Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland
Markus Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, gunplay and action throughout
Now playing at Century 20 Oakridge Mall in San Jose, California:
After director Joe Johnston’s savagely disappointing attempt to bring the Marvel superhero Captain America to life three years ago, the creative minds that brought us “You, Me and Dupree” (Anthony and Joe Russo) somehow get a crack at the sequel, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. Though it sounds like I’m ready to rip this movie, to my surprise “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was (for the most part) quite entertaining, with visually stunning action sequences throughout. But even more surprising, especially because this was made by the guys who directed “You, Me and Dupree” (I don’t know if I mentioned that disturbing bit of trivia already) is how this theatrical release also contains much more well timed laughs than I bargained for.
If I’m not mistaken, Captain America is less of a goody goody and more of a “bad ass” in this installment. Right away we get to see him in action, throwing people around and basically kicking major butt. Thus, a huge reason as to why “The Winter Soldier” works as well as it does, has a lot to do with the directors keeping the octane at a relatively high level and not boring me to tears. Any real flaws here (and there are a few) would only be noticed by audiences who attempted to actually break the plot down.
The Synopsis: Just as Captain America aka Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) has nearly adapted to life in the modern world, a beaten and bloodied Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) shows up in his apartment, where we learn that S.H.I.E.L.D has been compromised by a villain from Captain America’s past. He is also confronted by a bad guy who goes by the name of the Winter Soldier, whose strengths seem to match up suspiciously well to that of the Captain’s. The story itself is pretty good, even though it is bogged down with a lot of double and triple cross espionage-type twists and turns that I didn’t quite understand. But much like the last Iron Man film, where “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” runs into trouble is with its villains; one played by Robert Redford and the other the aforementioned mysterious Winter Soldier. Even though the movie starts out with an awesome fight sequence between the Captain and George St. Pierre, the main villain is an old man named Alexander Pierce (Redford) who spends the whole movie in one room and the other is the infamous Winter Soldier, who is made to look pretty intimidating for a while (again, kudos to the direction) playing an evil version of Captain America. But even his storyline leads to revelations which softened his villainous exterior and a final battle which left me cold and wishing that I could fast forward to the post credits teaser clip. The fact is, for having his name included in the title, the Greek tragedy-esque connections between Captain America and the Winter Soldier was far more fascinating than actually watching the Winter Soldier do anything; which is a problem.
Side Note: I guess I must mention that this film also stars Scarlet Johansson, who by design plays a huge role, reprising her character, Black Widow. As if audiences had demanded she get more screen-time, Johansson is in 80% of the movie, wearing her signature form fitting one piece and seducing every male “bad guy” to nearly an inch of their lives. Anthony Mackie is also in this playing the Falcon, a sort of side kick to the title character. He flies around and stuff, but that’s about it. Moving on.
Final Thought: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is impressive for a Marvel sequel, but still (as far as Marvel films go) its more along the lines of the first Thor film than the first Iron Man film, mainly because the character of Steve Rogers is still very two dimensional. And before I get hate mail, this is not a direct knock on the movie, but more so of the character himself. I understand that the “total good” characteristic of Captain America is by design. My point is, I don’t believe it translates all that well to audiences who nowadays would rather see a shades of grey antihero, than an old school hero whose morals are impervious to a dynamic character arc.
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