|IMAX movie poster via Marvel.com|
If you like us on Facebook, or read BusinessWeek, you may have come across this article about Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios. I read it, I posted it to our page, because I am constantly impressed with Marvel Studios’ handling of their ‘Universe’ outside of comic pages. I will admit to two things that shape me judgement: 1) I am a big fan of superheroes, for reasons both childlike and philosophical & 2) if and when I plop down to read comics, I generally read DC. Batman baby, Batman. So I am predisposed to enjoy Marvel’s films just from a moviegoer’s perspective, truthfully.
What Marvel has laid down, between their movies and coming-into-its-own television show, is something remarkably impressive. Both financially and cinematically (to borrow from my Facebook post’s phrasing), their cohesive universe will likely be something we look back on as a shifting point in movies. Heck, they’re spinning off the books that Harry Potter read in the books! Think that might have something to do with studios scrambling to build something grander?
This circuitous intro leads me to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. No doubt you have seen some of the reviews, talking about how it ‘ups the stakes,’ and comparing the film to The Avengers. I went in with high expectations, and I must tell you – I was still blown away. My goodness. This movie was impressive on multiple levels. I feel as though I could write several pages worth of review after seeing this sequel. The movie changes things, and does so on a major, epic scale.
To save you the time, and the potential spoilers my rambling could unfurl, we will go through the standards:
Should I pay to see it?
Yup. Yup. Yup. The Winter Soldier entertains wildly. The action packs a serious wallop. Captain America has some excellent scenes just annihilating folks, Black Widow does a number (so much so I think ScarJo caught the bug – her new movie Lucy looks stupendous) and Anthony Mackie’s Falcon? Oh my, we’ll get to that in a second.
The Marvel movies have all had some intricate action sequences, so that should not be news. What impressed me was the variety. Close quarters, large explosions, military-precise tactical strikes. Knife fights, guns blazing and car chases. And Falcon. Oh man, Falcon. His sequences (teased in the trailers) flying around in full gear are stunning. So, so cool. If you like action movies, spy flicks, political-military thrillers, even if you’ve never really been into Marvel, you would buy what The Winter Soldier is selling. The tone is set from the get-go (Wilson and Rogers meet) and bounds along for a seriously fun 2 hours and change.
And if you love these movies, comics and superheroes? Let’s just say The Winter Soldier handles the reveals and ‘easter eggs’ remarkably.
|“I do what he does, just slower.” (via)|
Could I watch it with a date?
As usual, this will depend on the date… cop out, I know.
So let’s go back to Mackie for a second. He (and to a lesser, but equally brilliant extent, Robert Redford) continues Marvel’s streak of inspired casting. I love this guy. I want him to be in everything. He brings a wonderful, truthful charm to Sam Wilson’s character and his chemistry with Evans is electric. If not for Samuel Jackson, he would be my favorite part of the movie. The whole cast, in my opinion, clicks. Johansson, Evans and Mackie are all believable and likable in their roles and interactions, with a knowing soldier-to-soldier feel that makes the impressive character beats throughout the film all the more impressive.
The more emotional moments were something surprising in The Winter Soldier – considering the level of sustained action. Loyalties and lies spin characters around. We see a few genuinely touching moments between Steve and Peggy. Wilson works at the VA, helping fellow soldiers with PTSD. Each actor brings weight to their hero’s struggle and emotions – another tip of the cap to intelligent casting. The movie does a nice job balancing the aforementioned action with some funny bits, and the banter among those main three heroes is spot-on and pithy. Black Widow’s helpful suggestions for Steve’s romantic life are sharp and made me guffaw several times. It’s clear there was a conscious effort to give ScarJo’s Widow a bit more substance here (in hopes of a spinoff? Maybe.) and the addition is most welcome. She’s great.
I suppose it boils down to your date’s feeling on action/spy/political thriller movies, superheroes or conspiracies within the government. If they don’t like the first two, that’s somewhat unfortunate and they may not like sitting through the film with you. If they’re prone to diving down the rabbit hole of conspiracy – be wary. The Winter Soldier (both purposefully & inadvertently, based on most timelines of production) bumps up against some highly relevant surveillance and Defense (with a capital ‘D’) topics, so you might have to remind them it’s based on a comic book – and that you were not really looking to start a political discussion. Unless you are. In that case, I’m glad you have someone of like mind.
|Captain America’s got dangerous dance moves (via)|
Could I watch it with my Mother?
Once again, may very well depend on her predilection to action movies, spy capers, gunfights and explosions. The actors are exceptional, and clearly having fun. Samuel Jackson, as always, seems to deliver lines he wrote himself. Actually, I hope that’s how it happens (cue the Wayne’s World dream sequence…)
Director: “Sam, we want Nick Fury to convey this message and tone here.”
Sam: “Got it” [says line]
Director: “Perfect. Now say it like Samuel <bleeping> Jackson.”
Maybe your mother (or father loves) the genre too – worth a family outing. If not, this will be a perfectly suitable movie to watch some rainy afternoon down the road when it makes the TV rounds (or is added to your DVD collection. The minutes tick by quickly in a well paced (mostly) plot, the emotional and comedic beats hit the right notes, and the score (speaking of notes) actually sounds quite impressive, as does the whole movie. Odd thing to include in this section, sure, but something that doesn’t always get acknowledged in this type of movie. ‘Twas nicely sound-mixed.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier stands alone as one fine film. For those of you, comic fan or not, who like to see the pieces of the puzzle fit together – stick around after the credits, obviously. You will not be disappointed. A scene’s been leaked but I will not link to it. If you are that desperate, it may very well still be out there to be found.
In which case, you should really just go see the movie. Winter Soldier excels, the post-credits are very, very interesting and Guardians of the Galaxy looks outstanding – that trailer impresses on a large screen. God bless James Gunn (a personal favorite) and his wiseass cinematic sensibilities. That one’s going to be fun, too.
|Fleetwood Mac Sex Pants. New band name. I call it. (via)|