Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened this past weekend. I went to see it with a friend and, honestly, I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it. I still feel that Captain America: The First Avenger is one of the weakest movies in the Marvel/Avengers movie universe and while I enjoyed Cap’s role in The Avengers, it’s hard for such a wholesome all-American character to really make a mark against characters like Tony Stark, Thor, and the Hulk.
But oh, what an improvement. Superhero sequel movies tend to be very formulaic (not that that’s always a bad thing) and generally I prefer to see origin movies. There’s no better story than redemption and that’s always what happens when someone begins to understand their supergifts and starts to put aside their selfish and self-centered desires to start saving others. But what happens when the man is already good before the power? Because that’s Steve Rogers’ story and while it’s nice to see someone finally have the power to protect and fight for the beliefs he always had, it really doesn’t make the best of movies.
So where do we go after that? Winter Soldier is not breaking any molds here. It still follows the predictable introduce enemy/ fight/ enemy wins/ heroes regroup/ heroes victorious plot line. And this can make the movie at times feel like nothing more than the link in the Marvel chain that it is. But this movie has so much more to offer. Primarily, how does someone as gee-whiz wholesome as Steve Rogers survive in a world, and specifically S.H.I.E.L.D., where everyone’s got secrets and nobody’s telling the truth?
I won’t talk about the plot because I’m not sure how to do it succinctly without giving everything away. But it’s a good movie and worth seeing (and seeing on the big screen).
Some final thoughts:
- When are we going to get to see Black Widow’s story? She’s by far the most interesting character in the Marvel series. Who doesn’t want to see more of the one female in the crew who manages to keep up with (and generally pass) the big boys without any superpowers? But let’s fix that hair first- straight, shoulder length with a center part is not a good look for her.
- Where was Agent Coulson? Something tells me I should be watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on tv.
- Sometimes I really wish I read the comics. I feel I would understand the significance behind things much better. But then I actually start looking at the comics, with their alternate timelines, continuity issues, time-jumping, etc. and I realize I’m probably better just sticking with the movies.
- Marvel, please never stop making good movies. Gritty is fine, serious and intense makes you think, but it’s really refreshing to see bright, hopeful movies where the good guys can win without it feeling like losing.