Friday, 4 April 2014

The Star Spangled Man with a Plan

Captain America: The Winter Soldier premieres today but I went to the midnight opening at 8:30 last night.  I know.  I was confused as well.  I thought midnight was 12:00 am but I've been wrong about time before, so I just showed up when Cody told me to.
There are a number of reasons why this movie might be my new favourite of the Marvel releases.

First, Captain America is already my favourite of the superheroes.  He isn't angst-y like Wolverine.  He doesn't always have to have the last word.  I can't tell you how pleased I was in the film last night when he did not deliver the obvious smart ass retort to the bad guy he had just had to lay low.  How refreshing.  How un-Tony Stark or 007.  Steve Rogers doesn't speak Elizabethan like Thor.  He's your average guy with above average abilities who believes in doing what's right no matter the personal cost.  Don't get me wrong, I like those other characters, too.  But after a couple of hours they sort become like those friends you have on Facebook who are always emoting all over your feed.  You like them, but they keep trying to convince you that you don't.  Cap is refreshing in a world of egos and dry one-liners.

 Second, Chris Evans.  (Ladies, am I right? amirite? I probably should have mentioned this one first.)

Thirdly, while I still really enjoy the first film Captain America: The First Avenger and more recently, The Avengers, there are just a couple of plot issues that I can't quite ignore upon reviewing.  For example, in Captain America, after Cap goes in to rescue the remaining soldiers of his friend's unit--Tommy Lee Jones and Hayley Atwell stand around camp and say that the aerial reconnaissance has picked up nothing and Steve Rogers is probably dead.  Within about 30 seconds, Steve and a hundred guys march into camp with Hydra tanks.  Maybe they should have had Captain America analyzing the recon--perhaps the war might have ended sooner.  Also, why wasn't there anyone standing guard at the camp? This is in the middle of the war, after all.  Didn't they notice the enemy tanks approaching?   Never mind that. "Let's hear it for Captain America!" Cue the swelling music.  Also, why did he have to force the plane down into the arctic?  Was the bomb about to go off? Why couldn't he land it?  I never quite understood that.  Granted, I didn't really notice it on the first time round, so if you aren't in the habit of watching movies over and over again, you'll probably be fine with it.

My issue with The Avengers film is more with seeing a bit too much of the workings.  The curtain is flaring about and the wizard Joss Whedon can be seeing pulling the levers and pushing the buttons.  His style and sense of humour is very recognizable to those of us familiar with his work.  I still like the film, but I think getting a little more input on the script might have been a good idea because I know that in terms of our Holger Danske comic, it is immensely beneficial to have Cody's input in the story development.  It keeps me from dusting off all of my old chestnuts and putting them in.  I am also generally not a fan of having the same individual who wrote the script direct the movie.  It makes it harder to look at the script objectively about what works and what doesn't.  I think it was a weakness with the Lord of the Rings movies, too. That being said, I still really enjoy The Avengers (and Captain America and The Lord of the Rings).

Captain America: The Winter Soldier doesn't seem to have these same issues.  It is about freedom without being preachy.  It doesn't try and tie in with current politics and potentially alienate viewers. The film also succeeds in winning me over to Scarlett Johansson's version of the Black Widow; something that none of the previous films featuring have accomplished.  She actually seems to have a character who contributes this time around; instead of just looking solemn in leather and repeating the refrain of 'red in her ledger'.  I liked her.  I also enjoyed the introduction of the Falcon and the expansion of Nick Fury's role.   Sure, there may come a time after The Winter Soldier comes out on DVD and I've watched it several times when I feel lonely, that I might begin to notice the enemy tanks approaching the camp, or the wizard manning the smoke and mirrors.  But for now, it is a fun ride.  It is everything you hope for in a superhero movie.

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