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3 reasons to see 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' even if not into comics

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is one of those movies for which one hardly needs guidance in deciding whether or not to go.

If you’re a hard-core comics geek, you arranged your work schedule or sent the kiddos to Grandma’s and are already waking up with the afterglow. If you’re a comics geek, you’ll see it at Alamo Drafthouse or Studio Movie Grill so you can go straight from work and eat dinner during. If you’re a general comics fan, it’s pre-ordained that you’ll go, even if you might wait a weekend if you don’t like crowds.

All these are decided. And you don’t need me.

And if you’re not a comics fan but have one in your Circle of Mandatory Viewing (aka Sweetheart or the kids), you’re probably bracing yourself just a bit. But you know you’re going, and you still don’t need me.

This leaves only the non-comics fan free of relational encumbrance. For whom "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is a pre-determined skip.

I’m talkin’ to you.

Comics movies are a bit like opera: you may learn to appreciate them, but they’ll never become part of your soul. And in this case, that’s okay. With no disrespect what.so.ever. to Stan Lee and Marvel fans (you may not even know what I just said, and that’s okay, too), you can even kind of forget that this is a comics film.

[Aside to Stan Lee and Marvel fans (in which case why are you even still reading – it’s the scintillating analysis and wordplay, isn’t it?): Of course, the whole point is Captain America, and it’s done beautifully; the movie done you proud. I’m merely pointing out that there’s even more here. Please don’t flame me.]

It’s not necessary here to like comics films (you could even dislike them bit), the writers do well at bringing the uninitiated up to speed as to how we got here, and honestly, you’d be cheating yourself if you took a pass on this one.

Reason #1: It feels as John Le Carré as it does Captain America.

There’s plenty of futuristic sci-fi and gadgetry, but if you’re a George Smiley or Jack Ryan fan, you’ll find all your espionage buttons being deliciously pushed. While we may be watching a superhero, the tinkers, tailors, soldiers, and spies among us will feel right at home; all the wiring that responds to mystery, intrigue, trust, and betrayal will be humming happily.

Reason #2: It sports some of the best action since "The Matrix" (part one, of course).

So often, action scenes give us action for its own sake; like an overdrawn drum solo, it overstays its welcome, undoing the momentum it’s created and then some. Here, however, every encounter moves the story forward in some fashion, and is dazzlingly conceived and executed to boot. Variety, balance, and precision abound.

Reason #3: It boasts a truly fearsome adversary.

Not often are we treated to an opponent so imposing that there’s a good chance (like, a really good one) that our hero might not survive. Even with the best villains we generally sense that our protagonist may have to work really, really hard and be really, really creative, but they will, in fact, prevail.

But once in scrumptious while, we come to realize, “Wow. I really can’t see how they’re going to get out of this.” Ripley and Newt on the platform. Neo in the hallway. Anyone facing a Terminator (pick your model). In the back our minds it dawns… this one may actually be unbeatable. Criminy…

And Secret Bonus Reason #4:

There’s also a delicious juxtaposition that I can’t even touch upon here lest it severely spoil the plot. Hint and answer below for those who just can’t wait.

Add to all this an exceptional score, lots of fun movie references, a few genuine surprises, and a strong performance by Chris Evans (his acting chops go unrecognized amid the furor, but he does a wonderful job of keeping his character from ever sounding corny, which could oh so easily happen; if you haven’t already, you really must see Puncture). Oh, and Anthony Mackie.

Just continue to not watch the trailers so you get the full effect, and give "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" a go.

You’ll have a really nice time tonight.

Story: When one of his colleagues comes under attack, Steve Rogers uncovers a plot that threatens to destroy S.H.I.E.L.D, and the entire world with it.

Genre: Action/adventure, sci-fi, fantasy

Starring: Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Sebastian Stan, Frank Grillo

Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Joss Whedon

MPAA: PG-13

Running time: 136 minutes

Houston release date: April 4, 2014

Tickets: Check Fandango, IMDb, or your local listings

Screened Mar 26th 2014 at the Edwards Marq*E theater in Houston TX

Bonus Reason Explanation:
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MAJOR SPOILER BELOW!!
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Dustin Hoffman fans will get a kick out of Robert Redford's role.
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No?

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"All the President’s Men". But this time he's one of 'em.

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