Okay, I’m not going to ruin the movie for anyone…that’s not my style. I have heard a number of people say the film is on-par with The Dark Knight. That is incorrect. It is better. In fact, I’ll go on the record to say that this is one of the top comic-book based films ever made.
The first Captain America film was a favorite for me. I’m a reader of the comic books and while the movie versions differ a great deal from their source material, it still rang true for those of us who still have piles of comics all over the place. This new movie picks up after The Avengers. Rogers is still a man out of time. They don’t push that too much. I love the detail that he has a notepad of stuff that he needs to get caught up on – including “Star Wars/Trek.”
I’ve heard this movie described as a spy thriller. It certainly has elements of that – the whole tone of “Don’t trust anyone.” With Robert Redford in it, you get a hint of Three Days of the Condor. The character of Winter Soldier seems to have new meaning now that we see the Russians annexing the Crimea. He’s not just a mindless killer in this film, he’s a villain worthy of the first Avenger.
The entire dynamic with Black Widow and Cap is neat. Widow’s gritty reality bumping up against Captain America’s ideals is fascinating and really helps bring the character out. We see Roger’s as a character grappling with the concept of “what is the truth?” and “what is freedom?” The dynamic of Cap and Nick Fury is fantastic too. Fury has always been a bridge between the Marvel movies. He’s moving way beyond this in this movie. There are overtones to our own sacrifices of freedom in the face of adversity that you cannot avoid. Cap brings the perspective of the 1940’s man when the lines were much clearer.
There were things I loved about this film that maybe most non-comic readers would have missed. Zola, for example, was handled very well and was one of my favorite things in the film. The inclusion of the Falcon as a character was awesome. Sure, I miss the spandex and street savvy of the comic character, but in true Marvel form they really did an awesome job of once more expanding the universe. Falcon rocks all on his own. There were other things – including an inscription on a particular tombstone that made me grin because I totally got it – and you will too. Redford’s character has a great line near the end of the movie too. Not over the top, but tastefully written. The entire exhibit at the Smithsonian on Captain America and the Howling Commandos was not just a cheap bit – it became a minor part of the story that was awesome. Clearly the directors and writers were men of great vision to pull this off (I always acknowledge good movie writing.)
I offer only two cautions. You need to have watched the first Captain America movie to really appreciate all of the little Easter Eggs in this movie. Second – there are two snippets in the credits, one halfway through and one at the very end. I saw a lot of people leaving after the first one. Shame…shame…
This film shows that the Marvel franchises are a…no…THE dominant force in movies. While DC only seems to be able to score on the WB network (and then only marginally) it is wallowing in idiocy. Man of Steel was marginal to good as a movie. They picked Ben Affleck as the new Batman. I like Mr. Affleck, it’s just not where I would go after Daredevil. There’s no word on a Justice League movie. They are squandering excellent intellectual properties while Marvel does things like put out Guardians of the Galaxy, X-men, and others.
Go see this movie – more than once. It is a solid five out of five stars. Captain America is not just the first Avenger – he’s one of the most awesome Avengers. This is a great film – a full four quarts of awesome sauce. Way to go Marvel!