Saturday morning I woke up to one of the toughest decisions I’d have to make all year. Do I go see the highly anticipated Captain America sequel? Or do I follow my heart and see “Sabatoge”, another box office bomb starring my hero Arnold. I’ve been through thick and thin with the big man recently. Hell, I even saw “The Last Stand” on opening night (it’s on Netflix now. Worth a watch, but Johnny Knoxville is horrendous. And I love Knoxville). With betrayal omitting off me like my daily B.O, I saw the early Cap 2 screening.
First off, Captain America is my least favorite Marvel character. At least out of all the major ones. Quicksilver will probably be my new “most hated” after watching DOFP. I don’t have to wait until the movie comes out you say? There’s a terrible Hardees commercial he’s in already? Yep. He’s the worst. Anyways, the point is I’m not very patriotic. I feel the same way about religion and sports “fandom”. If I was born farther north I’d be yearning for a Captain Canada, farther south a Captain Mexico. Just because I grew up in Philadelphia means I HAVE to root for the Phillies? Even if the whole team raped a ten year old boy (akin to those in high positions in the Catholic church), you would have imbeciles from that city sticking up for their team out of loyalty. It’s asinine.
There were a few things from the movie that I couldn’t let go of. It was everything I hate about patriotism. That 1940s propaganda bull. Plus the casting of Agent Smith as Red Skull rubbed me the wrong way (he’s already been in enough iconic roles with the Matrix and LOTR. You couldn’t have found anyone else?). Young CGI’d Steve Rogers took me out of the film every time he came on screen. It angered me more people weren’t talking about that. He looked ridiculous. But I openly acknowledge these are my feelings on things other than the film itself. Another solid addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, sure. But it in no way compares to The Winter Soldier.
Right off the bat I could tell the tone of this film was different. As a country we are having trouble trusting. Not being able to trust our government. Missiles aimed at any one of us at all times. Hacking in to our computers, phones, etc. I was on board from the get go. Cap’s trust in SHIELD starts to waver throughout the beginning of the movie and we begin to see it is not unfounded. There have been HYDRA plants all throughout SHIELD (including Gary Shandling, who has a scene that is laugh out loud funny. Unfortunately that was not its purpose) like a virus. Nick Fury is killed by the Winter Soldier himself and (no surprise) comes back near the end to reveal he faked his own death. The head of SHIELD is Pierce (Robert Redford) who quite clearly is the bad guy in this game. Anthony Mackie makes an awesome sidekick in Falcon. If you read his recent interviews about the role you know how enthusiastic he was about being cast as a superhero, and it shows. ScarJo is almost a co-lead in this film. She is great as usual, although she’s in that “too hot to watch” zone for me. It’s difficult for me to enjoy films she’s in because of how attractive I find her. It’s a curse. Lastly, we have Bucky himself (played by Sebastian Stan). You could say he did A LOT with a little. Most people have said that actually. I’m just reiterating it. He’s not on Loki’s level as a villain (and in the Marvel universe, who is?) but I immediately wanted to see more of him. Luckily for me, Stan recently signed a nine picture deal.
Technically this was the first summer blockbuster to come out. So that might be why I enjoyed it so much. But there were definitely other things. I’ll throw some Pros/Cons out there.
Pro – Fight Sequences
All credit given to the Russo brothers on this one. The fight sequences were phenomenal. You felt the force of Caps blows. I loved the scene where he’s running so hard that he bangs into a wall and the shield leaves a dent. Black Widow had the moves we’ve come to expect from a super spy. George St. Pierre makes a cameo in the beginning of the flick and has an awesome fight off with Evans. He had a few good moves, but was easily taken down by CA (Black Widow hindered Cap more than GSP). Quick note. I’m glad they showed him easily taking out the henchmen. This dude just wrecked hundred of aliens in The Avengers. You’re going to tell me some french martial art boat captain can beat up Captain America? I’m not buying it. Captain America should give a beat down to twenty people in an elevator. Even with one arm trapped to the wall by a magnet.
Con – Rewatchability
A few of you might disagree with me on this. The film is pretty long (136 minutes not counting after credit scenes). A while the pacing is great, there isn’t many reasons why I would go back to watch it. I thought the best scenes were with Bucky and they were few and far between. TWS just beat out a certain movie for Aprils biggest box office hit. That movie? Only one of the most re watchable summer blockbusters of all time. That’s right folks, FAST FIVE. I’ve watched F5 dozens of times. Why? Because I’m in awe during that train scene. Because the ground shakes every time during the second greatest handshake ever (Diesel picking Rock up. Obviously behind the one in Predator). And because…
Pro – Chris Evans becomes a leading man
You could argue he became this in The Avengers, but I still wasn’t buying it. I think Evans has greatly improved, not on his acting, but on his presence. I honestly don’t know how one improves that. It’s like how Mel Kiper talks about “upside”. We both just tend to throw these words around. But Evans really shines in this one (and he should. He’s the star of the film). By the time Avengers 2 comes out I’ll believe that he can go toe to toe with Robert Downey Jr (or Tony Stark).
Con – Cap and Black Widows relationship
I feel like I should be saying this for every Pro/Con, but hear me out. Yes. It was appreciated that they weren’t forced into another silly romantic relationship. First off, she has Hawkeye (if they ever want to use him again). And secondly, it would have made that scene with old Peggy Carter less meaningful. But the back and forth about her getting him a girlfriend or a date was grating. Why couldn’t their relationship be more like Legolas and Gimli from LOTR? She is clearly badass. I’d love to hear them arguing about who takes out more henchman. And you could still have the “I don’t trust you” storyline.
Pro – Post Credit Scenes
This should be a Pro for every Marvel film. But this may have been the best one yet. We finally get a glimpse of Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. The REAL Quicksilver. They look menacing. And unstable. And I’m even more pumped for Avengers 2 than I was yesterday. I’m always curious as to if Whedon directs these himself. The Guardians of the Galaxy teaser at the end of Thor 2 definitely looked like someone else was behind the directors chair. But alas. Also we get to see one of the new villains for AV2 and what appears to be Loki’s mind control stick? Correct me if I’m wrong. Then the second (and usually plain dumb) scene featured Bucky visiting the museum to see his little WWII memorial. It probably could of just been put straight into the film, but it was nice to show Bucky realizing that Cap wasn’t lying to him. Perhaps he could….trust Steve Rogers. It wasn’t great but it was better than Thor 2’s second post credit scene.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a worthy two hours spent at the movies. I would go so far as to say it’s the BEST movie of the summer! Take that as you will.
1st. Captain America: The Winter Soldier