Friday, April 4, 2014

DisEnvy At the Movies: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Ever since seeing The Avengers in theaters, I have found myself wondering how Marvel Studios will top themselves. Ironman 3, while a good movie, didn't really hit all the right notes with me. Thor: The Dark World did a great amount to increase the fantastical nature of the Marvel Universe. But it too seemed a bit "off the pace" after Avengers. Maybe it's my inability to wrap my head around the fact that these are solo movies. One would assume though, that if any of the Avengers saw their friends in trouble, especially after what happened in New York, that they'd all be there to help each other out of a jam. I understand the actors different contracts and all, but it just hasn't sat well with me.

Then comes The Winter Soldier. Cap is still running missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. and still having some trust issues when it comes to orders and motives of Director Nick Fury, and even his Avengers partner, Black Widow. While trust issues seem to abound for Cap, he still makes a few new friends along the way. Front and center in this respect is Sam Wilson, a combat vet who also works at the VA helping others who have seen combat cope with being back in society.

Things get rolling right off the bat in TWS, with Cap leading a mission to rescue a hijacked S.H.I.E.L.D. ship, and it really doesn't let off of the accelerator. Stakes are raised even higher when Fury is attacked. Cap decides he needs to find out who's behind all it and finds himself on the run. Throw in the appearance of this mysterious Winter Soldier and you've got one action packed movie.

First and foremost, this is a superhero movie. But in addition, you've also got underlayings of old school political thrillers and light touchings of spy movies. Chris Evans really elevates his performance as Steve Rodgers. In fact, I'd probably say it's his best outing to date. Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow really gets to showcase her skills and her chemistry with Evan's Rodgers really works well throughout the movie. Sam Jackson is solid as Fury, as is Robert Redford as S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Alexander Pierce. Anthony Mackie's Sam Wilson (Falcon) does his best to steal the spotlight (unintentionally) whenever he's on camera.

For the first time since seeing The Avenger's, I felt satisfied when leaving the theater. Yes, there was still no Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, or Thor swooping in to help Cap save the day (though there were call backs to both Stark and Banner that I thoroughly enjoyed). But thanks to Black Widow and Falcon, you finally get the feeling that these guys aren't always on their own. This was hugely important in keeping the Marvel Universe large, yet connected, in my opinion.

All in all, I highly recommend seeing this soon, and as many times as possible. The Winter Soldier is action packed and is a sequel that is better than the original. This sets up the run to Avengers 2 perfectly, and I for one can't wait to see what's in store for everyone. But I do have one question. Since this was such a S.H.I.E.L.D. heavy movie, where were Hawkeye and Coulson? Hopefully we'll find out soon!

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