Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Captain America: Winter Soldier

As I've mentioned, patience for the superhero movie is wearing thin at Casa'strom, so much so, I think I pushed this out of my mind almost immediately after seeing it.

Which isn't fair, because it's really quite good, and it avoids a lot of the worst aspects of the superhero movie.

But if we can take anything from Captain America: Winter Soldier, it's that life isn't fair.

Actually, I don't think that's really the message of any of it, but what the heck.

The story follows Captain America, after he wakes up in the future—er, present—and fights whatever it was "The Avengers" were fighting (do I remember? No, I do not) and now wanders around DC in a sort of emotional isolation.

One thing this movie does very well is bring the feels, but without bogging things down. It's a nice touch that Steve Rogers is emblematic of war veterans who have trouble adjusting to civilian life, for example.

Hayley Atwell is back as Peggy Carter, though she's—well, I guess she'd be 100 now—so the movie uses that to get some emotional grounding.

Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Black Widow, and brings some real depth to her character, who's mostly been filler to this point. (Though her big sacrifice doesn't seem to amount to much.) As Cap's platonic pal, with issues of her own, she contributes a lot to his development as well.

The story is that Cap is working for SHIELD and Nick Fury (Samuel Jackson, of course) though there's a tension between them since there are things that Fury wants done that Cap wouldn't do. Black Widow does the dirty work, but Cap isn't crazy about being used in that fashion.

The big back story involves Fury's Big Plan to launch a fleet of those awesome flying aircraft carriers that showed up in the Avengers film, and the trouble he's getting from world bureaucrats. Well, he and his pal Pierce, who represents...I'm not sure, exactly. Civilian command? Intelligence officer? I don't recall him being given any title or organization designation. He's just Fury's ally in handling paperwork and politics or something.

He's also played by Robert Redford, who's the best villain since Jodie Foster in Elysium (and you should read this to get exactly how cutting a critique this is). The fact that he's a villain is a spoiler, by the way. Sorry. I mean, "Sorry, if you didn't see that coming the instant Redford agreed to play the role of a government intelligence agent building a super-secret army."

I've already said it's time to pull the plug on Redford, and this role—well, apparently he's been bitching about not having the chance to play villains previously, which strikes me as an odd statement for a guy who built a film empire—this role is just not flattering for him. Much like Foster in Elysium, there's no understanding, no depth, just a sad caricature of what he thinks a bad guy might be like. (Just a regular, laid back dude, apparently.)

Weakest part of an otherwise strong film.

All that aside, the action is above par for a superhero film, not going gaga with the CGI, and relying on a lot of standard fighting action where possible. I thought it also hit the sweet spot of "comic book logic" with a few silly surprises that work 'cause, you know, it's a comic book. (See, I'm not going to spoil those because those are actual surprises, unlike the what-the-heck-is-he-except-third-act-turncoat-bait Redford role.)

The final set piece is huge, and The Boy didn't care for it, but it worked for me, mostly. It didn't make a lick of sense, of course, and some of the fighting seemed kind of silly, but overall it was appropriate.

I mean, if you like superhero movies, there's no reason to not like this. But, as I said, they're wearing out their welcome here.

1 comment:

  1. I can see why they cast Redford... it's basically his part in Three Days of the Condor turned inside out. As much as I abhor Redford's politics, I have to admit I liked seeing him as Pierce.

    I have a few complaints about the movie, but overall I liked it an awful lot -->


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