Thursday, April 10, 2014

Captain America II: The Winner Soldier


That was awesome.

Spoileryishness on

And I guess we’ve got a better idea what’s been going on in SHIELD the past few episodes.  I was expecting to tune in Tuesday night, given the climax of Cap’s second solo outing, to an episode of:

MARVEL Agents of Nothing!

Oh, and I'm calling it now.  Ward is a double agent, or a triple agent...or whatever kind of agent it will take for him to still be working for Coulson.  Mostly because Agent Hand was too awesome to go out like that.  Although, it is possible Ward lied in the well flashback, and he was the jerky brother. That's equal parts cool and creepy.

The First Avenger managed to be a typical World War II movie that appealed to those outside its normal target audience, including my daughter.  In this case, much of The Winter Soldier was a standard Espionage Double Cross film, with similar extended appeal, judging from the audience composition, and my daughter’s near constant cheering.

I always preferred Captain America as part of a team, instead of in solo stories.  This is because the team tales focused more on his inspirational and leadership abilities, whereas his own title, because of main character development and internal dialogue needs, spent much of the tales lamenting his out of timeness. His focus and abilities tend to bring out the awesome when others are around.

Luckily they averted that by making this more a Secret Avengers story than anything else.  Black Widow, Nick Fury and Maria Hill were brought back to team with Cap, along with the Falcon as a new addition.  The short time span and urgency of the situation in Winter Soldier, coupled with events in their own films, served as a good enough excuse why the rest of the main team didn't get called in to Avenge something.

Thor the Dark World may have shown what happened next for the villain of the piece, but the presence of Samuel L. Jackson made Cap’s film the true direct sequel to The Avengers.

This may be the best movie Marvel’s done so far, if judged from standard artistic film points.  Though, nothing has been able to out awesome The Avengers yet.  The spy movie portion of the story was compelling and balanced action and excitement with important character development moments.

After what may be Stan Lee’s best cameo, the movie appropriately opened up the required can of crazy to remind us all that this is the universe that contained The Avengers.

The dual nature of the film highlights the advantages Marvel has with their franchise model.

Cap II can be seen from two different angles:

1)  On its own, Agents of SHIELD wouldn’t rate a feature film of this size and scope, but because it is part of the Cinematic Marvel Universe, many SHIELD threads from the show (and movies) got their due on the big screen.

2)  While still packed with a large amount of awesome, it was a smaller and more thoughtful film than Avengers.  As a sequel to only that film, it would have been a step down.  Yet as a piece of a continuity puzzle, it worked perfectly.

As the Dad of a daughter, I once again have to applaud the inclusion of strong female characters.  We lost much of Peggy Carter from the first film, though she still shone in her scene. (And I still want the Agent Carter, proto SHIELD series.)  However, Black Widow was almost an equal co-star this time around. (Plus they used her and Falcon’s code names…woo!) Also, we got some more Maria Hill coolness, and the introduction of Agent 13.

Falcon’s arrival was a great enhancement as well.  With Bucky’s issues, he added an important interaction.  Besides making him the perfect Super Soldier, Steve Rogers Brooklyn born honesty, loyalty and determination makes him the perfect best friend.  Without someone else to play off, that would have gotten lost.

Sam Williams and his powers were both given a more militaristic background to allow them to fit in better with the Marvel Cinematic Universe that keeps growing by leaps and bounds.  With all the dark and serious themes in this movie, it never lost sight of the idea that these stories are supposed to be fun.  I can totally see him calling Cap "Wing head" and getting away with it.

Both dark and fun elements came into play for the choice of villains.  While not nearly as ridiculous as the comics, it was nice to see Batroc “Ze Leapair” with a somewhat “OUT-rageous accent.”

Iron Man 3 gave us AIM, and now we have a modern, hidden extremely lethal Hydra.  Between them and the TV addition of Centipede, there’s enough fuel to keep a wide variety of bad guys, all with some connection to each other, in the way that movies seem to enjoy.

And how about that more comic booky Arnim Zola?  They turned what’s become a visual joke on the page into a truly chilling foe, even with a cute little camera head.  Man, with access to all that SHIELD intel he could act fairly…clairvoyant, couldn’t he?  (HA! See what I did there?.)

I figured Zola was a set up for SHIELD, but he wasn't, making me go back to my original hope for the Clairvoyant...M.O.D.O.K.

They could work in Agent Garret having some mega Centipede procedure to upload all the files into his brain.  Come on!  Who wouldn't want to see Bill Paxton as a giant flying head.  Let's start a petition.

Sorry, wandered off for a minute, coming back to the film:

Bonus points for the Wargames shout out in that scene. If you count the fact that Marvel Films have post credit scenes because Kevin Feige was afraid to leave a theater early after seeing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, that’s two Mathew Broderick references.  Maybe it’s a sign?  Go back and watch Inspector Gadget and look at him excessively enjoying chewing up the scenery as the evil twin and just try to tell me he wouldn’t make an awesome villain.

I’m thinking Molecule Man!

Anyway, it was awesome, grab the family and go see it.

Catching it opening night meant we weren’t alone for a change, and got to enjoy the peeks into the equally awesome future in the credit scenes with a nearly full theater.

Looking even further into the future: there’s a super hero battle a-comin’ that will dwarf any phony baloney March Madnesses.

On May 6, 2016 Marvel Films throws down the gauntlet, planning the release of Captain America 3 on the same day as the Superman/Batman sequel (with Wonder Woman) to Man of Steel.

I’ll be sitting there with my Aquaman sneakers on my feet, and my Justice League Tattoos underneath an Avengers t-shirt as I wait for the continuing fun and excitement of the Marvel Movieverse.

If that doesn’t prove Warner Brothers has SERIOUSLY screwed up the DC properties in the theaters, I don’t know what does.


longbow said...

Well written boyo.
I wonder if you, like me, are still being affected by the Man of Steel civilian casualties.
During the early bad-ass car chase in Winter, I started thinking "Nick Fury is being really reckless on public streets". Then er-me retorted , "He has an eye-patch and a year round long black leather coat. This is what he does"

Jeff McGinley said...

Many thanx.

Indeed, Fury is a secret agent and normal man running for his life to pass on a secret of world importance.

Man of Steel was an invulnerable alien knocking down a city while fighting other aliens.