Movie Review:: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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Not to take away from the film itself, but my favorite moment during my screening of Winter Soldier came from the audience.   I actually went and saw this on Saturday night, which I rarely do.  As anticipated, I had to sit next to a stranger, and not once, but *twice*, I had to smell someone else’s fart waft past my face.  I’ll be going back to my 11 am screenings next time, when everyone sits 15 seats away from each other, thank you very much.  Anyway, during the villain’s first real appearance, immediately after he blows up a car and the film goes dramatically silent for a few seconds; about three rows behind me a (possibly ponytailed, possibly unwashed) nerd said in a slightly above regular volume voice to (I assume) either his naive girlfriend or possibly disappointed mother with all the plugged-nose, smarmy gravitas you’d expect to hear at a Magic: The Gathering tournament…  “THAT’S the Winter Soldieeeerrrrr.”  I wanted to bottle that moment up and store it away until it ages to perfection, popping the cork in 2025 when Avengers 7: The Return of Bucky comes out so I can savor those saccharine, contemptuous flavors for just one more glorious day.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier continues the Marvel cinematic universe storyline of the individual Avengers characters, this time featuring clean-cut hero Steve Rogers once again.  Seriously, this guy is the most pure dude I’ve ever seen.  I bet he doesn’t even jerk it.  And not because he doesn’t need to, but simply because he thinks it’s wrong.  Rogers probably gets half the screen time, and the other half is split amongst Nick Fury, Black Widow, and Robert Redford’s character who I didn’t bother to learn the name of.  Corporate Government Man, I’ll call him.

This is the most I've ever seen Sam Jackson look like a pug.

This is the most I’ve ever seen Sam Jackson look like a pug.

I totally dug the origin storyline from The First Avenger more than most other origin stories as of late, and while the sequel lacked the obvious appeal of being about a superhero in the 1940s, it still had enough great action sequences and scattered humor to make it a pretty good Marvel movie.  The story in Winter Soldier is a tad all over the place, serving as more of a step-by-step mystery film than any of the other superhero movies have chosen to do.  And more than any of the other Marvel films (so far), this one felt the most like a SHIELD movie.  Even more so than The Avengers did.  I guess that’s because with a guy like Steve Rogers, there’s no awesome Jarvis supercomputer to build him things, or a magical viking space city for him to go to.  He does what the definitive American superhero should be doing: taking down the government business dude who wants to raise *our* taxes so he can pay for his obnoxiously large machine gun satellite thingies, THAT WE DIDN’T ASK FOR.  How much fuel do those things use, buddy?  If this raises gas prices to $4.12 a gallon, I’m gonna flip my lid.

I like to think about fictional news programs in the Marvel universe where dumb rednecks and uptight hippies use the Avengers as talking points to push their loud, idiotic political agendas.  “I heard Iron Man gets the metal in his suits from CHINA.  WHY CAN’T HE MANUFACTURE HIS SUITS IN DETROIT?”  “WHOA WHOA WHOA, Tony Stark is a job creator.”  “Stark and Banner are always tryin’ to push their liberal science medicines on OUR children.  Does America want their kids to grow up to be green MONSTERS?   I KNOW I DON’T.”  “You know for a FACT that only having 1% gamma minerals in our food is completely healthy.”  “Then why isn’t THOR using it?  Huh?”  “THOR HAS MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT THAN YOUR CONSERVATIVE NONSENSICAL RAMBLINGS.”  “CAPTAIN AMERICA DIDN’T VOTE FOR OBAMA!”  “HE WAS UNFROZEN AFTER OBAMA WAS ELECTED.”  “STILL, TECHNICALLY, HE DIDN’T VOTE FOR OBAMA.”  (19 people proceed to talk over each other on the same screen)

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Regardless of any little logic flaws the film may have (there’s a few), it was a really entertaining movie overall.  I enjoyed the addition of Falcon, he was a pretty solid sidekick, who contributed an ability that wasn’t identical to the starring superhero (a la Iron Man/ War Machine), nor where there literally 50 kinda crappier versions of Captain America fighting the Winter Soldier (like in Iron Man 3, but don’t get me wrong, I still liked the frantic mayhem from that movie too).  If there’s any compliment I can give to the action, it’s that it’s both extremely over the top yet relatively uncluttered.  A lot of hand-to-hand combat.

I liked all the little jokes in the film, especially Rogers’ tiny notebook of things from present day that he needs to look into.  I was kind of hoping that one of the post credits scenes would have been Captain America trying Chipotle for the first time or something.  Oh well.  There was a good synergy amongst the entire cast, from Corporate Government Guy to Colby Smulders’ three minutes of total screen time to Scarlett Johansson’s extremely flexible stunt double.

If I was 10 years old when this awesome Marvel film universe was created, I think my favorite of these heroes might have been Captain America.  He’s just a good guy who fights with honor and dignity.  However, if there was some sort of half-dinosaur, half-shark superhero with dragon wings, I think he would have been my favorite.  BUT CAP WOULD BE NUMBER 2.

8.5 out of 10

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