" has restored my faith in the MCU.

For a long time, we as a society have been having a debate about freedom versus security. Is it worth protecting our ideals to keep people safe? As our freedoms erode little by little every year, it's clear which side is winning. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" takes Steve Rogers, the comic book character who represents our ideals more than any other, and thrusts him head first into the midst of this debate. Seventy years ago, he fought a war to preserve freedom... what some have called the last clean war. The last war that needed to be fought. In the present day, after what happened in New York (the beauty of this line is that it describes both Loki's attack and the events of September 11th), things have changed... and more and more people are willingly handing their freedom over so they can be protected from the bad guys. Is the trade off worth it? Can those in power be trusted with the responsibility? Who decides who is and isn't a threat to society? These questions are what make this a perfect Captain America story.

Of course, this is also an action movie and I do not believe anyone will be disappointed on that score. The action scenes are innovative and suspenseful... while in the back of my mind, I knew they'd make it, there were moments when I forgot that... which rarely happens when this jaded movie-goer watches one of these.
Chris Evans turns in his best performance as Steve Rogers, I've wanted to see him adjust to the modern era and this film handles it beautifully. Scarlett Johansson should finally silence all critics who have doubted whether she is suited to the role of Black Widow as she really gets to show off the master assassin's human side... combine this with the trailer for "Lucy" that was attached to the movie, and it's a crime that there still isn't a "Black Widow" movie. Sebastian Stan's turn as the Winter Soldier lives up the hype; a silent and deadly killer akin to the Terminator. And, of course, a great performance by screen legend, Robert Redford as head of SHIELD, Alexander Pierce.

I'm being vague on purpose as I do not want to spoil this movie for anybody, as it now stands on a pedestal with the best comic book movies. Is it the best of the MCU? Last night, walking out of the theater, I said yes. Now, having the chance to sleep on it, I still say yes. My only complaint is that the movie ended, and I need to wait to see what happens next. I loved it, and I give it an A+, two thumbs up, five stars, the highest of grades. Go see it.

11 comments:

  1. Absolutely loved this film!

    And I gotta say, I've been kicking myself since last weekend for not noticing one particular Easter egg near the end, lol. :D

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  2. Saw it yesterday! I completely agree that it's the best MCU movie yet, and it corresponds with "Agents of SHIELD" drastically improving in quality. I'm actually really excited about this week's episode for once.

    It's probably the number one action movie in the world right now, just like the trailers say.

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    1. "and it corresponds with "Agents of SHIELD" drastically improving in quality. I'm actually really excited about this week's episode for once."

      AoS still sucks.

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    2. Too bad you didn't enjoy it, though it doesn't really matter one way or the other.

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    3. No accounting for taste. Some people genuinely enjoy Manos and the Garbage Pail Kids movie.

      AoS may be the most disgusting thing on TV, but someone's going to enjoy it.

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    4. Did you seriously meet somebody that liked the Garbage Pail Kids movie? I'm sincerely asking because, believe it or not, one of my friends came across somebody that loved the made for TV Captain America films Spoony reviewed, though he couldn't understand why.

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  3. I loved this movie with the suspense and paranoia to it. Seeing the Falcon added in also cool. I know next to nothing about the character, but seeing him in this movie makes me want to see more of him.
    I will with regards what you brought up the "freedom vs security," well (sorry if you feel this comment is giving away too much to people that didn't see the movie), but I felt more like while the debate was brought up, the best use was taking that stuff we hear about our private information being looked at using it to create something that gave me the biggest scare of anything I've seen in the MCU.

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  4. The future sure has been quite a time for Captain America (Chris Evans). His first encounter with the modern world saw him running through Times Square, confused and scared. Next, he assembled with some other Superheroes to save the world from the disgruntled brother of a fellow Avenger. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Cap faces off against an internal threat and an organization that is just as powerful as S.H.I.E.L.D, as well as a familiar face and new adversary from his past. Life is rough for Cap. On top of everything, he is still trying to find a way to successfully assimilate himself into present day society.

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  5. It beats the original in every way possible. A fine and spectacular example of what a superhero sequel should be. A stylish, whip-smart, intelligent and wickedly entertaining gargantuan thrill-machine. A spectacular action-packed adventure that is bigger, bolder, more epic and explosive than the first. It's a very entertaining

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  6. "'The Winter Soldier' not only satisfies with its plentiful action scenes, it also offers some intriguing commentary on the current political and world climate, and turns out to be a sterling character piece."

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  7. I admired and generally liked this movie because it made a valid attempt to change up the Marvel formula, by making Captain America's second solo outing a taught, suspenseful political thriller. It was a bit slow in parts, but the plot was very smart and well written and the action scenes, aside from the first one on the ship, were shot amazingly and filled with intricate stunts. Easily the best Marvel movie since the Avengers. 8.5/10

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