Sunday, April 6, 2014

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the lovechild of The Avengers and The Bourne trilogy. It's got intense action, impossibly enormous things blowing up, and beautiful people running around being perplexed. At one point, it even felt like a Michael Bay movie, but thankfully it only lasted for two seconds. Otherwise, Cap's second outing as the leading man is a terrific sequel and a fine action/thriller movie.

The movie benefits from good writing. After a mission alongside fellow SHIELD Agent Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has some pointed questions for his boss, Director Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), especially after he's let in on the intelligence agency's latest project. Cap's attempts to uncover the truth behind Project Insight underline the movie's major themes: what is freedom and who deserves it? When is the line crossed in its defense?

But if you're not in the mood for contemporary political commentary, you're in luck! Brutal ass-kicking abounds! All the fight scenes are choreographed so that you practically feel the blows being exchanged. Black Widow is up to her usual acrobatic moves, while Cap in particular is almost unstoppable when he has his shield, which reduces a bit of the tension--where's the suspense when you know the hero is just going to plow down everyone?

Enter the Winter Soldier, sporting a metal arm and a platoon of dudes to hand him a series of progressively bigger weapons. When he runs out of ballistics, he has an apparently unlimited supply of knives. He proves to be a match for our hero, omg!

Speaking of "omg!," there is a scene where Evans is in a tank top, and I went like this:

He is the beefcakiest beefcake to ever beefcake. At that moment I cursed the 3D, which makes everything dark. I repeat: this movie does not need to be seen in 3D. You can see Evans' abs rippling through his shirt just fine in 2D.

Of course, there's more to admire than stunning physiques. The second Captain America continues right where the original left off in presenting a person with firm convictions and solid morals, who has firsthand experience with both weakness and strength. As a bonus, Director Fury and the Black Widow are also shown in more depth than in the previous Marvel movies. Sam Wilson/The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) is the new kid on the block this time around, another good soldier who will sacrifice for his friends.

Friendship and trust are major themes in this movie, too. Fury isn't shy about expressing his trust issues, and it's hard to tell if the Black Widow is entirely trustworthy. Still, that doesn't stop her from being wildly charismatic with her one-liners and playful repartee with the often-solemn Cap. There better be a Black Widow movie after this, is what I am saying.

Bottom line: legitimate blockbuster! Go watch! Captain's orders!

This post brought to you by Game of Thrones, season 4, episode 1. Kill it, Arya.